New Lexus LM luxury MPV unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show

The new upmarket Lexus LM people carrier will go on sale in the UK with hybrid power later this year

Lexus will add a new type of vehicle to its UK line-up when the brand's new LM luxury people carrier goes on sale here in autumn this year. Lexus says the LM is a “luxury mover” and is the fourth chapter in the Lexus story following all-new generations of is NX and RX hybrid SUVs, as well as the RZ electric off-roader. The new car, which is on show at the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show, will rival other upmarket MPVs, such as the Mercedes V-Class and the Volkswagen Transporter.

The LM has been designed to deliver comfort and passenger well-being, with the car's cabin designed to take the Japanese brand's 'Omotenashi' hospitality to an extremely high level. With a 3,000mm wheelbase to maximise legroom in the rear the brand says the LM offers luxury limousine levels of comfort and space.

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As a result the LM will be offered in a luxury four-seat specification alongside a more conventional seven-seat configuration. The four-seat model features two individual armchairs in the rear, with this part of the cabin sectioned off from the front with a partition that – combined with active noise cancellation tech – significantly improves refinement. The partition also houses a 48-inch HD screen.

There's a 23-speaker Mark Levinson hi-fi (21 in the seven-seat model), while Lexus says the LM uses a more sophisticated version of its Climate Concierge “that uses thermal sensors to precisely control and direct heating and ventilation.”

The seven-seat car still features two seats in the middle row, with a third row of three  seats fitted to the rear that can be folded up if more luggage space is needed.

All seats are trimmed in leather and have been designed to reduce head sway, which Lexus says typical minivans suffer from due to the high-set position of the seats. The firm's designers have also paid extra attention to occupants' posture, with the seats featuring special materials that help to improve lower body comfort. This includes seats cushions made from two different materials – a hard base and a soft upper, while the seats are also fitted with a tilt function to counteract forward movement under breaking. The seats are power adjustable and feature heating and ventilation alongside an air lumbar support set-up.

The four-seat car's 48-inch screen features three viewing modes: full screen, cinema and left/right. The first and second modes can be used for streaming content directly from users' smartphones, while the third allows for individual rear passengers to view different content, each with their own headset.

The seven-seat model features a 14-inch multimedia display that can be operated separately to the panel in the front of the car, while there's also an overhead panel in the rear that houses the LM's controls for the automatic sliding doors and extra storage. A smartphone-style controller to operate the climate settings, window blinds and seat functions is also included.

The LM is based on Lexus's GA-K platform and in Europe will be powered exclusively by a petrol-electric hybrid system. It's a familiar powertrain, with the Lexus '350h' set-up comprising a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine mated to a CVT automatic gearbox, supported by an electric motor that means the LM can travel of electric power alone for short periods.

Maximum power stands at 246bhp while peak torque is 239Nm. E-Four electronic all-wheel drive is included too, with the system able to end as much as 80 per cent of the powertrain's torque to the rear axle, or up to 100 per cent to the front. The brand hasn't yet revealed a 0-62mph time for the LM 350h, but top speed is capped at 119mph.

At 5,130mm long, Lexus's engineers have put in some significant work when it comes to the car's driving systems to counteract the LM's size and weight, with Automatic Smart Stop braking control, Pitch Control and a revised Adaptive Variable Suspension system to help balance dynamic ability and comfort. On this last point, Lexus has also developed a Rear Seat Comfort driving mode, which is said to “adjust suspension performance and drive torque distribution and suppresses vibration, helping both the vehicle and its passengers maintain a comfortable posture.”

The brand's Safety System+ package that features on the NX and RX, offering a host of active driver assistance systems and safety tech, is also fitted.

Despite the undeniable focus on rear-seat passengers, Lexus has put in some work up front, with plenty of tech for the driver that includes a digital rear-view mirror and a 360-degree panoramic monitor, including a bird's eye view to help parking or manoeuvring in tighter spaces.

Pricing won't be confirmed until closer to the car's on-sale date in Europe this autumn, but given the LM's luxury intentions and Japanese craftsmanship, expect the price tag to reflect this. Deliveries will begin towards the end of this year or early into 2024.

Will the Lexus LM be a hit on the UK market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…

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