Dakar success for the Toyota Hilux team in 2019 might receive unlikely support from the new Lexus LS 500, driven recently on the international launch in Tokyo.
Baffled by the connection? Out of context these two bastions of luxury and motorsport appear to share nothing in common, yet for years the Hilux you’ve cheered across South America has done so fuelled by Lexus V8 power. Lexus, spurred on by cutting Co2 emissions rather than rally victory, has finally added turbo charging and downsized to V6. The Hilux whoops with joy.
Not that the press conference felt obliged to mention something as old fashioned as the combustion engine - after all this is the flagship Lexus so safety and comfort are illuminated brightly but Lexus isn’t about to build a BMW M760Li rival.
The drive outside of Tokyo traffic proved uneventful; calm, relaxed and serene as the stately Lexus LS 500 sails by on its 10-speed box with the silky response from the standard air suspension on wheels that don’t affiliate themselves to any aesthetically enhanced performance-line.
Lexus, and many others, is working towards a zero fatality future so the launch dived into a demonstration of park assist and autonomous features before putting a journalist at the wheel.
We’ve sampled autonomous brake on numerous occasions but this is the first time we’ve seen this technology cover reverse gear. A practical evolution that’s unsurpri