New Lexus RX takes on Mercedes’ GLE in New York

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.