Since its release on the market back in 2003 the Lexus GX midsize luxury SUV has experienced a level of success with 34,420 units sold in 2004, its best year in the books, a number which is well beyond the 20,000 units annual target of the company.
However, in recent years the demand for the midsize luxury has waned and this year sales have reached an all drop in excess of 52 percent.
Even though the competitions are anticipated to begin totally pulling out of the segment, it is the intention of Lexus to wait it out by introducing a modified GX.
The latest model is said to come with brand new sheet metal together with a 310hp (231kW) 4.6-liter V8 as a substitute for the low-powered 263hp (196kW) 4.7-liter V8. Inadvertently, the new 4.6-liter power unit is the same powerplant used in the 2010 Toyota Tundra.
It will keep its body-on-frame platform, although it will be distinct in styling including a modified door at the rear. The interior will likewise receive updates with a standard navigation system and a more well-appointed trim.
The new GX will possibly be dubbed the GX 460 and will be launched as a 2010 model year at the end of 2009. Lexus declined to confirm the GX although it said that the brand want to maintain its presence in the midsize luxury class.
Just like all Lexus vehicles, the new GX 460 features a wide array of dynamic safety systems. One of these is the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), which keeps the car stable on the road as it could sense front- and rear-wheel slide during cornering and could try to manage either condition through a combination of individual wheel braking and torque intervention. The new GX 460 also features Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) -- which employs the anti-lock brake system (ABS) – that could allocate proper brake force between the front and rear wheels depending on driving conditions and wheel-load.
In addition, the GX 460 is fitted with Brake Assist (BA) that could detect if the driver is attempting emergency braking. If brake pedal isn't pressed enough to engage ABS, BA could supplement the applied braking power.
Also equipped on the new GX 460 is the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) that includes 10 airbags: dual front and side airbags; second-row seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags; as well as roll-sensing side curtain airbags all rows. Its front airbags could inflate depending on collision severity, while its roll-sensing side curtain airbags could deploy when the system detects a severe tilt angle, roll or lateral G-force.
Available for the new GX 560 is the optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) that includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control that employs millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle up front. A car icon with the selected following distance is shown on the multi-information display within the combination meter. If the PCS senses that a collision cannot be avoided, it will preemptively retract the front seat belts and pre-initializes Brake Assist to allow greater braking power to be applied as soon as the pedal is depressed.
An available Pre-Collision System with Driver Attention Monitor and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) could also be equipped for the new GX 460. This system employs two front-mounted small cameras -- working in conjunction with millimeter-wave radar -- to detect certain non-metallic objects.
The Driver Monitor System employs a third camera mounted on the steering column to determine the orientation of the driver's face. When the camera detects that driver is seemingly not looking ahead for a few seconds, and if the system detects an obstacle ahead, it would let out a warning chime and a flashing light. Once the GX 460 gets closer to the obstacle, PCS could automatically apply brakes, albeit mildly.
Meanwhile, the PCS could also reprogram the steering ratio to amplify the intensity and quickness of the steering response, thereby making maneuvering around the obstacle easier. Likewise, the PCS could automatically retract the front seatbelts and ready the brake system to respond – in full force -- when activated by the driver. LDA, on the other hand, emits a warning buzzer and displays a visual alert to warn the driver of unintentional lane departure. However, it doesn’t steer the vehicle independently as it requires the driver to maintain active steering control.