2022 Lexus LX 600 follows industry trend with smaller, more fuel-efficient engine

The LX has been the flagship SUV of the Lexus line going back to the brand's early days in the 1990s. In this decade of great change, a very changed generation has arrived, the new LX 600.

This fourth-generation LX is roughly the same size as the previous one, though it picks up a higher number in its name, replacing the LX 570. But "600" doesn't relate to engine size, as the big Lexus drops its 5.7 liter V8 for a twin-turbocharged 3.5 liter V6.

Joining a trend in the industry, the smaller yet more powerful engine is for improved fuel efficiency, especially when combined with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The vehicle also shed more than 400 pounds in the redesign. Prices start at just under $90,000 for the luxe SUV, with some trim levels topping the $100,000 mark.

The previous LX 570 could never brag about gas mileage, with low to mid-teens on the EPA cycle, managing only 14 mpg overall. The new clean-sheet LX 600 now offers more respectable numbers, for a combined figure of 19 mpg, a 35% improvement.

Will customers mind giving up the V8? Well, Lexus already started using the twin-turbo V6 in the sedan flagship LS model a few years ago. That serene near-limousine gets by with fewer cylinders just fine, as does this big sport utility.

Compared to the V8 in the previous LX, the new twin-turbo V6 provides more horsepower, more torque, and gives the vehicle a higher towing capacity. And that's in addition to the improved fuel economy.

And Lexus is not alone, as other premium brands are employing smaller engines as well. For example, Lincoln did something similar a with its large Navigator, alongside Ford's Expedition, dropping V8 power for a twin-turbo V6 a number of years ago. Again, the big Lincoln SUV's performance numbers handily beat the V8 Navigator from years ago.

The sporty side of upscale driving is also going smaller when it comes to engines too, and Mercedes-Benz is about to unleash a red-hot sport sedan with a relatively small engine. The upcoming C 43 AMG version of the C-Class sedan will make 402 horsepower, but not from a V8 or even a V6. Mercedes engineers managed that number from a 2.0 liter four cylinder, employing advanced technology gleaned from experience with their turbocharged Formula 1 cars. The C 43 AMG goes on sale late this year at a 2023 model.

Nearly everyone's looking for better fuel economy and lower carbon emissions, but many still like their large and/or fast vehicles. Under the surface, these modern takes on upscale rides are able to go about their business, with much more efficiency under the hood.

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