Under that giant cheese grater of a grille resides either a 3.5l or a 2.5l petrol-electric power unit. Picture: SUPPLIED
Under that giant cheese grater of a grille resides either a 3.5l or a 2.5l petrol-electric power unit. Picture: SUPPLIED

Is it a bold minivan to be applauded for its daring design, or garish proof that money can’t buy taste?

Whichever way your design sensibilities swing, the giant cheese grater on the front of the Lexus LM launched at the Shanghai Auto Show is the biggest iteration of the brand’s signature spindle grille yet seen.

The chrome-plated maw makes the enlarged grille on BMW’s updated 7 Series look decidedly subtle in comparison.

Whatever the verdict about the exterior styling, there’s no shortage of luxury inside this opulent seven-seater MPV, including an umbrella-storage compartment just like you find in a Rolls-Royce, an optional mini fridge for the champagne, and three rows of seats in luxury cowhide.

It is also available in a four-seat configuration with rear seats that are ventilated and recline like a La-Z-Boy chair, tailored to what Lexus says is the “chauffeured needs of the urban, business-focused professional”. We reckon rap stars will love it too.

Inside it’s the lap of luxury, with La-Z-Boy-type chairs and big-screen entertainment. Picture: SUPPLIED
Inside it’s the lap of luxury, with La-Z-Boy-type chairs and big-screen entertainment. Picture: SUPPLIED

The LM glides along on suspension based on the new ES sedan, which has been highly rated for its ride quality with its swing-valve shock absorbers.

The two engine options will be a 3.5l petrol or a 2.5l petrol-electric hybrid, with buyers able to pick between front- or all-wheel drive.

The new Lexus LM will go on sale in China and other Asian markets later in 2019, but it isn’t yet known whether it’s headed to SA to do battle against the Mercedes-Benz V-Class.