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Lexus is taking the EV in a new direction with hybrid electric technology with the introduction of the RX 500h F Sport Performance, which is part of the all-new fifth generation RX range Power is courtesy of a new 2.4 litre turbocharged hybrid electric powertrain with six-speed automatic transmission and there is a major step forward in dynamic quality, with DIRECT4 all-wheel drive torque control, Dynamic Rear Steering and strengthened braking system.

Perhaps we concentrate on the benefits of electrification too much, and they are not just about making cars cleaner and more fuel efficient; it’s worth pointing out that there are also real opportunities to deliver a more exciting driving experience, as Lexus’s radical new model proves. This exclusive member of the all-new RX family of large luxury SUVs is a new kind of hybrid electric model, one with a primary focus on performance. The hybrid powertrain is rich in innovation: a new, high-torque, turbocharged engine mated with a six-speed automatic transmission and a separate rear electric eAxle enabling the company’s new DIRECT4 precision all-wheel drive control. This advanced powertrain is just one element in the equation and it works in harmony with a fine-tuned dynamic package of chassis, steering, suspension and braking to deliver a constant sense of connection, control comfort and confidence. These are the key elements in the brand-defining Lexus Driving Signature, delivered to great effect in the RX 500h.

The Lexus goal with the newcomer was to create a car that gives an exhilarating driving experience and generates a dialogue with the driver and in order to achieve this, Lexus further evolved the their Driving Signature by thoroughly strengthening the vehicle fundamentals, as well as adopting a new four-wheel drive force system, DIRECT4. The RX 500h delivers a powerful, direct, and responsive driving experience through a hybrid electric system with a new high output rear motor and the brakes offer excellent control and rigidity, and the car is equipped with Dynamic Rear Steering with a large steering angle that provides high manoeuvrability and a sense of security at high speeds. This further enhances interaction with the car and delivers a pleasant driving experience. The new hybrid powertrain architecture is unlike anything Lexus has produced previously and the essential self-charging principle is the same, but the front electric motor is positioned between the engine and the new automatic transmission, with a clutch on each side. This design gives strong power delivery while retaining the EV driving capability that’s characteristic of a Lexus full hybrid electric system and it is the most powerful RX yet, with total power output of 366bhp/273kW and 550Nm maximum torque. This translates into rest to 100kph (62mph) in 6.2 seconds. This is the kind of performance you might expect from a three-litre V6 engine, but with superior economy. The new compact, six-speed automatic transmission is being used in preference to the eCVT system in other Lexus hybrid electric powertrains to better realise the potential of the high torque from the turbo engine and motor and it is engineered to avoid frequent shifts and offers the driver the option of manual operation using paddle controls on the steering wheel. When you press the throttle, response is instant with a powerful, linear increase in speed. The new DIRECT4, an intelligent electronic control system instantaneously and seamlessly adjusts the front and rear drive torque to all four wheels to provide optimum grip and maintain stability. Drive to the rear wheels is provided by the rear eAxle with a separate electric motor and inverter and it makes for a more comfortable ride with better body control and a more rewarding experience communicating a more connected feel between the road and the steering wheel.

The newcomer stands out, with styling features added to the new RX’s “Next Chapter” design that express its performance character. These include dedicated split-spoke 21 inch alloy wheels, body colour wheel arch trims and sills, piano black details, aero profile bumpers, F Sport badging and an exclusive mesh pattern for the grille. Inside, the theme continues with the F Sport steering wheel, shift lever and scuff plates and an aluminium pedal set and the sports front seats are finished in leather with tactile ultrasuede bolsters.


Ian lynas



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