Lexus’ run of bold designs continues with the reveal of the all-new fourth-generation RX at the New York Motor Show. Larger, more luxurious and more efficient than its predecessor, it take on the BMW X5 and new Mercedes GLE, but sports a far more radical design than either.
Picking up the origami-surfacing theme introduced by the smaller NX, the RX’s design isn’t for the faint-hearted. The front end is dominated by a huge chrome-fringed spindle grille and L-shaped LED headlights, while arrow-like foglights point towards the Lexus logo.
The profile is a feast of slashes and geometric shapes, all leading to a blacked-out C-pillar to give the illusion of a floating roof. New 20-inch aluminium wheels fill the squared off arches, while at the rear wider LED taillights wrap around the corners of the car, giving a sense of width.
Lexus claims the focus for the new RX was on comfort and luxury, and that’s evident in the opulent interior. A 12.3-inch central screen and a large head-up display dominate the driver’s eyeline, and expensive finishes like laser-cut wood are available on the options list.
To make things more comfortable for rear passengers, reclining and heated seats can be ordered along with a full-length panoramic sunroof. The wheelbase is stretched by 50mm compared to its predecessor, too, freeing up more legroom. In fact, the new RX is 120mm longer overall, 10mm wider and 5mm lower than the outgoing car, which should boost the current 446-litre boot space – 204 litres less than the BMW X5.
Two engine options will be available globally – a 3.5-litre V6 with around 300bhp and a hybrid combining a 3.5-litre V6 with an electric motor for around 300bhp, too. Like the current model, expect only the hybrid to be offered in the UK, albeit with improvements over the current economy and emissions figures of 44.8mpg and 145g/km. There are no immediate plans to copy the BMW X5 xDrive40e or Mercedes GLE 500e with a plug-in hybrid RX.
A stronger body structure and chassis improves both handling and refinement, says Lexus, while four-wheel drive is fitted as standard. Lexus also claims the front MacPherson struts and rear double wishbone suspension design has been retuned to improve handling, without eroding the RX’s supple ride.
Go for the F Sport model and Lexus’ automatic adaptive suspension system, known as AVS (Adaptive Variable Suspension) is fitted as standard. Buyers of the top-spec model also get an extra Sport S+ mode in the Drive Mode Select system, joining the normal Eco, Normal and S settings. For all models Lexus’ Safety System+ package has also been enhanced and include lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beam headlights are all now standard.
Full UK specs will be revealed closer to the RX’s on-sale date in late 2015, but expect prices to increase by a few thousand pounds from the current £44,495 starting price.
Now read about all the cars featured at this year’s New York Motor Show.