Lexus RX receives new engines and turbo power
Seeing as SUVs continue to be all the rage, Lexus will be launching a new version of its raised people carrier, the RX.
Always a strong competitor in the premium SUV market, the new Lexus RX will be looking to take away some of the market share occupied by the segment’s power houses, the BMW X3 and Audi’s Q5.
However, things will be more competitive than ever with Mercedes-Benz about to release its mid-sized SUV under the GLC designation soon, too. Lexus will be playing to its strengths when the battle starts, focusing on hybrid technology, styling and premium finishes.
There will be three engines to choose from: a naturally aspirated 3,5-litre V6 for the RX 350, a hybrid electric setup that uses the same 3,5-litre V6 for the RX 450h and a four-cylinder turbocharged 2,0-litre, presumably for the RX 200t.
The RX 350’s new petrol V6 is meant to produce 220 kW and will be linked to a brand new eight-speed gearbox. The 450h will target a similar output of 220 kW but will be tuned for efficiency, while still providing more torque due to the electric motor.
The new RX 200t will inevitably serve as an entry-level model to the range, but with 175 kW and 350 Nm of torque, it might very well be the sweet spot as far as performance goes. It will come with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
European buyers will only be receiving the turbocharged and hybrid RX, leaving the naturally aspirated engine for the United States. Our market normally mimics the European offering, so it is likely that South Africans will also only have a choice between the RX 450h and 200t.
Lexus has reworked the interior to better reflect its premium intentions, moving the gear lever to the steering column to free up space in the cabin. A larger display will also take up most of the dash.
The exterior is sleeker than the previous RX, with a strong emphasis on aerodynamics and bold styling choices such as the exaggerated spindle grille.
The RX will also come with Adaptive Variable Suspension, which is an electronically monitored system that can control steering and damping settings to improve handling in different conditions. There will also be an optional F-Sport model that adds active stabilisers to limit body roll through corners, and a Sport S+ driving mode.
Europeans will have an opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new RX before the end of 2015, while South Africans will probably have to wait until 2016.