By: Yousef Alvi
Pictures by: Emily Reichelderfer
What you see in front of you is the 2015 Lexus GX460. Let’s get the specs out of the way first. It comes with a 4.6 liter V8 producing a prodigious 301 horsepower and 329 ft/lbs of that sweet torque mated to a smooth 6 speed automagic. It’s a luxurious yacht on wheels, that wraps its 7 occupants in expensive cowhide as wide as the eyes can see, sumptuous and delicate wood finishes and exquisite aluminum trim pieces. Now its corporate cousin is the Toyota 4Runner and that brings up a good point. Of all the vehicles in its class, the Lexus is the only one that is a true body on frame machine, whereas the others are just fancy sedans underneath with a SUV body glued on top. What does the body on frame give you? True. Off-road. Performance.
I know, I know that no one…and I mean literally no one is stupid enough to take their $60,000 SUV off road in the fear of getting it a bit dusty. Well… we are that stupid. We didn’t do it out of morbid curiosity but of out genuine faith that this luxurious beacon of a vehicle can operate off-road and do it well! So we called up a few of our off-roading buddies and set up a date and time.
We met up at an isolated gas station in Dahlonega GA and we were met with a fleet of highly modified Cherokees and a Toyota FJ. The only words that came out of my mouth at the time was something along the lines of ‘fecal matter’, because we just realized our GX was stock in all respects down to its highway tires. We already drove 90 minutes to get there and out of sheer laziness did not want to turn back. We dropped kicked caution to the wind and headed out to the trail.
What we were greeted with was literally every off road scenario possible in the span of 2 hours. Out of sheer paranoia about getting stuck, we were sandwiched between our buddy Alex and Eric’s winched equipped, lifted, and Mud Terrain Tire’d Cherokees. Alas though the trail started off with gravel and it was rather easy going for the next 10 minutes.
The further we climbed up, the conditions changed to snow and the Lexus brushed that off as easily as brushing dandruff off of Wooley’s shirt. Now the road changed to an uphill climb with the snow compacted with ice, again the leathered burly beast pounced up it with no issue.
Now this is where it gets interesting. We were promised, assured and downright almost swore that this ‘trail’ was a novice one and that there will be no issues with enormous ruts, rock crawling, mud and water crossings. Well that was a lie, because for the next 45 minutes that was all that we faced. Everyone switched to their 4Lo settings, which required them to the automotive equivalent of the hookie pokie in their trucks, whereas we came to a complete stop, put the truck in neutral, flipped the switch from 4hi to 4lo, raised the air suspension to it’s highest setting, and out of spite put the steering wheel heater on and said a silent prayer.
For the next 45 minutes we were not faced with the horror our overly active imaginations forced upon us, what happened was the exact opposite. The common phrase uttered in the cabin and over our walkie talkies was ‘holy shit! Go Lexus Go!!!’. Huge, muddy, deep ruts…no problem. Muddy downhills. Meh. Rock crawling. Pssshh. Forging water. Yeah okay…whatever. This not-so-little mountain goat of a vehicle didn’t just drive through those, it glided over them on a Tempurpedic cloud of comfort and awe. Not in a single damn moment was the GX even get close to being stuck. Merely it just drove on. And on. It was effortless and magnificent.
At the end of the day the GX was the star of the show. To quote our buddy Eric Chang ‘If you want to troll all the bros in ultimate comfort offroad, get the GX460’ Well said sir.