No, this isn't a belated April Fools' Day prank.
If Ferrari is making an SUV, why can’t Lexus build a minivan? Well, it can, and it will. Going by the name of LM (pretty sure it’s not related to Le Mans like the McLaren F1 LM), the fancy people-mover is back in a new teaser showing a shadowy silhouette of the boxy vehicle. It practically reveals that the model in question is going to be heavily based on the Toyota Alphard. To better understand what we’re saying, here is a nifty photo comparison of the two models, which as you can see share an almost identical side profile.
But what is the Alphard? In its third generation since 2015 and facelifted late 2017, the Alphard is a boldly styled MPV with a gigantic front grille that makes us wonder how it will look with Lexus’ corporate spindle grille. It’s strongly related to another MPV, the Toyota Vellfire, and can be had in multiple seating configurations with room for up to eight people.
Available in some Asian markets, the Toyota Alphard can be had with a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 296 horsepower and 361 Newton-meters (266 pound-feet) of torque channeled to the wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. We won’t be too surprised if the equivalent Lexus LM will utilize the very same engine launched together with the Alphard’s facelift.
If a recent report from Japan is to be believed, the Lexus LM will enter production next year at Toyota’s Inabe factory where the Alphard comes to life together with the aforementioned Vellfire and the Hiace van. The new high-end minivan will target Asian markets, with a focus on China.
We will learn everything there is to know about the Lexus minivan in a week from today as the LM is set to premiere on April 16 at the Auto Shanghai 2019 in China. Meanwhile, kill some time by looking through our vast gallery of the Alphard, which has even received the TRD treatment with a whopping six (fake!) exhaust tips. Depending on trim, there are various designs of the gargantuan grille, all of which are equally polarizing.