New Lexus RX takes on Mercedes’ GLE in New York. The Japanese provoke the Germans on the floor of the same motor show which hosts the world-premiere of their rejuvenated SUV.
The fourth-generation RX is marginally longer, wider and taller than the car it replaces. The wheelbase has also been extended by 50mm, in Lexus’ quest for more interior space.
The growth is carefully camouflaged with the help of sci-fi styling cues, taken straight from the smaller NX, with the now obligatory large spindle grille, 20in alloy wheels, L-shaped lights and flared wheel arches making a strong impression.
The interior also marks a clear rupture with the past. A large 12.3in infotainment screen complements a head-up display and the system’s brand-new rectangular control knob.
Two engine options are on offer. First is a retuned version of the current hybrid powertrain with total output estimated at 300bhp. Power comes from a 3.5-litre V6 Atkinson engine mated to an electric motor. Lexus also offers a 3.5-litre V6 petrol good for 300bhp and a brand-new eight-speed automatic gearbox. All-wheel drive is standard.
F-Sport versions feature distinctive mesh grille and front bumper, unique alloy wheel designs, instrument cluster and steering wheel-mounted paddles. The adaptive variable suspension and the active stabiliser system keep the car level through corners.
Lexus’s Safety System+ is standard, gathering under its generous umbrella pre-emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam lights, lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control. The options list includes adaptive lighting, blind-spot monitoring system and panoramic view camera system.