• The best VIP seating experience south of $200k
    • Quiet, comfortable and feature packed
    • All the luxury without the bling
    • Infotainment system designed by engineers
    • Entry 350h drivetrain could do with more go
    • No one might notice you

    There are people movers and there are people movers.

    When you get through the initial list of practical options like the Kia Carnival and Hyundai Staria, to the more expensive things like the Mercedes-Benz V-Class, you eventually come to what is best described as what would happen if Rolls-Royce built a people mover, but it was reliable… and that would be the new Lexus LM.

    Let’s address the elephant in the room first, because this is not a traditional vehicle you would expect from Lexus. This isn’t an SUV, a traditional long-wheelbase sedan, or a gorgeous two-door sports car. No, this is a van from Toyota someone at Lexus thought would be epic to turn into a mega luxury VIP carrier.

    Although Lexus has mostly moved away from using Toyota platforms in its sedans and sports cars, its core SUVs still share underpinnings with their cheaper alternative. The second-generation LM (the first never came to Australia) is based on the same TNGA-K platform as the fourth-generation Toyota Alphard and Vellfire.

    Is that a bad thing? Not at all because this is not about power, handling, or some other mundane thing you may hear some know-it-all car enthusiast tell you.

    This is about luxury without the bling. It’s the chauffeur driven Rolls Royce you buy if you don’t want to be seen in a Rolls Royce. Think of it like the Boeing 747; its underpinnings can be a workhorse to carry hundreds of passengers, or cargo or… if you’re the Sultan of Brunei, the most luxurious aircraft ever built.

    The point is, forget the underpinnings or the badge, because Lexus has built what currently doesn’t exist in the Australian market – a super practical, extremely luxurious van for people who want to travel in absolute comfort without showing off.

    Much like the Sultan of Brunei’s 747, though, this isn’t the kind of thing you want to pilot yourself. This needs a hired driver because the real luxury and the comfort is not offered to the driver, but the passengers in the second row.

    In fact, while it may technically have seven seats in LM 350h configuration, it really only has two that can be used for its intended purpose. The more expensive LM 500h that shows up early in 2024 only has four seats in total; with the driver and your bodyguard taking the front seats, you and your lucky passenger will be driven in style.

    We spent a few hours sitting in the back seats of the LM 350h AWD Sports Luxury around Melbourne in possibly the most miserable weather on offer and it was quite the experience… but it comes at a pretty hefty price.

    How does the Lexus LM compare?
    View a detailed breakdown of the Lexus LM against similarly sized vehicles.

    How much does the Lexus LM cost?

    Are you sitting down? Because this is either a bargain or extremely expensive depending on how you look at it.

    2024 Lexus LM pricing:

    • 2024 Lexus LM 350h 2WD Sports Luxury: $160,888
    • 2024 Lexus LM 350h AWD Sports Luxury: $165,888
    • 2024 Lexus LM 500h AWD Sports Luxury: $220,888

    Prices exclude on-road costs

    Let’s put some things in context. Pretty much the only cars that will match this are the long-wheelbase BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 L, or Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

    Given the higher ride of the LM, you would probably be best to compare it to a Range Rover, Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, or a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Those cars are excellent options and all of them are more expensive (or orders of magnitude more expensive) than the Lexus LM.

    So yes, it’s expensive if you compare it to a Kia Carnival (which is an illogical thing to do) or even a Mercedes-Benz V-Class ($30,000 cheaper), but it’s also a bit of a bargain if your options are a Cullinan or Maybach GLS.

    What is the Lexus LM like on the inside?

    There is definitely a lot of wow factor when you first open the sliding door to the second row of the LM and step inside. The two gorgeous chairs are super comfortable and move around like a business class seat on a plane.

    You have tray tables to eat on, a large screen to watch your favourite shows or do meetings on the go, your own sound system, and an iPhone like device to control almost every function of the car in the second row, bar the steering wheel and the two pedals.

    With the added benefit of noise cancelling technology and super thick glass, you can sleep back here with the seat folded back and the mood set to relax with a gentle (or hard) massage reminding you that you are actually in a car and not in bed.

    The main gripe we had with the Lexus LM 350h’s interior was the three seats in the third row. We know why they are there, because some buyers will need more than four seats but the downside of their existence is that they actually limit the movement of the second row in going close to a flat-bed.

    Frankly, the only people you want to put in the third-row are kids and – well – maybe you should leave them at home with the babysitter?

    Thankfully, Lexus has a solution for such first-world problems because the LM 500h only has four seats, and they have no obstruction with a third row when it comes to movement.

    Lexus calls them “VIP throne seats”, which would be more accurate if they were riding upon a dragon. Nonetheless, it also comes with a glass partition, a stupidly large 48-inch widescreen for rear passengers and a 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, as well as a built-in mini fridge.

    You can pretty much do or say anything back there without anyone noticing.

    One thing worth noting was the infotainment in the LM. We feel like a broken record in each and every review of a Lexus vehicle we test but one can only beg someone at Lexus to hire some genuine UX designers that can make what should be simple… just work.

    The basic process of pairing your phone to the rear infotainment system simply didn’t work, we had to use the front system to pair the phone and then use the back system to set what you can hear in the front and the rear. This would then reset each time the car turned on, which was a tad frustrating.

    CarPlay only works on the front screen, it would be more logical if a seperate CarPlay system was built into the rear screen. Thankfully there is a HDMI connection, so all you need is a HDMI adaptor to whatever device you may have and mirroring it should not be too much of an issue.

    The Lexus LM also supports Miracast which is basically Apple’s AirPlay but needs a seperate app on iOS or Android.

    We tried to make it work on our phone but it wasn’t as easy as you would like, and we would say that given you will own the car, just having a HDMI to USB-C adapter left in the LM for your iPad or iPhone will be the least problematic solution to your tech problems.

    What’s under the bonnet?

    Lexus LM 350h models are powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with a series-parallel hybrid system producing system outputs of 184kW and 270Nm – similar to the drivetrain used in the Toyota Kluger Hybrid.

    The standard front-wheel drive model is $5000 cheaper, but if you opt for the all-wheel drive you get a a second electric motor on the rear axle to facilitate e-Four AWD – and an additional 50kg of weight. Both LM 350h variants use a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

    The flagship LM 500h on the other hand is powered by a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid which by itself produces 202kW/460Nm, and with the electric motor has a combined 273kW of power and all-wheel drive.

    The more powerful engine is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission and uses its pair of electric motor generators in a parallel hybrid arrangement.

    Interestingly, all Lexus LM hybrids makes use of an old-school nickel-metal hydride battery (instead of a lithium-ion unit), which is stored underneath the front seats and centre console. All models have a 60L fuel tank.

    Lexus LM fuel economy figures:

    • 2024 Lexus LM 350h 2WD Sports Luxury: 5.5L/100km
    • 2024 Lexus LM 350h AWD Sports Luxury: 5.6L/100km
    • 2024 Lexus LM 500h AWD Sports Luxury: 6.6L/100km

    How does the Lexus LM drive?

    Firstly, how does it feel to be driven is probably the right question in this case.

    While our driver on the day was doing his best to impersonate a Singaporean cab driver with his on-off use of the pedals, it was still a superb ride and very smooth experience.

    The Lexus LM soaks up bumps well and there is no jarring inside the cabin. As a result of its softness though, it does have a little bit of body roll if you take corners with some pace, but you really wouldn’t in this car.

    We took over the driver’s seat for a punt around the Mornington Peninsula in torrential rain and, given this thing weighs somewhere between 2305kg (LM 350h 2.5L 2WD) and 2475kg (LM 500h AWD), it’s definitely not the sort of car you would ever drive with any sense of pace or sporty enjoyment.

    The suspension and shock absorption is well sorted for the front row as well, though the steering is lacking any and all levels of feedback at best (though ideal for its intended application). It’s still sharp and responsive enough.

    Despite measuring 5130mm long and 1890mm wide, we found it pretty easy to park and get around in thanks to the array of cameras and sensors.

    As usual for a Japanese car, the camera quality could be much better. Japanese brands (Toyota, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru) have clearly ordered a seemingly endless number of of 320p resolution reversing cameras in 2005, and are yet to go through them.

    Essentially, unless you enjoy driving slowly with grace and extreme patience to the benefit of your rear passengers, this is not the sort of car you want to pilot yourself, so best call Alfred.

    What do you get?

    LM 350h Sports Luxury highlights:


    • 19-inch forged aluminium wheels with 225/55 R19 tyres
    • LED headlights with Adaptive High-beam System (AHS)
      • Dynamic levelling
      • Headlamp cleaners
      • Clearance lamp
      • Daytime running lights
      • Front turn signals
    • LED tail lights
    • LED side mirror indicators
    • Auto-folding and dimming exterior mirrors
      • Heating
      • Memory function
    • Automatic retractable side steps
    • UV cut, acoustic glass front and sliding doors
    • Rear quarter & back door privacy glass
    • 2 x fixed moon roofs with independent left, right sunshade control
    • Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS)
    • 3-mode Drive Mode Select (Normal, Eco, Sport) plus Custom


    • Semi-aniline leather-accented upholstery (L-aniline leather second-row seats)
      • Choice of Black or Solis White interior trim
    • Genuine leather steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls
      • Tilt/telescopic adjustment
      • Heating function
    • Burgundy Sumi woodgrain steering wheel ornamentation
    • Extended overhead console with ‘Yabane’ ornamentation
      • 2 x storage compartments
      • Rear air conditioning panel
    • Multi-colour ambient interior lighting
    • Digital rearview mirror
    • Nine cupholders
    • 4 x coat hooks
    • Second-row long fixed-type assist grips, third-row swivel-folding assist grip
    • Active Noise Control
    • Rear-seat side glass sunshade
    • Shift-by-wire lever with integrated parking brake
    • Driver and front passenger dual-zone climate control with nanoeX
      • Second-row individual left, right air conditioning control
      • Rear Climate Concierge
    • 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat
      • 4-way lumbar support
      • 2-way headrest adjustment
      • Memory function
    • 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat
      • 2-way lumbar support
      • 2-way headrest adjustment
      • Folding headrest function
    • Heated, ventilated front seats
    • 6-way power-adjustable second-row captain’s seats
      • Extending ottomans
      • Larger headrests
      • Individual wireless controllers
      • Stowable tables
      • Second-row Relaxation function
      • Second-row power ‘Walk In’ function
      • Heated, ventilated second-row seats
      • Heated armrests and ottomans
    • Third-row seats with manual slide, recline function
    • Power dual sliding doors
    • Power back door
    • Smart entry and start


    • 14-inch touchscreen display with “Hey Lexus” natural voice recognition
      • Satellite navigation incl. connected navigation
      • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
      • DAB+ digital radio
    • 21-speaker Mark Levinson Reference 3D Surround Sound system
    • 12.3-inch full colour multi-information display
    • Colour head-up display
    • 7 x USB-C ports
      • 1 x front audio input
      • 1 x front box
      • 1 x console box
      • 2 x second-row lower part on seat
      • 2 x quarter box
    • 12V accessory charge point in console box
    • 2 HDMI inputs (1 x console box, 1 x console rear end panel)
    • 220V/100W AC outlet
    • Front Qi wireless smartphone charger
    • 14-inch Rear Seat Entertainment system
    • Lexus Connected Services with inbuilt Data Communication Module

    LM 500h AWD Ultra Luxury adds:


    • Separation partition with elevating and dimmable glass function
      • 2 x partition glove boxes
      • Electrical rear partition registers
      • Warmth-sensing infrared matrix sensors
      • Two-temperature refrigerator
    • Shadowy illumination for second-row footwells
    • 2 x umbrella holders on side of partition
    • Extended overhead console with ‘Yabane’ ornamentation
      • Storage space compartment
      • 2 x individual rear vanity mirrors
      • Air conditioning control panel
    • 6 x cupholders
    • 2 x coat hooks

    Comfort and convenience

    • 4-way power-adjustable second-row captain’s seats
      • 2-way lumbar support
      • Extending ottomans
      • Larger headrests
      • Individual wireless controllers, stowable tables
    • Second-row relaxation function
      • 7 programs, 5 levels of adjustment
    • Rear console box inlc. 2-way opening console lid
    • Rear climate control targeted adjustment function


    • 48-inch Rear Seat Entertainment system
      • 2 x headphone auxiliary inputs
    • 3 x HDMI inputs (1 x console box, 2 x console rear end panel)
    • 23-speaker Mark Levinson Reference 3D Surround Sound system
    • 2 x Qi wireless smartphone charger (second-row left and right quarter trim box)

    There are four colours to pick from – Sonic Quartz, Titanium, Graphite Black, and the newly introduced Scarlet Crimson – all available with either Black or Solis White upholstery

    Is the Lexus LM safe?

    There is no crash test data anywhere in the world for the Lexus LM specifically, however the Toyota equivalent earned top marks in the Japanese testing system, scoring “ASV1+++” , representing the highest rating.

    While it may never get tested, it’s a fair bet to say this will do well keeping its occupants safe in the event of an accident.

    From a safety feature perspective, it comes with a whole lot of goodies:

    • Lexus Safety Sense +:
      • Pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking
        • Pedestrian (day/night), bicyclist (day/night) and motorcyclist (day) detection
        • Intersection Collision Avoidance Support
        • Emergency Steering Assist
        • Acceleration Suppression at Low Speeds
      • Full-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
        • Curve Speed Reduction
        • Preceding vehicle cut-in/departure display
      • Lane Trace Assist with Lane-Departure Alert
      • Automatic High Beam
      • Road-Sign Assist (speed signs only)
    • Emergency Driver Stop System
    • Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
    • Driver monitor camera
    • Front, rear Parking Support Brake with parking sensors
    • Intelligent Park Assist
    • Panoramic View Monitor
    • Reversing camera with guidelines and rear camera washer
    • E-Latch system with Safe Exit Assist
    • Vehicle stability control
    • Anti-lock Brake System
    • Brake Assist
    • Electronic Brake Force Distribution
    • Hill-Start Assist Control 
    • Vehicle Braking Posture Control & Smooth Stop Control
    • Tyre Pressure Warning System
    • 6 airbags

    How much does the Lexus LM cost to run?

    As with all Lexus models, the LM is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

    Lexus will charge $595 for a service every 12 months or every 15,000km for the first three years.

    There is not much visibility around what the costs will go to post that period.

    Given the expected high number of kilometres for these vehicles as part of a fleet, it would be a question certainly worth asking – though the answer may depend entirely on the condition of the car at that point.

    CarExpert’s Take on the Lexus LM

    There are many applications for a car like the Lexus LM.

    Hire companies would absolutely love it for their VIPs, and those with a fleet of cars who need something for company business transport would find it very appealing, particularly executives who want comfort and working space without the ostentatiousness and price tag of something European.

    For the private buyer without a dedicated driver though, this may prove just a little bit too much given it will be your passengers that will enjoy all the benefits while you pay the bill.

    In saying that, we had a lot of questions from private buyers over social media when we posted this car who seemed to think it would be absolutely perfect for them, so we could be completely wrong.

    Tell us what you think of the Lexus LM in the comments below.

    Click the images for the full gallery

    BUY: Lexus LM
    MORE: Everything Lexus LM

    Alborz Fallah

    Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine.

    Overall Rating

    Cost of Ownership9
    Ride Comfort8.5
    Fit for Purpose9.5
    Handling Dynamics7.4
    Interior Practicality and Space9.5
    Fuel Efficiency9
    Value for Money8.1
    Technology Infotainment7.5
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