Can Japanese Luxury SUVs Really Be Off-Roaders?

Toyota calls the 2014 Lexus GX 460 "a trail-driving 4x4" with "exceptional off-road prowess." We put one in the grass last week and I had trouble getting it through ditches without turning the front bumper into a land tiller, but the shocks and chassis seemed up for rough stuff.

Land Rover makes such a big deal about the off-road capabilities of their vehicles, but the Japanese brands market mud slingin' a little half-heartedly. The press release for the new Lexus GX is full of bold claims on capability, but consumer-facing marketing from Lexus and Infiniti rarely spends time talking about trail running.

I've never seen a Japanese luxury-branded SUV on any off-road trail. But Lexus went through the trouble of winning their Baja 1000 class with Joe Bacal's LX 570s, and now I know we've got at least one commenter with a lifted Lexus LX. So is there actually a cult of Lexus and Infiniti off-roaders?

In terms of hardware, the Lexus SUVs should be pretty much as capable as their Land Cruiser cousins. The same could be said for Infiniti's Nissan Patrol-based QX80 and the old Pathfinder-based QX4.

Does anybody get those things muddy, or is Land Rover the only brand that can really build a tough-truckish luxury sport utility vehicle?

Bring on the Lexus and Infiniti off-road tales and pictures!

Image: Joe Bacal's Lexus LX 570 at the 2012 Baja 1000