Lexus’s RX 450h full hybrid luxury SUV has gained sharp new looks, even higher equipment specifications and an attention-grabbing new F Sport model to increase its appeal across the board.
The styling changes are led by the spindle-shaped grille that is a new trademark element in new Lexus design, as also seen on the soon-to-be-launched new GS saloon and the multi-award winning LF-LC concept coupe. The effect is to give RX 450h a much stronger and individual street presence, a character that is even more pronounced in the new F Sport model (details below). To the rear there are redesigned tail lamps, too.
In the cabin small but telling tweaks have been made to trim details and the shape and functionality of some of the controls. There is a new steering wheel, incorporating a new selector switch for the hybrid system’s drive modes, and the operation of the Remote Touch controller has been revised so that it works more like a computer mouse. The Lexus attention to detail even extends to increasing the opening angle of the centre console box lid to make it easier to reach items inside.
New Lexus F Sport grade
The RX 450h adopts a whole new sporty persona with the introduction of an F Sport version to the RX range for the first time, offering both sharper looks and performance. Style-wise the Lexus F Sport grade stands out with a deeper, more vertical front bumper and a dedicated mesh treatment for the upper and lower grilles, which together make the new spindle grille shape an even stronger feature. There are also dark-finish 19-inch alloy wheels and F Sport badging on the exterior, while in the cabin the model’s distinctly sporting character is reflected in aluminium-effect sports pedals and trim inserts, F Sport smooth leather upholstery and scuff plates with the Lexus logo in black. There is also a black roof lining and a bespoke steering wheel with a stitched leather trim. Other equipment features include a head-up display, and LED headlights with the I-AFSadaptive system that angles the light beam in line with the vehicle turning angle through bends and at junctions.
Lateral damper system
The new Lexus F Sport grade is not just about sportier looks, it also offers sharper driving dynamics thanks to a lateral damper system that increases stability and improves ride comfort by absorbing small vibrations. The system, similar to that introduced in the CT 200h F Sport, uses a front lateral damper in place of the usual fixed bracing between the left and right suspension towers. A second damper unit is deployed at the rear, connecting each side of the lower back panel. The units are designed like a monotube suspension damper and adjust in line with changes in the body rigidity, noise and vibration of their surroundings to give the best possible absorption of body torsion, flexure and fine vibrations.
Sport drive mode
The RX 450h gains an additional Sport mode for itsLexus Hybrid Drivesystem. Selecting Sport (using the new drive mode switch on the redesigned steering wheel) modifies the throttle and electric power steering settings to gain faster responses, and also programmes the Vehicle Stability Control and traction control for less intrusive operation, letting the driver fully exploit the car’s dynamic abilities. The shift to Sport mode is reflected in the ambient illumination of the instrument panel changing to red.
Revised equipment specifications
Lexus has revised equipment specifications across all RX 450h, in addition to introducing the new Lexus F Sport grade. The RX 450h SE entry point to the range gains LED daytime running lights, a new perforated leather upholstery and re-designed steering wheel, while the Luxury grade model adopts (in addition to the above) dark-finish 19-inch alloy wheels and benefits from an upgrade to its 12-speaker audio system with aDABdigital tuner and single-discDVDplayer. At the top of the range the RX 450h Premier is newly equipped as standard with a tilt/slide sunroof and head-up display.
Two new accessory packs have been introduced for RX 450h, offering a range of practical features and styling elements. The Lifestyle Pack offers front and rear under-run protective plates and roof rails, and the new Protection Pack provides rubber floor mats, protective bumper film, mudflaps and a cargo net.