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Future models - Lexus - RX

Lexus RX here in November

Power of three: Three powertrains will be offered in the new-generation Lexus RX, which will hit Australian shores in November.

Fourth-generation Lexus RX to roll into showrooms later this year

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Lexus logo9 Sep 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

LEXUS has announced a November showroom debut in Australia for its all-new RX SUV, which will be offered with a choice of three powertrains, including the company's first turbo-petrol engine.

The Japanese luxury car-maker has confirmed the current entry level RX270 that uses a 2.7-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol unit will be dropped in favour of the RX200t that uses Lexus' new 2.0-litre turbocharged unit producing 175kW/350Nm.

This is the same output the turbo unit puts out under the bonnet of the smaller NX crossover that launched earlier this year and debuted the engine for the brand.

In RX guise, the 200t will drive the front wheels, is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and will only be offered in the base Luxury specification grade.

The adoption of the turbo unit in the RX follows the IS and GS sedans, and the RC coupe that will each offer a variant with the blown engine in the coming months.

Next in the line-up is the RX350 which uses an upgraded and more powerful version of the 3.5-litre direct-injection V6 found in the outgoing model, but it now produces 221kW/370Nm, up from 204kW/346Nm.

The RX350 is all-wheel drive, comes with an eight-speed auto transmission, and will continue to be offered in Australia in Luxury, F Sport and Sports Luxury grades.

Those same three grades will also be available in the RX450h petrol-electric hybrid version that is all-wheel drive, uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and pumps out a combined power output of 230kW, up 10kW over its predecessor.

As reported following its reveal at the New York motor show in April this year, the RX carries a completely new exterior design, based on the L-finesse design language already seen across the Lexus range, but most notably on the NX.

It features a blacked-out C-pillar for a floating effect, a flowing roofline that gives it a more dynamic, almost coupe-like profile, and character lines and sharp indents that give it an up-to-the-minute look.

L-shaped headlights (LED on F Sport and Sports Luxury) and tail-lights, newly designed 20-inch alloy wheels and the massive 'spindle' grille cap off the new look.

Inside, Lexus has lifted its game with the fourth-generation RX, with laser-cut ornamentation developed by Yamaha helping provide “an additional feeling of sophistication”, according to the Toyota-owned brand. A head-up display is optional, as is a 12.3-inch high-definition display and a panoramic roof.

Changes over the outgoing model include more leg and knee room and newly developed seats that can be optioned with heating and power reclining functions. The gear lever has been repositioned from high up on the instrument panel to lower down in a more traditional spot.

Lexus has strengthened the chassis for greater stability and control, while the stronger body structure helps minimise engine and road noise.

The suspension set-up is MacPherson struts up front and double wishbone at the rear, while the optional Adaptive Variable Suspension automatically adjusts the shock absorbers for a smoother ride and less body roll.

In terms of active safety, the RX will feature the Lexus Safety System+ which incorporates the Pre-Collision System, a lane-departure warning, auto high beam, active cruise control and a lane-keeping aid.

More generously equipped variants gain an adaptive high beam system, a panoramic view monitor, blind-spot monitor, and a rear cross-traffic alert.

As per other models in the Lexus range, the F Sport variant adds unique styling flourishes such as a different mesh design for the grille and the centre of the rear bumper, new F Sport alloy wheels, exclusive colours and trims, paddle shifters, F Sport instrument cluster and a sports steering wheel.

While pricing is yet to be confirmed, it is likely to be similar to the current model which starts from $64,110 plus on-road costs for the RX270 2WD and tops out at $97,000 for the RX450h AWD Sports Luxury.

Its chief rivals in Australia are the BMW X5, Audi's new Q7, the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class that will change its name to GLE as part of a major facelift later this month, the Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery and the Infiniti QX70.

The BMW leads the premium large-SUV segment comfortably, with 2925 sales of the X5 to the end of August this year, with the Discovery (1891), Range Rover Sport (1822) and Touareg (1801) about 1000 units behind it.

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley highlighted the success of the RX since its launch Down Under more than 10 years ago.

“The RX has been a significant vehicle for Lexus globally but also here in Australia since we introduced it to the local market in 2003,” he said.

“This new, fourth-generation RX takes the mid-size luxury SUV to new levels with dynamic and aggressive styling, a range of new technologies and a new luxury interior.”

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