First Look: 2023 Lexus RX

The largest change is discovered within the new array of powertrains, three of which will likely be electrified

The Lexus RX can legitimately lay declare to having invented the luxurious crossover phase when it was launched 24 years in the past. It’s now coming into its fifth-generation, changing the outgoing crossover after its prolonged seven-year run.

This time round it loses it angular, edgy design in favour of one thing that’s way more formal to the attention. The spindle grille has morphed into an upside-down trapezoid flanked by super-slim headlights. It additionally rides on a brand new platform and will get a broader array of fashions. The brand new vary runs from Premium, Luxurious, Extremely-Luxurious and Government to 2 new F Sport Efficiency fashions (Bundle 2 and Bundle 3). The latter is greater than a beauty improve, because it comes with some critical muscle and a slick all-wheel-drive system. For those who appreciated the earlier F Sport look, it is going to be supplied on base mannequin.

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The GA-Ok platform, because it’s recognized in Lexus communicate, has a 60-millimetre longer wheelbase, which bumps it to 2,850 mm. This brings extra inside area, particularly for the rear seat riders. Surprisingly, the stretch between the wheels doesn’t improve the general size, as Lexus lopped 60 mm off the rear overhang. Lastly, regardless of the hike in know-how and tools, the beginner is 90-kilograms lighter than the outgoing mannequin and it’s stiffer. Each of which bode properly for the driving dynamics.

The largest change is discovered within the new array of powertrains. Gone is the V6 engine that has been a staple for therefore a few years in favour of four-cylinder engines, three of which will likely be electrified.

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It begins with the RX 350 and a 2.4-litre turbo-four that works with an eight-speed computerized transmission to drive all 4 wheels. The 275 horsepower and, extra importantly, 317 pound-feet of torque will likely be greater than sufficient for many potential clients, as will a run to 100 kilometres an hour in 7.4 seconds. Higher but, the estimated gas financial system of 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres is 1.0 L/100 km higher than the outgoing V6, and this regardless of the actual fact it delivers higher efficiency — it’s about 0.5 second sooner!

Subsequent up is the RX 350h. It marries a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine with an electrical motor and a constantly variable transmission. This combo drives the entrance wheels. On the again, there’s a second electrical motor that offers the hybrid an eAWD extension. The system combines to supply 246 hp and 233 lb-ft of torque. The affect the second electrical motor has on efficiency shouldn’t be neglected, because the hybrid runs to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and it manages to do that whereas delivering an estimated gas financial system of seven.1 L/100 km.

A bit additional out, the common hybrid will likely be joined by the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid. No info has been launched at this level, however you possibly can guess it would eclipse RX 350h by way of efficiency and financial system — it’s reported to have an electric-only driving vary of 80 km.

The intriguing powertrain is discovered within the RX 500h F Sport Efficiency. It makes use of that torquey 2.4L turbo-four, an electrical motor and a six-speed computerized transmission up entrance. A high-output electrical motor powers the rear wheels. Now this doesn’t sound overly thrilling till you take a look at the output numbers and the way the ability is put to pavement. This mix twists out 367 hp and a stump-pulling 406 lb-ft of torque. Now that’s going to seize the driving force’s consideration in a rush, as will the 6.1 second run to 100 km/h.

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The RX 500h adopts the corporate’s Direct4 drive management system. The setup is designed to work with each hybrid and future battery-electric automobiles. On this case, it oversees the ability cut up between the entrance and rear axles. It will possibly drive simply the entrance wheels for improved effectivity, cut up the ability roughly evenly when taking off and underneath exhausting acceleration, or it may well undertake a a lot sportier 20/80-front/rear energy cut up.

2023 Lexus RX 350
2023 Lexus RX 350Picture by Graeme Fletcher

I drove the identical system in a Lexus ES mule at Toyota’s Proving Grounds in Japan in 2019. The primary half of the drive was with the system switched off; the second half it was switched on and weaving its magic. The distinction was like chalk and cheese. The bottom line is the electrical motors, particularly the high-output rear motor, play a a lot bigger position within the driving dynamics. Sure, it positive helps the acceleration trigger, however it additionally introduced a crisper preliminary turn-in response from the steering, higher stability on the lengthy straight part, and it rocketed out of a nook after clipping the apex. The purpose right here is the distribution of the drive torque proved to be each efficient (learn enjoyable!) and environment friendly. This setup ought to give the RX 500h F Sport Efficiency enviable driving traits.

Slip inside, and the cabin has been reworked to nice impact — the obtainable 14-inch infotainment touchscreen makes for an eye catching centrepiece. In instances previous, it was the infotainment system and Distant Contact interface that acquired slammed by all who tried to make use of it. The brand new setup is way smarter and, lastly, intuitive. Past that Lexus shouldn’t be saying a lot, though on the obtainable options record you’ll discover fascinating objects like a panoramic moonroof, head-up show, navigation, and upgraded audio packages. These F Sport Efficiency fashions earn leather-trimmed seats, suede-trimmed inside door panels, and a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel full with paddle shifters to associate with the aluminum accents, together with the pedals.

The 2023 Lexus RX will go on sale in direction of the top of this 12 months. Pricing and full specs will likely be introduced nearer to launch.

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