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Lexus Introduces New V8-Powered GX 470 Luxury Sport-Utility Vehicle; Third SUV in Luxury Brand's Line Mixes Best of Business and Pleasure

DETROIT, Jan. 7 -- Lexus unveiled its third luxury sport-utility vehicle at the 2002 North American International Auto Show. Called the GX 470, the new model will be positioned between the brand's car-based RX 300 and the premium-luxury LX 470 SUVs in size, price and capability. The V8-powered GX 470 will arrive in Lexus dealerships in January 2003 with an annual sales target that will exceed 20,000 units. Based on an all-new platform, the Lexus GX 470 will combine the luxury appointments and workmanship of a Lexus sedan with full-time four-wheel drive, high-tech suspension for responsive handling and a smooth ride, plus the company's latest safety technology. This new SUV includes available seating for up to eight and a factory-installed DVD rear-seat entertainment system. The GX 470 will share the 4.7-liter V8 engine and full-time four-wheel drive system from the larger LX 470 model. The full complement of dynamic handling technology includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), Active TRAC (traction control), Brake Assist, Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD). A new Downhill Assist Control (DAC) system will provide additional control for off-road driving on steep descents. Passive safety features include dual front and side airbag supplemental restraint systems and side curtain airbags. "The new GX 470 sport-utility will offer the best mix of business and pleasure," said Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Denny Clements. "It's comfortable and luxurious enough to serve as a work or carpool vehicle, and at the same time is roomy and rugged enough for weekend fun, including towing. The available entertainment system makes it a perfect vehicle for family road trips." Standard luxury features in the new Lexus GX 470 include automatic climate control, leather seating and trim, premium audio system with a six-disc in-dash CD changer, steering wheel audio controls, memory system for the front seats, steering wheel position and outside mirrors and an overhead console with integrated HomeLink(R) transmitter. Among luxury competitors that offer both passenger cars and SUVs, Lexus in 1998 started the trend of offering two SUVs to cater to different segments of the market. Now that other luxury brands have begun to adopt a two-SUV strategy, Lexus will create a market advantage with a three-SUV strategy. The RX 300, which started the trend in car-based luxury SUVs, will continue to appeal to customers who value sporty performance and design above more rugged demands, while those wishing for a premium level of luxury on- and off-road still may opt for the full-size LX 470. Positioned between the RX and the LX in the $45,000-$50,000 price range, the GX 470 will offer Lexus customers a mid-size SUV that performs equally as well travelling to the work site or the campsite.

The Look and Feel of Lexus Luxury The GX 470 design draws a clear link to the Lexus family of vehicles. The styling is contemporary and aggressive, with well-integrated fender flares and running boards. The monochromatic exterior appearance reinforces the elegant yet practical design. Renowned Lexus attention to detail is shown in features such as green-tinted front glass with UV protection, illuminated running boards and an in-glass antenna. Dimensionally, the GX 470 is slightly smaller than the LX 470: its 109.8-inch wheelbase and 188.2-inch length are 2.4 inches and 4.3 inches shorter, respectively. The GX 470 is also 2.4 inches narrower and slightly lower than its larger sibling. The GX 470 weighs approximately 4,600 pounds and has a 23.0-gallon fuel capacity. Interior design and content continue the Lexus tradition of blending incomparable fit and finish with unmistakable luxury. The GX 470 will offer eight-passenger seating when the optional rear seat is ordered. Available rear air conditioning brings all-season comfort to the third-row passengers. An optional, factory-installed DVD rear entertainment system uses a high-resolution TFT screen (similar to a high-quality laptop computer) that lowers from the headliner, providing a mobile theater experience for up to six passengers. A Lexus-exclusive Mark Levinson high-end audio system, also offered in other Lexus models, can turn the GX 470 into a concert hall on wheels. Options that add to convenience, personal safety and security include a DVD-based Lexus Navigation System.

Personalized Luxury A wide selection of luxury options will allow customers to personalize the GX 470. In addition to options already mentioned, these include heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power sunroof and a wood/leather steering wheel and shift knob like those on the LX 470. The available body-color roof rack extends the vehicle's carrying capacity while maintaining the design's elegant monochromatic appearance. An optional rear tonneau cover helps keep prying eyes from stored valuables.

Exclusively V8 Powered The GX 470's double overhead-cam 4.7-liter V8 engine produces 235 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque (preliminary figures). Just as important, especially for customers who will want to use the new model's generous 6,500-lb. towing capacity (with optional tow package), the GX 470 V8 produces 80 percent of its peak torque -- or 256 lb.-ft. -- at just 1,100 rpm. The GX 470 also meets Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) certification. The standard five-speed automatic transmission makes the best use of the V8's wide torque band. Its electronic controls provide seamless shift quality and shift logic, holding gears on inclines for power and on descents for engine braking -- especially helpful when towing.

Rugged and Supple Lexus chose body-on-frame construction for the new GX 470 because it can provide the high carrying and towing capacity which customers in this segment favor. Through years of experience with the premium-luxury LX 450 and LX 470 SUV models, Lexus has refined this type of construction to deliver a smooth on-road ride without compromising its rugged hauling and off-road capabilities. Independent front suspension, rear air suspension with self-leveling and standard Adaptive Variable Suspension damping (AVS) will endow the GX 470 with the kind of on-road smoothness expected of an SUV wearing the Lexus badge. The proven AVS system enhances ride quality by continuously changing each wheel's shock absorber damping rate in response to road surface conditions, vehicle speed, driver steering and braking inputs, and even vertical vehicle movement. The Adaptive Height Control provides flexibility for the GX 470's many uses. A high setting gives extra clearance when traversing challenging terrain, but lowers the vehicle for easy entry and exit, while the standard 265/65-17 tires mounted on 17-inch alloy wheels provide a good balance between quiet ride, responsive on-road handling and off-road capability.

True Four-Wheel Drive with Low Range The GX 470 is equipped with a true full-time four-wheel drive system with a center differential that splits the power 50/50 front/rear. The system is always engaged and requires no intervention by the driver for on-road use. The five-speed automatic transmission includes a low range to allow the GX 470 to negotiate steep off-road inclines, and the driver can engage the locking center differential to traverse demanding on- or off-road conditions. Active TRAC (traction control) provides the traction benefit of a locking rear differential, but with less weight.

The Safety of Dynamic Control Along with its innovative passive safety features, the Lexus GX 470 provides the driver with an array of dynamic handling technology to help ensure safety under varying road conditions. The standard Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) system helps control lateral traction while cornering on slippery or dry road surfaces. The system uses throttle intervention and/or individual wheel braking to help control any discrepancy between where the driver is steering and where the vehicle is heading. The Brake Assist (BA) system can help the driver boost braking power in panic stops. Brake Assist is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking and, if the driver has not stepped hard enough on the brake pedal to engage the anti-lock brake system (ABS), the system supplements the applied braking power. Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) utilizes the ABS and distributes proper brake force between the front and rear wheels according to driving conditions.