Tokyo, April 1, 2015―Lexus has shown that it has once again redefined the luxury-sport-utility segment with the unveiling of the totally redesigned “RX” at the 2015 New York Auto Show today. As the best-selling model in the brand’s 26-year history―with sales of more than 2.1 million units―the RX represents three out of ten vehicles ever sold by Lexus. The new model looks to build on that trend with a completely redesigned luxurious interior wrapped in a chiseled, attractive new body style. The large dose of Lexus brand DNA that’s been artfully incorporated into the details can not only be seen, but also felt. The reimagined RX boasts exceptional on-road performance and new safety technologies that include the innovative Lexus Safety System+.
RX Chief Engineer Takayuki Katsuda said: “Our ambition has been to make a bold and completely new statement in this segment while building on and staying true to the pioneering values of previous RX generations.”
That the new RX makes a powerful visual statement is obvious at first glance. The front features a completely new fascia that’s highlighted by an emboldened spindle grille with a chrome-plated border and triple L-shape-LED headlamps. Together with the redesigned fog lamps, this gives the RX an elegant yet futuristic aura. Muscular front fender flares add to the vehicle’s sporty attitude.
When seen from the side, the sharp character line that runs from the front fenders to the rear end, together with a flowing roofline, give the RX a dynamic profile that minimizes drag and decreases front and rear lift. All this makes the vehicle more stable at high speed with a sharp reduction in wind noise. A truly innovative styling element is the blacked-out C-pillars, which provide the illusion of a floating roofline never before seen on a Lexus. Also, newly designed 20-inch aluminum wheels with larger tires improve the vehicle stance and proportions. These 20-inch wheels can also be customized with body color-matching inserts to emphasize individuality.
The new RX’s rear appearance has been sharpened and exudes rock-solid stability, highlighted by LED L-shaped taillights that wrap around the sides of the vehicle, creating a wider, more authoritative presence when illuminated. When lit, a brilliant glow spans laterally from the body to the back door―a Lexus first.
Inside, the RX’s new luxurious cabin is one of comfort and luxury, with repositioned trim pieces that exude a high level of class, and specially finished laser-cut ornamentation available for those who desire an extra dose of opulence. A large heads-up display (HUD) takes center stage, while the information display area, featuring a 12.3-in. monitor, has been separated from the main operations area. Also, the shift lever has been moved away from the front of the instrument panel to optimize operability and create more space for the driver. But the driver isn’t the only one who benefits from the new interior: Rear-seat occupants are treated to more leg and knee space, and the newly developed seats offer heating and power reclining features that not only enhance convenience, they also provide a luxury feel and a sense of hospitality and sophistication. A retractable power panorama roof enhances the RX cabin’s spaciousness and provides occupants with a refreshing open-air experience.
Gen Ikeda, the chief designer of the RX, said: “We designed the RX to have a high amount of excitement and strength. The lengthened wheelbase and larger tire size result in sporty powerful proportions. Even while ensuring a high level of luxury and space within the cabin, the RX’s silhouette remains sleek and dynamic, while the interior has been designed for easy operation with luxurious execution.”
Under the RX 350’s hood is an upgraded and more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 aiming to deliver 300 hp with direct injection, mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Based on this improved powertrain is the RX 450h’s Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V-6. When combined with the electric motor generator, the total output is expected to be around 300 hp. All RX engines have been tuned to achieve high fuel economy and low carbon emissions.
When it comes to delivering precise, controlled handling, the new RX offers impressive dynamic capability. The entire chassis has been fortified to provide better stability and control through turns. The vehicle’s body structure has been strengthened with added stiffness, helping to drastically improve its handling response while reducing engine and road noise in the cabin. The vehicle also features innovative technology, such as Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), each system designed to recognize potentially dangerous situations and make automatic and often transparent adjustments to ensure the car remains in control when entering and exiting corners. Also, All-Wheel Drive improves the RX’s handling performance and stability on both dry and slick surfaces alike.
The RX’s fully independent suspension system, which consists of MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone setup at rear, has been tuned and reinforced to improve handling while keeping ride quality remarkably smooth. Available on most RX versions is the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which electronically monitors and adapts the suspension damping and steering to ensure optimal handling and ride depending on the driving conditions. This means that wherever the RX goes, the AVS will automatically make lightning-quick adjustments to the shock absorber settings, ensuring the smoothest ride quality possible. The system is also designed to produce less body lean through corners, providing an engaging driving experience.
Lexus has always stressed safety in all of its vehicles, so it should come as no surprise that the new RX is significantly improved in the areas concerning the well-being of its occupants. Among these new improvements are the upgraded body structure that heightens the overall passive safety of the RX, and Lexus Safety System+, which helps avoid or mitigate collisions across a wide range of vehicle speeds. Introduced globally as either standard or optional equipment, Lexus Safety System+ integrates several of Lexus’s existing active safety technologies. These include the Pre-Collision System (PCS) that detects sudden stops initiated by the vehicle in front, warning drivers of potential contact with obstacles ahead; Lane Departure Alert (LDA), which issues an audible signal if the vehicle strays from its intended lane; and Automatic High Beam (AHB) that helps ensure optimal forward visibility during nighttime driving. As part of a multi-faceted approach to active safety, the Lexus Safety System+ package utilizes a millimeter-wave radar that works together with a camera to keep the RX in its intended driving lane via the Lane Keeping Assist feature (LKA) and enhances the target detection for the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. For even higher safety levels, Adaptive High-beam System (AHS), a Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) are available as optional equipment.
For those who prefer even more excitement and performance in their luxury sport-utility vehicles, there is the RX F Sport, which will be available with all of the model’s engine offerings. Lexus vehicles designated with the F Sport badge are equipped with a number of special visual and performance features that set them apart from other versions. In the RX’s case, the spindle grille and lower center piece of the rear bumper possess an “F” mesh design, instantly giving the vehicle a sportier flair. New alloy wheels, exclusive to the F Sport, also help give the RX a commanding presence. Inside, the driver is treated to a custom F Sport instrument cluster as well as a sport steering wheel, featuring perforated leather and an attractive F Sportemblem, complete with paddle shifters. Exclusive colors and trim pieces are also part of the sporty package.
The RX F Sport’s performance on the road has been enhanced by an active stabilizer system whose world’s first cutting-edge technology keeps the vehicle’s body amazingly flat through corners. The aforementioned AVS, which also helps keep the vehicle planted to driving surfaces through turns, is standard on RX F Sport. The driver can select the AVS-enhanced Sport S+ mode, in addition to Eco, Normal and Sports S settings, on the Drive Mode Select control located on the center console.
One thing is perfectly clear: Lexus’ best-selling sport-utility vehicle has dramatically raised the bar yet again in the luxury sport-utility segment, flawlessly combining luxurious comfort and bold styling inside and out, as well as delivering exciting driving performance.
“The pioneering spirit of Lexus drives us to create new technology and gives rise to new ideas. It allows us to introduce new vehicles with leading-edge features. And indeed, we are committed to bringing amazement and inspiration beyond expectations to the world. I believe this new RX will not only surprise new customers, but will also delight and satisfy our loyal customers, whose high expectations will be met by many new innovations,” Katsuda said.
|RX 450h||RX 350|
|Wheel base||2,790 mm|
|Track (front/rear)||1,640/1,630 mm|
|Driveline||Front-wheel drive/All-wheel drive|
|Tires & Wheels||235/65R18, 235/55R20|