Lexus is preparing to unveil its new Toyota Prado twin – the GX – and it’s on track for Australian showrooms. Based on what we’ve been able to piece together from teaser images, here’s what it could look like.
The 2024 Lexus GX – the luxury twin to the Toyota Prado – is expected to adopt bolder styling said to be inspired by boxy four-wheel-drives such as the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.
It is expected to come with a choice of turbo petrol V6 and four-cylinder hybrid petrol power, Drive has learned.
The Lexus GX – previously a US-only model – is on track for Australian showrooms for the first time, due here next year after arriving in showrooms overseas later this year, and its global unveiling next week.
While the new GX is due to be formally unveiled 10 days from now, we couldn’t wait – so we’ve commissioned Photoshop whiz Theottle to create a computer illustration of what it could look like, based on what we’ve been able to piece together from teaser images.
Drive has learned the new GX is expected to skip diesel in favour of petrol power only, with a twin-turbo V6 from the full-size LandCruiser 300 Series, and a petrol-electric hybrid based on a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
For now it remains unclear how closely the new Lexus GX’s technology and engine line-up will preview the next Toyota LandCruiser Prado, due here next year.
The previous two generations of Lexus GX since the nameplate debuted in 2002 have been closely related to the Toyota Prado models they were based on, differentiated mainly through new front and rear fascias, and unique interior appointments.
Teaser photos have revealed the new GX will ditch the rounded-off design cues of its predecessors for box-shaped, military-inspired styling inspired by the new Land Rover Defender and, to a lesser extent, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
Sources have told Drive the GX’s new look is intended to position it as a more hardcore, off-road-focused vehicle than today’s model.
The role occupied by the current Lexus GX in the US line-up – a volume-selling, seven-seat SUV for families – will be filled by the TX, a new large family SUV based on a stretched version of the Toyota Kluger and Lexus RX’s car-derived architecture.
Imagined here by Drive’s computer illustration expert Theottle, the new GX is said to be targeting the reborn Land Rover Defender 110, according to company insiders.
It is a departure from previous generations, which Toyota sources have told Drive have been built to compete with the softer, more family-focused Discovery.
The sources claim buyers will be offered the option of a more off-road-focused model, loosely inspired by the Lexus GXOR (GX Off-Road) concept unveiled in 2019.
Underpinning the new GX will be Toyota’s latest scalable ladder-frame chassis for four-wheel-drive utes and SUVs, TNGA-F – also used under the LandCruiser 300 Series, Lexus LX, new Toyota Tundra and Tacoma pick-ups, US-market Toyota Sequoia SUV, and the next Toyota Prado.
Although V6 diesel power is available in the LandCruiser 300 Series and Lexus LX – and the new Prado is expected to offer some form of diesel engine – the Lexus GX appears to be in line for petrol power only.
Industry insiders have reported the GX is due in US showrooms later this year with a detuned version of the 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 from the LandCruiser 300 Series, LX, Tundra and Sequoia.
Set to wear the GX550 badge – following trademarks in 2021 – the petrol V6 is expected to produce between 350 and 400 horsepower (261kW to 298kW), down from the 305kW (409hp) and 650Nm of the larger LX600.
It will be a replacement for the current GX460 sold overseas, which uses a 4.6-litre non-turbo petrol V8 with up to 224kW and 446Nm, depending on the market.
The GX550 is due to be joined in certain markets by a GX550h hybrid, sources claim, combining a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and a small battery pack.
This system debuted in the new Toyota Tacoma pick-up in the US, where it develops 243kW and 630Nm – but sources report it is in line for a boost in the GX closer to outputs of 260kW and 650Nm.
The hybrid GX may not be sold in the US – and could instead be exclusive to vehicle emissions-conscious regions such as Europe, where the GX will be sold for the first time – and may not arrive at the same time as the V6 version.
Sources have told Drive there will not be a diesel version of the new GX – at least in the US market, where diesel engines are not popular.
Speculation out of Japan suggests diesel power will continue in the next Toyota Prado, but reports from different magazines do not agree on if it will be the 3.3-litre V6 from the LandCruiser 300 Series, a carry-over 2.8-litre four-cylinder from today’s Prado, a hybrid version of the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel, or an all-new engine.
According to industry sources with knowledge of the Toyota group’s plans, Lexus has already commenced work on the next-generation GX – which will follow the new model due in showrooms later this year – due in 2029, pending any delays.
Whereas the new 2024 model will dip its toe into electrification with a hybrid model, the next-generation 2029 GX is set to ditch petrol power entirely for electric propulsion.
It aligns with the Lexus brand’s plans to go electric-only in North America, Europe and China by 2030 – and all other markets by 2035.
The 2024 Lexus GX is due to be unveiled on 9 June 2023 at 10am AEST, Lexus has confirmed, ahead of the start of production in October 2023 and first US showroom arrivals in December 2023, according to online sources.
Lexus Australia is yet to formally confirm the GX for local showrooms.
However it has issued multiple press releases to Australian media teasing the vehicle, which is something it does not do for vehicles not planned for sale in Australia.
It is expected to arrive in Australia within the next 12 to 18 months – by late 2024 – as one of three new Lexus models in market segments it does not currently compete in by that time.
The other two vehicles are expected to be the LM people mover – due in late 2023 – and a new city-sized SUV known as the LBX, based on the Toyota Yaris Cross.
It is due to follow a few months before the new Toyota LandCruiser Prado, which Japanese reports say has been delayed to April 2024.