Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car

Sanjay · Apr 15, 2021 01:00 PM

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 01

If you find yourself having RM 1.11 million in spare change, then maybe you can join the ranks of royals and consider this just-launched-in-Malaysia 2021 Lexus LM 350.

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 02

"Oh but it's just an overstyled Toyota Alphard!" You - or someone else - might think that, but having seen it up close and personal this is something that couldn't be further from the truth.

Exterior - Converts just can't match

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 01

Even before the LM 350 officially made it here, there already were a couple of converts running around. Sorry to say, but they just don't hold a candle to the takumi-touched surfaces of the real deal. 

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 02

Design-wise, pretty much the only thing it shares with the Alphard base car is its blocky silhouette. Every other element is bespoke to this model.

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For example, check out the intricate pattern on the trademark spindle grille up front. The way it twists and melds into one cohesive shape - flanked by triple-beam projector LED headlights - creates not only an imposing face, but an artistic one at that. 

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What's missing in converts

Spicing things up along the sides are the signature 'L' shaped motifs on the rear sliding doors. They look simple, but it's actually rather integral to the LM 350's sharp looks.

Convert jobs usually lack these, and the cheapness shows. 

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Never mind that, take a look at these wheels. Finished in Hyper Chrome Metallic, these 18-inch aluminium units are yet another defining feature that sets the real LM 350 apart.

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Literally mirror-finish

Sure, some enterprising company with a CNC mill might be able to recreate the design, but we doubt they'd also be able to infuse it with the same noise-reducing technology the actual wheels have.

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The back is drama-free, with a nice light bar linking both LED tail lamps together. Completing the look is a smattering of tasteful chrome detailing around the car. 

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But that's about it for how it looks. The real star is how it is inside.

Interior - Literally a house on wheels

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Lexus bandies the word ometenashi a lot, which essentially means 'Japanese hospitality'. 

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 10

Fittingly, there is nary a rough or hard surface - everything is draped in soft-touch materials, namely semi-aniline leather. 

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 11

And look - Lexus didn't skimp out on it either. Even the rear grab handles are coated in leather. 

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 12

The Malaysian-spec LM 350 is a four-seater, with rear captain seats that feel like clouds. Really. 

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These ventilated seats are fully-reclinable, coming with pampering features such as power ottoman and also capable of giving occupants a full-body massage. 

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And once you get comfy in them, there's a nice privacy partition seperating you and the cabin. Decorated with traditional silver ink Gin-Sui-Boku ornamentation, the little wall houses a 26-inch screen.

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Connectivity is handled by phone mirroring or HDMI

It's good for catching a video or two, or maybe even reading WapCar.my on the go. As much as it's nice to have, the screen's 720p resolution spoils the experience a bit - would full HD be too much to ask, Lexus?

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 16

Speaking of entertainment, sound is channeled through a 19-speaker Mark Levinson system - no complaints there, it's pretty brilliant.

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The screen sits between a mini-fridge (good for a couple of bottles) and our personal favourite feature - the privacy glass. 

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Controlled by buttons on the console placed between the rear seats, this privacy glass can be raised, made translucent, and put away almost instantaneously. Too bad it doesn't dampen sound though. 

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Other cool stuff in the interior include 16-colour ambient lighting and a pair of panoramic moonroofs.

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Driving-wise, there's the expected Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity in its 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Performance - 3.5 V6 engine

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Propelling the LM 350 around is a 3.5-litre, V6 engine plucked from the Alphard:

2021 Lexus LM 350 powertrain

2GR-FKS

3.5-litre, naturally-aspirated V6

296 PS @ 6,000 rpm

361 Nm @ 4,700 rpm

8-speed automatic 

Front-wheel drive (FWD)

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Unlike certain markets that gets the hybrid LM 300h model, ours is exclusively petrol-powered. 

Safety - ADAS is a must

Closer Look: The Lexus LM 350, when the Alphard is just another poor-man's car 23

The LM 350 uses a digital rear-view mirror

The Lexus Safety System+ ADAS suite is present and correct:

  • Forward collision warning (FCW)
  • Dynamic radar cruise control (DRCC)
  • Lane departure alert (LDA)
  • Lane tracing assist (LTA)
  • Adaptive high beam (AHB)

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Other safety features include blind spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert (BSM, RCTA) and a 3D 360-degree camera. 

Conclusion - Not for those who don't understand

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So there's your in-depth look at the LM 350 - it's more than just an Alphard with a new skin. Some may argue that it may not be worth nearly triple the Alphard (RM 446k), but isn't sheer exclusivity priceless?

Sanjay

Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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Up to 20% higher than average trade-in price

2021 Lexus LM350 4-Seater

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