Lexus GX550 trademark hints at V6 power for next Toyota Prado

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The next Toyota Prado could receive a twin-turbo petrol V6 shared with its larger LandCruiser sibling in overseas markets, if new trademarks for its Lexus twin are a guide.

The next Toyota LandCruiser Prado could have the option of twin-turbo petrol V6 power, following new trademarks in North America for its next-generation Lexus-badged twin under the skin.

Unearthed by publications including Motor Trend, Toyota has filed to protect the ‘GX550’ nameplate in the US and Costa Rica – with the ‘GX’ referring to the Lexus GX, the guise under which Australia’s Toyota Prado is sold in North America, with unique front-end styling, badging, and dashboard.

The ‘550’ designation refers to a petrol engine (without hybrid assistance) – and while the engine behind the badge is yet to be confirmed by the car maker, it’s rumoured to be a detuned version of the 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 designed for the new Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series in overseas markets (Australia will launch with a diesel V6), and tipped for use in its upcoming twin under the skin, the Lexus LX600.

The introduction of a twin-turbo V6 in the next-generation Lexus GX is not necessarily confirmation the same engine will be offered in the Prado, given the Lexus has at times been allocated its own engine – namely the 4.6-litre V8 in today’s GX, compared to the Prado’s range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel options.

However, with both vehicles destined to be based on the same ‘TNGA-F’ body-on-frame platform (shared with the LandCruiser 300 Series), and feature near-identical exterior dimensions, the heart transplant will at least be physically possible.

The twin-turbo petrol six could also spread to other models based on TNGA-F, including the next-generation Toyota HiLux, due in 2025 or beyond.

Japanese magazine Best Car reports the next-generation Toyota LandCruiser Prado (slated to launch in Japan in mid-2022) will be offered with the same 227kW/700Nm 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 as the new LandCruiser 300 Series – with this engine more likely to come to Australia than a potential petrol V6, given local buyers’ preference for diesel fuel.

The use of the ‘550’ badge suggests the 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 will be detuned for use in the GX, from the 305kW/650Nm of the upcoming Lexus LX600 (and its LandCruiser 300 Series twin), to outputs closer to the 250kW/550Nm mark.

If it’s developed for use in the Prado, it’s not certain whether the 3.5-litre petrol V6 would be made available in Australia – though given the last petrol engine offered in a Prado, a 207kW/381Nm 4.0-litre V6, accounted for just 1.2 per cent of sales prior to its discontinuation in 2017, the chances appear slim.

Rumoured to go on sale in Japan in mid-2022 – contrary to delays reported in Japan earlier this year – the new LandCruiser Prado was previously tipped to offer a choice of 2.8-litre turbo-diesel and 2.7-litre non-turbo petrol four-cylinder engines, as per the current model, with a 2.5-litre diesel-electric hybrid also in the works.

It appears these plans have changed, however, with the aforementioned 3.3-litre diesel V6 also slated for use.

The new four-wheel-drive is slated to feature similar dimensions to its predecessor, though noteworthy advances are expected in interior technology and safety. A GR Sport version could also be in the works, mirroring its larger 300 Series sibling.

Stay tuned to Drive for all the latest on the next-generation 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado and its luxury twin, the 2024 Lexus GX550, likely to launch in North America one to two years after its Toyota-badged donor.

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