2013 Lexus RX350 / RX450h / RX350 F Sport – Official Photos and Info [cardvdseller's blog]

2013 Lexus RX350 / RX450h / RX350 F Sport

2013 Lexus RX350 / RX450h / RX350 F Sport
A midcycle refresh attempts to inject some character into the third-gen RX.

Three years into the RX’s third generation, Lexus has brought the entire lineup in for a refresh. The changes consist primarily of cosmetic updates and refinements to existing technologies; the new RX F Sport package (available in the U.S. only on the RX350) attempts to widen the appeal of the already popular SUV.
All in the Family

Lexus’s plan to develop a new visual brand identity for its entire product line continues with the revamped RX. As our first images indicated, the inverted-trapezoid upper and lower grilles have been integrated into a single element; the familial Lexus “spindles” aggressively pinch the horizontal bars within. Daytime running lights using LED technology sit beneath the new-for-’13 clear headlight clusters that can be outfitted with a choice of halogen, HID, or LED lamps. The rear lights get clear lenses, too. A new 19-inch wheel design joins the currently available 18- and 19-inch aluminum rollers, and four new colors—Platinum Silver, Garnet Red, Fire Agate, and Lapis Lazuli—take up residence on the list of exterior paints.

Inside, drivers are greeted by semi-aniline leather upholstery with diamond-shaped perforations and a new steering wheel with a varying circumference; wood-finish tillers are now available with heated rims. The multifunction remote-touch interface device (Lexus’s funny mouse thing) has been modified to increase user-friendliness.

Hybrid Moments

For 2013, RX450h models get a new “Sport” mode to complement the Normal, Eco, and EV drive modes found in the current RX hybrid. When engaged, Sport mode not only modifies the throttle and electric-power-steering settings for faster response, but also is said to provide less-intrusive operation of the car’s stability- and traction-control systems. That’s a welcome change; we often find ourselves filling otherwise-serene Lexus cabins with the sound of angry beeps when attempting any sort of enthusiastic maneuver. Sport mode also changes the instrument panel’s illumination from a peaceful hybrid blue hue to a fiery red, a touch we’re not entirely convinced isn’t an attempt at subliminal political commentary.

’Effin Sport

For the first time in RX history, Lexus will offer an F Sport model (not available—and not to be confused—with the Sport mode now found on the RX450h). The RX350 F Sport is intended for buyers who previously found the RX line too staid for their active lifestyle, whether real or imagined. Via the use of what it calls a lateral damping system, Lexus claims to have improved steering response, agility, and ride comfort while dramatically reducing vibration and twist. Basically, the system—a claimed Lexus first—eschews traditional fixed suspension bracing, instead using a specially tuned damper to connect the front suspension towers and another linking the rear-subframe rails. This setup is said to allow lateral suspension movement while absorbing torsion, body flex, and fine vibration. You can bet we’ll take a closer look at this technology when the F Sport hits our shores.

While the F Sport gets no powertrain changes versus the standard gas-powered model, the transmission is hooked to steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. They permit the selection of gears even when loafing along in Drive, without the need to first engage the transmission’s Sport mode with the shift lever. F Sport models feature a unique black and white/gray color scheme with perforated leather, silver-painted trim inserts, and a black headliner. The F Sport’s front bumper has a more vertical posture, and accommodates a chunkier lower “spindle” section and a pair of deep-set fog lamps. A full-width front spoiler, Sport badging, and bespoke 19-inch aluminum wheels let the world know you live the F Sport life.

It’s clear Lexus knows it has a good thing going with the RX, as it’s keeping the hot-selling crossover fresh but far from funky. We expect 2013 models to arrive here toward the end of this year.

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