Lexus revealed the 5th generation RX, a completely reinvented model, opening a major new chapter for this iconic SUV.
The pioneering RX has become a Lexus bestseller over the last two decades. With more than 3.5 million units sold worldwide since its introduction in 1998 – of which 300,000 in Europe – this 5th generation RX is pivotal to the brand’s future ‘Lexus Electrified’ strategy.
Koji Sato, President of Lexus International: “For the all-new RX we were determined to keep the Lexus DNA of supreme quality, ride comfort and refinement and elevate the driving experience to the next level, delivering a unique Lexus driving signature”.
Together with the recently launched NX and newly revealed RZ, RX will help build the ‘Next Chapter’ of the Lexus brand. These three models represent the strongest offensive yet in the D-E Premium SUV market, the heart of Lexus’ business.
Lexus has further developed its new ‘Next Chapter’ design language for the new RX. This includes a new ‘spindle body’ that was achieved by integrating the spindle concept into the entire front of the vehicle. The RX team also found inspiration in the rich RX design heritage. The result is a car that is instantly recognisable as RX, but with a more dynamic, elegant and confident character.
Inside, the driver-centred ‘Tazuna’ cockpit focuses 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 intuitive and clean layout, enhanced by a new 14″ touchscreen.
The new RX comes with a line-up of three different electrified variants in Europe. At the core of the brand’s offering in Western Europe, the RX 450h+ will welcome RX customers to Lexus’ benchmark plug-in technology. With the new RX 350h hybrid, Lexus introduces an efficient alternative to lower displacement diesel and petrol powertrains. And for those drivers looking for more exhilarating performance, Lexus introduces its first ever turbo hybrid, the RX 500h, which comes with DIRECT4 drive force control.
For Eastern markets, alongside the RX 500h performance hybrid, Lexus also presents the RX 350 with a 2.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering higher performance than the current model.
To craft the new RX’s bespoke ‘Lexus Driving Signature’, Lexus optimised the SUV’s fundamentals 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 excellent body rigidity and a low centre of gravity.
Leveraging Lexus’ world-class safety technology, the RX offers the 3rd-generation Lexus Safety System+, with improved Pre-Collision System, new Proactive Driver Assist and Extended Safety Package. The RX also features the latest multimedia platform with Hey Lexus Smart Voice Assistant and the Lexus Link app.
2023 Lexus RX Images:
A PIONEERING STORY
On its launch in 1998, the RX 300 became the world’s first luxury SUV, creating a whole new car segment, with styling, acceleration, handling and quietness worthy of a luxury car. In 2005, the RX 400h heralded the world’s first luxury hybrid car, with a revolutionary powertrain that combined a V6 petrol engine with a potent electric motor, a technological breakthrough that served as a launchpad for the entire Lexus hybrid line-up. Praised by customers for its comfort, refinement and quality, in 2016 the RX was the first Lexus model to receive Lexus Safety System+ technology. In 2019, RX showcased the world’s first BladeScanTM Adaptive High-beam System, a technology which uses a rotating blade-shaped mirror for enhanced illumination from LED headlights.
‘NEXT CHAPTER’ LEXUS DESIGN
“First we created a dynamic exterior design to express a captivating, engaging presence, and a solidly planted stance to evoke driving performance. We then refined the proportions to express the elevated driving experience and added new drivetrain technologies like DIRECT4,” explains RX Chief Engineer Takaaki Ohno.
Moving towards electrification, the designers undertook the challenge of incorporating the new ‘spindle body’ design identity into the new RX. This resulted in improved grille integration that expresses a sense of electrified power and a low centre of gravity. More compact and sharper headlights, air intakes and a wider track (15 mm) further consolidate the stable, confident look.
To achieve a bolder stance, Lexus designers developed a sleeker front-to-rear posture, by extending the bonnet, lengthening the wheelbase by 60 mm and lowering the roofline by 10 mm. Lending the car a coupé-like feel, the signature black rear pillar (Lexus’ so called ‘floating roof’) is now more three-dimensional in appearance, while extra RX dynamism comes from the sweeping character line and large 21″ wheels.
Triple LED headlights are sleeker, sharper and more horizontal. The design, accentuated by the L-shaped Daytime Running Lights, creates a powerful look. To the rear, the single-line Lexus signature taillights underline the car’s iconic RX shape, while the wider track (50 mm) emboldens the stance and road presence. The introduction of the new “LEXUS” badge on the tailgate creates a clean and contemporary look.
Accentuating RX’s sporty credentials, the F SPORT features enhancements in the execution of the front grille, skirts and the aerodynamic front and rear bumpers. The grade will only be offered as RX 500h performance hybrid or RX 350 in Eastern Europe.
UPGRADE IN LUXURY
To make the cabin more driver-centred, Lexus developed the Tazuna cockpit concept. Introduced first on the new NX and RZ, it is now adopted for the new RX. Taking its name from the Japanese word for ‘reins of a horse’, Tazuna focuses on direct yet intuitive control. In the cockpit, information sources like 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.
“A powerful blend of Tazuna cockpit design and luxury SUV spaciousness, with materials like high-quality leathers and Takumi-crafted suede embossed with the Lexus ‘L’, is exactly the kind of bespoke look we aimed for when designing this new interior,” explains RX Interior Designer Jota Kusakari.
The designers sought to create a minimalist, yet intuitive and thoughtful interior space using the highest quality materials. The front seats have been redesigned to offer top-class accessibility, excellent support and heating/ventilation. To provide proper ergonomic support around the waist, a concave shape was created in the seat sides.
A significant highlight of the new RX is the availability of an animal-free leather interior, created in response to growing demand from vegan and other eco-conscious consumers. This means that on Comfort Grade not only seats, but also the steering wheel and shift-knob, are covered with synthetic leather. Here customers can choose between Black and Ammonite Sand.
An expression of the Lexus ‘Omotenashi’ hospitality, the ‘Lexus Mood Selector’ feature allows occupants to tailor the RX’s ambient lighting from a palette of 64 colours and 14 bespoke themes.
The new Lexus RX offers both ample luggage space and five luxury seats with excellent legroom. Thanks to the increased couple distance (1010 mm, +10 mm vs. previous model), newly designed seats and more intelligent packaging, Lexus were able to make the RX feel roomier inside. By lowering the loading height by 30 mm it is easier to use. Thanks to intelligent tailgate design, the luggage compartment is now 50 mm longer. This extra length helps accommodate bulkier objects, whilst the 40:20:40 split rear seats can accommodate for items like skis or surfboards.
The new e-latch system electronically controls the door operation, making them smoother and more convenient to use.
LEXUS DRIVING SIGNATURE: COMFORT, CONTROL, CONFIDENCE
All RX models will deliver the ‘Lexus Driving Signature’ in their own way, thanks to the outstanding credentials of the platform and the powertrains, but with a common thread: superior comfort combined with a new level of responsiveness, linear and direct response, keeping the driver in control at any time and resulting in an immediate feeling of confidence.
The new Lexus RX is built on the GA-K platform, similar to that of the NX, but with a different set up. For instance, the rear has been completely redesigned to extend the wheelbase but also implement additional cross members and suspension braces that increase rigidity. This increased rigidity has allowed Lexus engineers to tune the suspension more accurately, improving not only performance but also comfort.
This new RX platform has allowed a 90 kg drop in the car’s weight and a reduction in the overall height of 10 mm, resulting in a 15 mm lower centre of gravity. The wheelbase is extended by 60 mm while keeping the overall length and reducing the yaw. At 15 mm in front and 50 mm to the rear, the track is also wider, and, combined with the 21″ wheels, gives the RX a more confident stance and grip.
To save weight, Lexus used advanced materials like 2GPa high-tensile steel material for the centre pillars and aluminium for the wings and bonnet. The new structure also includes 1180 MPa steel for the rocker reinforcement and 1470 MPa steel for roof rigidity.
Enabling a substantial hike in performance, the new multi-link rear suspension delivers better lateral stability and anti-squat characteristics. Capable of handling higher levels of torque, it also substantially reduces noise, vibration and harshness.
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. To inspire the senses, they also perfected the luxury car door sound.
EXPANDED ELECTRIFIED LINE-UP
Leveraging the ‘Lexus Electrified’ strategy that takes a multi-tech approach, and drawing on more than 15 years of experience in electrified technology, the all-new RX continues to push boundaries: highly refined Lexus self-charging hybrid performance or superior Lexus plug-in hybrid power and efficiency.
RX 500h: A GAME-CHANGING PERFORMANCE HYBRID WITH DIRECT4
The game-changing new Lexus RX 500h performance hybrid is the first-ever Lexus turbo-charged hybrid and was developed for customers thirsty for high-end electrified performance.
With power delivered by a completely new hybrid architecture consisting of a 2.4-litre turbo engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, it delivers 371 DIN hp for exhilarating acceleration and superb dynamic handling thanks to DIRECT4. The front electric motor is positioned between the combustion engine and the transmission, with a clutch on both sides, enabling great flexibility in power delivery.
The rear is equipped with an 80kW e-Axle: a compact, modular package consisting of a motor, gearing and an ECU located between the rear wheels. Its compact dimensions help secure more space in the cabin and boot.
Power delivery is controlled by DIRECT4, an exclusive new Lexus drive force technology launched recently on the RZ 450e. This intelligent system constantly balances the power and torque between the front and rear axles in any driving situation, by automatically and seamlessly shifting the drive force between the 2 axles more precisely than any mechanical system could ever do.
Enabling more feel between the road and steering wheel, DIRECT4 delivers improved handling stability and excellent driving dynamics at high speed. Importantly for the RX 500h, it also enhances the ride comfort with the instant torque that helps control body movements.
Because this is a high-performance hybrid, Lexus fitted opposed callipers to the front brakes to realise a powerful braking and Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS) that determines the optimum steering angle for the rear wheels.
RX 450h+: THE FIRST PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC RX
Lexus used more than 15 years of electrification expertise to produce the RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that is viewed as the logical step-up for many of its current generation RX 450h customers.
Expected to be the best-selling RX model in Western and Central Europe, the RX 450h+ features a four-cylinder 2.5-litre hybrid engine and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 18.1 kWh. An additional rear electric motor enables full-time all-wheel drive. The plug-in system produces 306 DIN hp and is expected to deliver 0-100 km/h acceleration in around 7 seconds. Overall, it offers roughly the same output as the outgoing RX 450h, but with more torque and faster acceleration. With more of the power coming from the electric motors, driving feels effortless yet refined. It will also boast significantly lower fuel consumption and emissions. Estimated target CO2 emissions (WLTP combined cycle) of less than 26 g/km and fuel economy of less than 1.2 l/100 km are set to be very competitive.
The lithium battery’s size/capacity and Lexus’ electrification know-how combine to deliver a competitive EV driving range of around 65 km (target, pending homologation) and enable all-electric driving up to 135 km/h. Crucially, the Lexus plug-in hybrid maintains high efficiency when the battery is depleted, as the RX 450h+ switches to its advanced 4th generation self-charging hybrid system.
RX 350h: EFFICIENT 4th GENERATION SELF-CHARGING HYBRID
The smoothness and efficiency of the RX self-charging hybrid model have been improved with the introduction of the brand’s 4th generation Lexus self-charging hybrid technology on the new RX 350h. This 2.5-litre petrol drivetrain provides 245 DIN hp and 0-100 km/h acceleration in 8.0 seconds, which is comparable with the current RX 450h, while at the same time producing lower emissions. The RX 350h will be a strong alternative to low displacement diesel competitors and ideal for customers putting priority on comfort and efficiency.
RX 350: MORE POWERFUL 2.4-LITRE PETROL TURBO
Offered exclusively in Eastern Europe, the new Lexus RX 350 is powered by a 2.4-litre turbocharged unit that develops 279 DIN hp (or 249 DIN hp in certain markets) and 430 Nm of torque, which is substantially higher than previously. Its strength is matched by the rapid response of a Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission with shorter ratios.
A brand-new, electronically controlled, permanent all-wheel drive system ensures power is effectively transmitted in low-grip conditions like gravel tracks. Torque allocation between the front and rear axles can be adjusted from 75:25 to 50:50 according to the driving conditions.
INNOVATIVE LEXUS MULTIMEDIA AND CONNECTIVITY
The new Lexus 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. Using smartphone, navigation, vehicle commands, multimedia functions and cloud connectivity, there are about one hundred ways for the driver to interact with the new RX.
The RX features a 14″ touchscreen as standard, one of the largest in its class. The anti-glare screen has additional buttons for intuitive access to the most frequently used functions. Graphics are presented in HD for excellent visibility in all lighting conditions, while the CPU is 3.6 times faster than the current system.
Alongside the standard embedded navigation system, the new RX also provides cloud services as standard (in markets where the service is available). The car’s DCM (data communication module) provides always-on connectivity, providing live information on traffic events, accidents and road conditions.
The new multimedia system includes the smart voice assistant ‘Hey Lexus’ that responds to questions and commands given in a more natural style of language. Easy smartphone integration is provided as standard – wireless for Apple CarPlay and with a wired connection for Android Auto. A wireless charging tray is available, with 50% quicker charging performance.
In addition to established Lexus Link remote functions such as driving analytics, hybrid coaching, fuel level monitoring and “find my car” function, new functions are available for the RX 450h+: monitoring the level of battery charge, scheduling charging and a charging timer. The app also allows locking and unlocking the vehicle, opening the tailgate, operating the climate control, or even flashing the car’s hazard lights can also be illuminated to identify the car in a car park.
High grade versions of the RX come standard with a new 21-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound audio. Developed by Lexus’ exclusive audio partners, the system is optimised for the car’s interior architecture.
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 provides a live 360° view around and pre-recorded view under the car from cameras that can now be cleaned automatically. It also creates a virtual 3D image of the RX, showing the vehicle as if seen from above.
The new RX is available with an Advanced Park system, developed from that on the Lexus LS flagship sedan. It helps park using automated control of the steering shift operation and braking. The system uses the car’s array of four cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors to gain an all-round picture of the car’s surroundings. It will also recognise up to three regularly used parking spots.
SAFETY AND DRIVER ASSISTANCE
The new Lexus RX benefits from next-level active safety and driver assistance systems featured in the latest, third 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. Its detection response is quicker and the ability to avoid an impact is increased by Emergency Steering Assist.
Enhancements have also 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.
Also introduced now on 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 – the system assist uses Active Steering Assist in addition to activating an alert and applying the brakes.
Proactive Driving Assist helps maintain a safe distance to cars in front – even when cruise control is not engaged – and it helps the driver to avoid pedestrians and obstacles.
Driver Monitor uses a camera mounted above the steering wheel to constantly check the condition of the driver. It is even able to slow or stop the car if driver doesn’t react to alerts.
The RX’s e-latch electronic entry and exit system is linked to the car’s Blind Spot Monitor in the exclusive Safe Exit Assist function, which prevents the driver from opening the door if any traffic like cars or cyclists is approaching from the rear. Lexus estimates this system can help prevent more than 95% of the accidents caused by door opening.