2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT Performance – Powerful and Luxurious SUV. The luxury brand steps up its hybrid game with a completely new system paired to a new a high-torque 2.4L turbo engine – all good for improved performance and quicker acceleration than the outgoing RX 450h.
The big-selling Lexus RX is better known for refined luxury than outright performance. That’s set to change in the new, 2023 generation with the advent of the first RX 500h F Sport Performance version of the mid-size hybrid crossover. It goes on sale at the end of this year.
The RX 500h F Sport Performance introduces a new hybrid system to the Lexus brand. Up front, the powertrain mates a turbocharged, 2.4-litre inline-4 gas engine to a 6-speed automatic transmission (not a CVT), inverter and electric motor. Meanwhile an electric axle (e-axle) at the rear integrates a powerful electric motor, inverter and reduction gearbox.
Lexus says that this configuration enables the electric motors to provide low-end torque for improved performance and quick acceleration, while acceleration at higher speeds is delivered by the turbo motor, which produces high torque throughout its rev range.
2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT Performance
2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT Performance. Photo: Amee Reehal
Maximum combined power is raised to a heady 367 hp (a current RX 450h makes 308 hp) and peak torque is 406 lb-ft (up considerably from the 450h’s 247 lb-ft). That should be good enough to accelerate
The RX 500h will also be the only RX to feature the new Direct4 AWD drivetrain (other powertrains are available with a different AWD setup). First revealed in late-2020, Direct4 reaches production on the new RX and will also feature on the upcoming Lexus RZ 450e EV.
Direct4 – short for Direct4 Wheel Drive Force Control – offers additional flexibility in how it distributes power to the front and rear axles. That could mean majoring on efficiency by making the RX FWD-only when traction at the rear is not required or intervening to send up to 80% of the torque to the rear end, for improved traction or more engaging driving dynamics. The use of a direct driveshaft connection between motor and wheel improves system response, Lexus says. At the same time, it claims that the brand’s signature comfort and refinement remain intact.
The RX 500h F Sport Performance models also get performance-focused six-piston brake calipers, a mesh grille, a different front bumper and 21in aluminum wheels. Inside, cosmetic changes include lots of leather and aluminum trim, a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, suede-trimmed interior door panels and F Sport scuff plates.
Comparison: 2022 RX 450h vs 2023 RX 500h F Sport Performance
2022 RX 450h 2023 RX 500h F Sport Performance
Engine 3.5-litre hybrid 2.4-litre turbo hybrid
Transmission CVT 6-speed automatic
Drivetrain AWD Direct4 AWD
Output 308-hp 367-hp
Torque 247 lb-ft 406 lb-ft
Est. Consumption 7.9L/100km (30mpg) 9.0 L/100 km (26mpg)
Exterior Front & Side 00:23
Interior Design 01:12
Exterior (Rear) 02:07
Fetures & Specs 03:06
Driving Scenes 05:03
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