360 MAGAZINE had an intimate driving commitment at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara with one of the top-selling vehicles in the Lexus fleet. Although 2023 Lexus RX pricing was not announced, exterior colors, trim and powertrains were readily available for testing. After five generations, performance, style and innovation have intermingled in the luxury of the new age with this hot stepper. All in all, we strongly believe the RX F SPORT is the heavyweight candidate for this reboot.
The silhouette of the RX has been redesigned with stylish and sporty lines. To many, at first glance, it is a lean and agile approach. Ready to pounce. Suitable with a grill brooch coupled with jewel headlamps and taillights. The cabin is also marked by embossed patterns on the door panels and headrests of top-of-the-range models. Race-inspired red bucket seats with bespoke like black side panels. Ambient lighting is also available in different models in a variety of color combinations.
14-inch infotainment screen effortlessly placed on the dashboard for easy use of the driver’s control. This season, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are wireless, making it more intuitive and fluid. Wireless charging stations are larger for the next generation of phablets, in particular the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Z Fold4 flagships. Not forgetting, the inside has USB-C ports sprinkled throughout. Sure, you can head nod to Drake‘s Sticky with its optional Mark Levinson signature speaker set.
Larger calipers signify better braking. Rear wheel steering is a must-have, especially for parallel parking, snaking roads and u-turns. The ability to displace torque in different ratios also allows the riders to push outside of its previous capabilities. 21″ wheels in tandem with low profile Michelin tire add much needed traction for various terrains. Offered power plants are as follows: RX350 has a 2.5L 4-cylinder turbocharged pushing 275 HP; RX350h possess a 2.4L 4-cylinder with AWD as well as CVT produces 246 HP and RX500h F SPORT matches electric alongside of 2.4L turbocharged to produce 367 HP. Adaptive cruise controls, lane departure paired with civilian detection – excellent for the increase of low-stanched fat tire e-bikes in cities. Just because they have pedals, doesn’t mean they can’t excel beyond 50+ mph.
In short, the Lexus RX cocoon has become a magnificent butterfly with the RX500 F SPORT variant. It literally floats, moves easily within tight spaces, and is sure to cause a stir with transcultural youth. Lastly, a two-row, five-seater SUV with muscles and brains that can survive a hectic Gen Z household.
Listen to Vice President of Marketing for Lexus Vinay Shahani’s full conversation with Vaughn Lowery on the 360 MAG PodcastHERE.
Lexus pioneered the luxury crossover segment with the launch of the first RX more than 20 years ago and never looked back. Lexus redefined what the RX means to guests with the global reveal of the all-new RX at the Lexus New Product Showcase. As the first luxury brand to offer a hybrid in the segment, it’s only fitting that RX returns with a variety of electrified powertrains. The 2023 Lexus RX, the fifth generation for the Lexus core model, is completely redesigned from the wheels to the roof rails, featuring a new global platform, two all-new grades, available Digital Key, Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, and Lexus Interface Multimedia System.
While pursuing a unique identity for 2023, the redesigned model maintains what makes an RX an RX: a comfortable, quiet in-cabin atmosphere, refined ride comfort, excellent grip and drive force control, and confident driving enjoyment.
“Nothing exemplifies our commitment to the transformation we’re making as a brand and Next Chapter for Lexus product more than the renewal of our best-selling vehicle – the RX,” said Andrew Gilleland, group vice president, and general manager, Lexus Division. “We’re breathing new life into the segment-leading RX with enhanced safety and technology, human-centered design, and undeniable performance from a diverse mix of powertrains.”
The 2023 RX builds on the foundation of the iconic Lexus spindle design and evolves into a new, cohesive spindle body design. This sleek, dynamic design is symbolized by a sense of solid mass. Central to the new spindle body design is the carefully sculpted seamless grille and integrated headlamps that strengthen and evolve the signature design. The refined, low center of gravity is realized through a mature, grounded stance accented by 19-inch wheels with a dark gray machined finish and color-keyed overfenders. For those who want a more powerful look, 21-inch wheels are available in luxury color variations. From the side, the three-dimensional surface strongly flares from the rear door toward the tire to evoke powerful traction produced by the rear motor. From the back, the RX inherits the signature L-shaped light bar lamp with lenses that wrap around the sides of the body to emphasize a wider, more powerful silhouette.
The 2023 RX will be offered in six grades: Standard, Premium, RX-first Premium+, Luxury, F SPORT Handling, and RX-first F SPORT Performance.
The 2023 RX will be offered in 10 exterior color options depending on grade: Ultra White, Eminent White Pearl, Nebula Gray Pearl, Iridium, Caviar, Matador Red Mica, Copper Crest, Nori Green Pearl, Nightfall Mica, and Grecian Water.
Inside, the RX follows an intentional, human-centered design with control surfaces tuned to enable a deeper and more intuitive connection to instill confidence and control in the driver – a key element in the Lexus Driving Signature philosophy. Opening the door with just a touch of the e-Latch system, the RX welcomes the driver with available multi-colored illumination accents, tasteful door trim options, and an available panorama glass roof that evokes a relaxing, open space. Driver controls like the steering wheel switches, available head-up display (HUD), available navigation, and audio have been designed in a functional, concise layout to minimize driver distraction. Lexus Interface and trials come standard on the RX and a 14-inch Multimedia Touchscreen Display is available.
The 2023 RX will be offered in six interior color options with four ornamentation styles depending on grade. Interior colors: Macadamia, Black, Birch, Palomino, Peppercorn and Rioja Red. Ornamentation styles: Black Cascade, Ash Bamboo, Black Open Pore, and Dark Graphite Aluminum.
RX’s new GA-K platform offers a low center of gravity and optimal weight distribution. To be exact, the all-new RX is up to 198 pounds lighter than the outgoing generation, as a result of material optimization in the main framework components of the chassis and the new global platform. Furthermore, by reducing weight and increasing rigidity, the key Lexus Driving Signature touches, ride comfort and quietness, become more refined. The new RX rides on a 2.36-inch longer wheelbase with a 2.36-inch shorter rear overhang, keeping the overall length of the vehicle the same as the previous generation. The rear section of the platform features an all-new multi-link suspension design, attached to a rigid high-torsion rear body frame that facilitates more consistent suspension input/travel during acceleration, deceleration, and steering moments.
The GA-K platform also increases the front/rear couple distance, resulting in more legroom for rear passengers. RX guests will also enjoy increased cargo space and a lowered back door trim to decrease loading height.
The all-new RX will be offered in four new powertrain options to help meet the needs of varying guests, including a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) model. Supporting the larger Lexus Electrified vision, RX continues the brand’s continued progress toward supporting the evolution, education, and understanding that electrified vehicles can provide exhilarating performance. One mission RX will fulfill is its role as a global core model that helps contribute to the realization of a carbon-neutral society while staying close to the increasingly diversified needs and lifestyles of guests.
The RX 350 (FWD/AWD) offers a responsive 2.4L turbocharged inline-4 engine for torque-filled, dynamic driving performance.
The RX 350h (AWD) fourth-generation large-capacity fuel-efficient hybrid system features a front unit that integrates a high-torque 2.5L inline-4 engine.
The RX 450h+ plug-in hybrid vehicle details for the U.S. market will be shared at a later time.
Building on more than 20 years of hybrid electric technology and experience, the RX 500h F SPORT Performance introduces a new hybrid-electric system for the Lexus brand with a front unit that integrates a high-torque 2.4-liter turbo engine, six-speed automatic transmission, inverter, and an electric motor, with an eAxle rear unit that integrates a high output electric motor, inverter, and reduction gearbox. This configuration allows the electric motor to provide low-end torque that helps to provide improved performance and quick acceleration. The turbocharged engine produces high torque throughout its entire rev range, delivering powerful acceleration at higher speeds.
The Lexus RX 500h F SPORT Performance utilizes the DIRECT4 drivetrain, our advanced methodology for controlling our highest technology all-wheel-drive systems. DIRECT4 AWD supplies optimal power to the eAxles to provide maximum grip, traction, and acceleration in all situations.
A first for the RX lineup, the RX 500h F SPORT Performance grade goes beyond the current generation F SPORT design package for a sportier, more performance-driven look and feel. The RX 500h features opposed six-piston brake calipers, mesh grille, front bumper, and 21-inch aluminum wheels that exude a wide, confident stance and contribute to aerodynamic performance.
The interior includes a host of F SPORT accents like a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, suede-trimmed interior door trim, F SPORT scuff plate, leather-trimmed interior, aluminum pedals, and more.
One of the hallmarks of RX’s success is its dependable safety features. By 2023, the all-new Lexus RX includes Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, which provides additional features offered with the available driver monitor system, including Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection, Intersection Support, and a new feature of Motorcycle Detection; All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with new Curve Speed Management (DRCC); Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA); and Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS). Available Advanced Park expands support for parallel parking. In addition to conventional back-up parking, forward-facing parking is now supported, enabling forward-facing/back-up exit.
The 2023 RX is expected to go on sale at the end of 2022.
Vice President – Head of Marketing at Lexus, Toyota Motor North America
*Listen to Vinay Shahani’s full conversation with Vaughn Lowery on the 360 MAG Podcast HERE.
As a crowded child growing up in and around Detroit, Vinay Shahani was exposed to the motor industry at a very young age. He started working at the Ford Motor Company when his father (of Sindhi descent) emigrated from India to the United States in the 1960s. Vinay became a car lover under the influence of his father: “He was in the car business, and I was also in the car business because I was his son, and I loved that.” Once he moved to Michigan, Vinay earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford University. Currently, Vinay lives in the Dallas area.
Vinay is Vice President of Marketing for Lexus, a Japanese high-end car brand created by Toyota Inc., a position he has held since January 2021. He is responsible for Lexus’ marketing activities, including advertising campaigns, media and digital, product marketing and lifecycle management, auto shows, incentive and experiential marketing, and motorsports. He creates a “speak up” environment to make the opinions of all members of his team visible (agency partners and internal staff). Identifying social and commercial values helps expand the brand to various groups of consumers who may not align with the preferences of the Asian population, such as Walton Isaacson (black, Hispanic, and LGBTIQ community) and the IW group.
In addition, he oversees motorsports, engagement marketing, car shows, and other consumer events throughout the United States. Vasser Sullivan is a race team, with worldwide competitors such as Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi, that Lexus empowers with some of the best drivers – “We definitely want to win, and we have a winning team.” Meanwhile, Lexus also helps improve consumers’ skills in car track by providing the opportunity to study professionally at Performance Driving School.
Since the brand is determined to treat consumers as valued guests, one of Vinay’s top initiatives iis Lexus Hospitality, as it is inspired by the Japanese spirit of hospitality and is committed to providing excellence in customer service.
Another dimension within the marketing field is monitoring and analyzing the results after experimenting with the Lexus IS 500 model and the Lexus RC F Track Edition.
Under the massive influence of the metaverse today, Vinay mentions that Lexus is creating its own Mark Netscape plus Upstream to figure out what the role of Lexus is as a brand in the metaverse. In addition, they are in talks with global partners like Lexus International to find out what is being sought out in Japan while identifying markets in the US, Canada, and Great Britain. Based on the diverse target audience of Lexus in the United States, Vinay seeks to use digital media and the National Brand Day to show brand culture and emotion, even
creating a TikTok account to get closer to younger audiences.
As a high environment-friendly brand, by 2035, Vinay plans for Lexus to be a ‘global 100% battery electric’ vehicle brand to reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions. With these measures, it’s great to see the carbon footprint will be reduced thanks to the company’s shift.
Finally, Vinay adds that “it is important that we know who we are as a brand from a strategic perspective.” With this, they are trying to add attractive and technological accessories to their vehicles that give the driver great confidence in the handling and control of their car. “Maintaining a love for performance cars gets your heart rate up, it excites you, and that’s something we definitely want to associate with different brands.”