When you think of carmakers cranking out burly, capable SUVs designed to conquer all sorts of terrain and generally whup ass off-road, your first thought probably isn't Lexus. But maybe it ought to be. While the smaller end of the carmaker's SUV lineup is dominated with very car-like crossovers, the brand's biggest models — the GX 460 and LX 570 — are effectively luxury-laden Land Cruisers, with all the potential and promise you'd expect.
Last year, Lexus showed off the inherent potential in these models with the GXOR Concept, which turned a GX 460 into an overlanding beast. For 2020, the brand has turned its off-roading gaze on the bigger LX 570 to create the J201 — which may just be the coolest Lexus we've ever seen. (And yes, we remember the LFA.)
Unlike the GXOR, the J201 receives a nice bump of power under the hood. Thanks to a supercharger, the 5.7-liter V8 now 550 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque — 167 more ponies and 147 more "torques" than the stock version. After that flows through the eight-speed automatic gearbox, it passes through high-performance front and rear locking differentials arrives at all four wheels — in this case, 17-inch Evo Corse DakarZero off-road wheels, wrapped in 33-inch General Grabber X3 tires.
During those highway blasts between off-road trails, you'll probably be grateful for the StopTech Braking drilled brake rotors with high-performance brake pads, in case you ever have to stomp on the slow pedal at 75 mph. An Icon Vehicle Dynamic suspension delivers upper control arms up front and lower control arms in the rear, as well.
Any overlander worth its salt needs a bevy of other off-road add-ons beyond just the mechanical mods, of course, and the Lexus J201 delivers. Up top, there's a low-profile Prinsu Design roof rack, located between an integral TJM Airtech snorkel and a CBI Offroad Rear Bumper System that includes both the ladder to access the roof and holds the full-size spare wheel and tire.
Lighting matters out on the trail too, so the J201 comes correct with Rigid Industries light bars in both 30- and 40-inch widths, offering plenty of extra illumination beyond the powerful stock headlights. Should that still not prove enough to keep you out of trouble, though, no sweat: the J201 also packs a Warn Industries winch and dual on-board air compressors.
But perhaps the coolest thing about this Lexus? All these mods aren't just for show; the J201 is going to be put to work. On October 8th, it'll hit the trails in the 10-day Rebelle Rally — America's first and best-known women's off-road navigation rally — with defending champs Rachelle Croft and Taylor Pawley attempting to drive it to a repeat victory. Hey, Lexus: can we borrow it when they're done?