A Lexus 4×4? The thought of bashing through the woods, plunging knee-deep into streams and marshes, or powering over sand dunes in a wood- and leather-swathed Lexus might not compute to some, but in fact two of the Japanese luxury brand’s most expensive models are based on rugged Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs.
Land Cruisers are the stuff of legend, and in many markets around the world they’re considered premium models due to lofty prices, luxurious interiors, and near unlimited capability. This said, when the majority of Canadians think “Land Cruiser,” icons such as the Jeep Wrangler-like FJ40 (1960–1984), long-wheelbase FJ55 (1967–1980), slightly newer BJ60 (1980–1989), and possibly the more recent J200 (2008–present) come to mind, the latter doing double-duty as the Lexus LX 570, but the modified Lexus GX 460 shown here is based on the J150 (2009–present), otherwise known as the Land Cruiser Prado.
Despite being on the road for a decade, the GX 460 remains an intensely capable three-row mid-size sport utility. In fact, its third-generation J120 (2002–2009) predecessor shared a body-on-frame platform with today’s Toyota 4Runner as well as yesterday’s FJ Cruiser (the latter still available in other markets), which only adds to its off-road credibility.
It makes sense that 4×4 fans wanting to add more luxury to their off-road lifestyles have chosen the GX 460, and therefore it’s also no wonder that Lexus is now paying tribute to these faithful enthusiasts with this unique prototype SUV.
“Concept vehicles are typically created to generate excitement for the enthusiasts, but sometimes, it’s the enthusiasts and their vehicles that give life to the concept,” said Lexus in a press release. “The Lexus GXOR Concept (GX Off-Road) is fueled by the passionate Lexus GX owners that have discovered and embraced the SUV’s perfect combination of ultimate luxury and unrivaled off-road capability.”
Lexus chose to launch the new GXOR Concept at the annual FJ Summit in Ouray, Colorado, the 12th consecutive event having taken place on the weekend of July 17–21, 2019. Similar to Jeep’s Jamborees, each FJ Summit provides opportunities for Toyota SUV owners to gain skills from experienced off-road instructors and then test their driving prowess along with their personal Toyota/Lexus 4×4’s capability on challenging off-road trails.
While the GX 460 is an impressive SUV both on and off pavement, sales have struggled over the past months and years. During the past six months the model’s year-over-year deliveries dropped by 25.41 percent, resulting in just 138 new owners and last place within its mid-size luxury SUV class (other than the discontinued Lincoln MKT, which came in dead last), while calendar year 2018 resulted in just 376 new buyers, after an all-time high of 662 sales throughout 2015.
The GX 460 isn’t alone, however, because so far this year many competitors are having difficulty maintaining previous sales numbers. For instance, Tesla Model X deliveries fell 30.00 percent to 840 units during the first six months of 2019, while the Audi Q7 dropped by 36.13 percent to 1,674 units; the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class lost 36.66 percent to 762 unit sales; and Mercedes’ GLE-Class nosedived by a whopping 42.00 percent to 2,413 deliveries. Even the best-selling Lexus RX experienced a sales decline of 8.50 percent during the first half of 2019, although its tally of 3,982 units made sure it maintained a comfortable lead over the rest of the mid-size luxury SUV field.
Adding perspective, the GX 460’s 376 2018 calendar year sales and best-ever result of 662 deliveries in 2015 pales in comparison to said Lexus RX, which found 9,329 buyers last year and 9,402 in 2017. Of note, the RX outsold Lexus’ NX compact luxury crossover too, which found 7,859 customers last year. So in a nutshell, any reasonably inexpensive way to increase GX sales should be welcome.
The new GXOR Concept fits that bill, because it merely builds on an existing model by adding aftermarket components that could theoretically be installed at the dealer level. What’s more, this concept heightens the GX 460’s off-road credentials, making clear to those who may not be in the know that it’s no lightweight car-based crossover.
This in mind, the GXOR Concept’s aftermarket upgrades include a custom CBI Stealth front bumper sporting a hidden Warn 9.5 XPS winch, a Safari snorkel that provides air to the engine’s intake when wading through deep water, a set of Lexus F Sport 18-inch alloy wheels circled in General Tire Grabber X3 275/70 all-terrain tires, a jacked-up Icon 2.5 CDC suspension system featuring remote reservoirs as well as billet control arms with delta joints, a complete set of underbody armour skid plates, CBI frame sliders, a Redarc Tow-Pro brake controller, and finally an EEZI-AWN K9 roof rack carrying a Rigid 50 LED light bar, a 160-watt Overland solar panel power supply, Alu-Box storage cases, and lastly a set of Maxtrax recovery boards.
Climb inside and you’ll find the same luxurious interior that GX 460 owners enjoy all the time, although Lexus has upgraded the cockpit with an Icom 5100A ham radio for those forays into the wild that take you away from the cellular grid, while the cargo compartment gets filled up with Goose Gear custom drawers sporting storage containers as well as a slide-out National Luna fridge.
Lastly, hanging onto the GXOR Concept’s backside is a Patriot Campers X1H trailer boasting a powered pop-up tent, a hot water system, plus plenty more, while the solar panel mentioned a moment ago powers all of its electric components.
This in mind, Lexus isn’t saying if the GXOR Concept’s 4.6-litre V8 keeps its production-specified 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque or is tuned for even stronger performance, but it either way would be more than ample for pulling the hefty trailer just noted.
“To all of the GX enthusiasts that use their rigs to escape on epic adventures, and proudly share the #GXOR, this concept build is for you,” continued Lexus to GX enthusiasts. “Thank you for inspiring us to Experience Amazing.”
So will the GXOR Concept make it to production? Despite being a radical departure for Lexus, something similar actually makes a lot of sense. Mercedes-Benz has been undeniably successful with its terrain-conquering G-Class, and most expect Land Rover’s upcoming Defender to be a fairly strong seller as well, yet it might make more sense for the Japanese luxury brand to offer the GXOR as a dealer-installed kit instead of a factory model. Doing so would allow Lexus to utilize all of the GXOR’s aftermarket suppliers, with the final product providing a way for retailers to bring some much-needed attention to their unsold GX 460 stock, as well as attracting an entirely new customer base to the brand.
While you’re waiting for your very own GXOR to arrive (which honestly might never happen), make sure to watch it in action below. Additionally, you might also want to find out just how affordable the 2019 Lexus GX 460 is in stock trim, so check out our 2019 Lexus GX Canada Prices page where you can peruse complete pricing that includes trims, packages and individual options, as well as available rebates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands when it comes time to negotiate.
Lexus GXOR | GX Off-road Concept Build (2:45):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Lexus