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World premiere of the all-new Lexus RX luxury SUV

Lexus reveals the fifth generation RX, a completely reinvented model, opening a major new chapter for this iconic SUV.

By LLM Reporters  |  June 9, 2022

Lexus has just revealed the fifth generation RX, a completely reinvented model that opens a new chapter for the original, highly acclaimed luxury SUV.

The pioneering RX has become a much admired Lexus best-seller over the last two decades, with more than 3.5 million sold worldwide. The new model will be pivotal to the brand’s Lexus Electrified strategy. Together with the recently launched NX and newly revealed RZ, RX will help build the ‘Next Chapter’ of the Lexus brand.

Lexus has further developed its next chapter design language for the new RX. This includes a new spindle body that integrates the familiar spindle grille concept into the entire front of the vehicle. The RX team were also inspired by the RX’s rich design heritage. The result is a car that is instantly recognisable as an RX, but with a more dynamic, elegant and confident character.

Inside, the Tazuna cockpit is focused on giving the driver direct, intuitive control of the vehicle, following the principal of ‘hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.’ It also improves the driving experience with its clean layout and new 14-inch touchscreen.

Three electrified variants will be available in Europe. The core model for the UK and Western Europe is the RX 450h+ featuring Lexus’s benchmark plug-in hybrid electric technology. With the new RX 350h, Lexus introduces an efficient alternative to smaller diesel and petrol powertrains. And for those drivers looking for more exhilarating performance, Lexus introduces its first turbocharged hybrid model, the RX 500h, which comes with DIRECT4 drive force control.

Lexus RX 500h

To craft the new RX’s Lexus Driving Signature, Lexus optimised fundamental elements such as the centre of gravity, inertia specifications, weight reduction, rigidity, and powertrain to create a more natural dialogue between car and driver. The improved handling and responsiveness come from an enhanced GA-K platform that delivers high body rigidity and a low centre of gravity.

Leveraging Lexus’s world-class safety technology, the RX is equipped with third generation Lexus Safety System+, with improved Pre-Collision System, new Proactive Driver Assist and extended safety package. It also features the latest multimedia platform with Hey Lexus voice assistant and functions accessible via the Lexus Link app.

Exterior appeal

Moving towards electrification, the car’s designers undertook the challenge of incorporating the new ‘spindle body’ design identity into the new RX, achieved through stronger integration of the grille. This expresses a sense of the car’s electrified power and low centre of gravity. More compact, sharper headlights, air intakes and a wider track (+15mm) consolidate the stable, confident look.

To achieve a bolder stance, the designers created a sleeker front-to-rear posture, extending the bonnet, lengthening the wheelbase by 6mm and lowering the roofline by 10mm. Lending the car a coupe-like feel, the signature black rear pillar is now more three-dimensional in appearance, while the sweeping character line and large 21-inch wheels heighten the dynamic feel.

The triple LED headlights are sleeker, sharper and more horizontal in alignment. The design is accentuated by L-shaped daytime running lights. At the rear, the single-line Lexus signature tail lights underline the RX shape, while the wider track (+50mm) emboldens the stance and road presence.

Accentuating the RX’s sporty credentials, the F Sport version will be visually distinguished by the design execution of the grille, skirts and aerodynamic front and rear bumpers. In Western Europe the F Sport grade will be exclusive to the RX 500h performance hybrid model.

Lexus RX 500h

Luxury upgrade

Lexus developed the Tazuna cockpit concept to provide a more focused environment for the driver – its name is from the Japanese word for using reins to control a horse. Tazuna ensures direct yet intuitive control: information sources such as the multimedia screen, multi-information display, single-dial meter, centralised gauges and head-up display are grouped so their content can be read with minimal eye and head movement.

The designers sought to create a minimalist, yet intuitive and thoughtful interior space. The front seats have been redesigned to offer top-class accessibility, excellent support and heating/ventilation. To provide proper ergonomic support around the waist, the sides of the seats have been given concave shape.

One of the highlights of the new RX is the availability of a leather-like interior trim that does not use animal products, created in response to growing demand from vegan and other eco-conscious consumers. The synthetic leather is used for the seats, steering wheel and shift knob, with a choice of colours.

The Lexus Mood Selector allows the RX’s ambient lighting to be adjusted to suit the mood or the drive from a palette of 64 colours and 14 bespoke themes.

There is both ample luggage space and five luxury seats with excellent legroom. An increased couple distance, new seat designs and more intelligent packaging have made the cabin feel more spacious. The luggage compartment has been made easier to access with a reduction in the loading height and is 50mm longer, thanks to intelligent tailgate design. The longer length and rear seats which split-fold 40:20:40 help accommodate bulkier items such as skis and surfboards.

A new e-latch system electronically controls the door release operation, making it smoother and more convenient.

Lexus RX 500h

Innovative multimedia and connectivity

The new RX delivers advanced connectivity that is both faster and more stable, providing the latest multimedia technology, ‘always connected’ services and the convenience of over-the-air updates. With smartphone, navigation, vehicle commands, multimedia functions and cloud connectivity, there are about 100 ways for the driver to interact with their vehicle.

A 14-inch touchscreen, one of the largest in the RX’s class, is fitted as standard. As well as the anti-glare screen there are buttons to access the most frequently used functions. Graphics are presented in HD for excellent visibility in all lighting conditions, while the system’s CPU operates 3.6 times faster than the current one.

Advanced driver support

Lexus introduces many advanced human-centred technologies in the new RX to enhance comfort, convenience and life on board, reinforcing the spirit of omotenashi hospitality.

The RX can be specified with a digital rear-view mirror which gives the driver a wide, unobstructed field of vision, using real-time images from the car’s reversing camera.

For easier driving in confined spaces, the digital panoramic view monitor uses cameras to capture a live 360° view around and a pre-recorded view under the car (the cameras now benefit from automatic cleaners). It also creates a virtual 3D image of the RX, showing the vehicle as if seen from above.

An advanced park system is also available.

Lexus RX 450h

Safety and driver assistance

The new RX benefits from next-level active safety and driver assistance systems featured in the latest generation of Lexus Safety System+ with upgraded functions and increased scope for accident risk detection and prevention.

The improvements include further expansion of the pre-collision system’s ability to detect motorcycles and other objects in the car’s path. It can also recognise collision risks with oncoming traffic or crossing pedestrians when making a turn at a junction.

Enhancements have been made to the Adaptive Cruise Control so that it now more quickly recognises traffic cutting in in front and, in conjunction with upgrades to Lane Trace Assist, follows a more natural line through bends. The ACC has also been expanded to respond to more signs and commands, including warning signs and STOP signs.

While Lexus Safety System+ is fitted as standard on all European models, owners of higher- grade models can choose an Extended Safety Package. This includes Lane Change Assistance (LCA), which provides automatic lane change steering on the motorway and Front Cross-Traffic Alert, which uses radar monitoring to warn the driver of traffic approaching from either side.

A feature new to the RX, Pre-Collision System with Active Steering Assist, determines when there is a high possibility of collision with a pedestrian ahead or with an object. If the system also determines that it is difficult to avoid the collision with brake control alone – but that it might be avoided using steering control – Active Steering Assist is deployed, in addition to braking and the triggering of an alert.

Lexus signature drive – comfort, control and confidence

Each RX model delivers the Lexus Driving Signature in its own way, supported by the quality of the shared platform and different powertrains. The common thread is to provide superior comfort and linear, direct responsiveness, giving all drivers control and confidence at all times.

The new RX uses Lexus’s GA-K platform, similar to that which underpins the new NX, but with a different set-up. The rear has been completely redesigned to extend the wheelbase and accommodate additional cross members and suspension braces that increase rigidity. This increased rigidity has allowed the suspension to be more accurately tuned, improving both performance and comfort.

The new platform has enabled a 90kg reduction in the car’s weight and a lowering of its overall height by 10mm, contributing to a 15mm lower centre of gravity. The wheelbase is longer by 60mm within in an unchanged overall length and the tracks are wider.

The new multi-link rear suspension delivers better lateral stability and anti-squat characteristics, enabling a substantial hike in performance. Capable of handling higher levels of torque, it also substantially reduces noise and vibration.

While ensuring Lexus-like quietness inside the cabin with sound-damping and vibration reduction measures, engineers and craftspeople created sounds to add a sense of power and performance. They also perfected the opening and closing sounds made by the doors.

Lexus RX 450h

Electrified line up

RX 500h: A game-changing performance hybrid with DIRECT4

2.4-litre turbo hybrid engine with six-speed automatic transmission and DIRECT4
Output: 366bhp/371 DIN hp/273 kW
0-62mph: 6.0s
CO2: 182-189g/km
Fuel consumption: 33.2-34.5mpg

The game-changing new RX 500h is Lexus’s first turbocharged hybrid, developed to provide high-end electrified performance.

RX 450h+: The first plug-in hybrid electric RX

2.5-litre plug-in hybrid electric powertrain
Output: 302bhp/306 DIN hp/225kW
0-62mph: 7.0s
CO2: 24-26g/km
Fuel consumption: 235.4-256.8mpg

Expected to be the best-selling RX model in the UK and western and central Europe, it features a four-cylinder 2.5-litre hybrid engine and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 18.1 kWh capacity. An additional rear electric motor enables full-time all-wheel drive.

RX 350h: Efficient fourth generation self-charging hybrid

2.5-litre self-charging hybrid electric powertrain
Output: 242bhp/245 DIN hp/180kW
0-62mph: 8.0s
CO2: 143-150g/km
Fuel consumption: 41.1-42.2mpg

(Performance data for all models provisional/tentative pending homologation)

The new RX 350h is characterised by the improved smoothness and efficiency of its fourth generation self-charging hybrid electric system. This 2.5-litre petrol drivetrain provides 242b hp and 0-62mph acceleration in 8.0 seconds, performance comparable with the current RX 450h, while at the same time producing lower emissions.

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