Big news coming out of Japan. Lexus is making important changes to what’s maybe the most popular luxury crossover of all time. The all-new 2023 Lexus RX will use a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine in both normal and hybrid configurations.
We’ve known about the new RX for a few months now. Its design has already been fully leaked as an Easter Egg in the December press conference where they unveiled their all-electric models. And frankly, the headlights look just like the RZ 450e (see gallery), which just has a sloped roof.
The new Lexus RX should be revealed in October 2022, either in Tokyo or perhaps online, followed by a showing at the Los Angeles Auto Show the following month.
Lexus is implementing a more upright version of their now-famous grille design. And we already know about “Lexus” lettering on the trunk, somewhere around their new light bar. But the profile is quite similar to the old model. So, is this an evolution of the old model? Not even close.
Major powertrain changes from Lexus
The Japanese website Car Sensor has reported major changes for the upcoming new mid-sized luxury vehicle. The 2.4-liter will now become the core of the model range. We’re shocked since Toyota has always resisted downsizing, but the new Tundra certainly leads the way.
The RX 350 should have the same output as the 2022 NX 350, 275 horsepower. We expect it to be much faster than the old 3.5-liter V6 models, partly because an 8-speed automatic will also take the place of the CVT. Unlike with the smaller NX, the RX 350 will be available as both FWD and AWD to make base models cheap.
Our source also talks about the RX 350h having a more common Toyota powertrain, comprising of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and two electric motors, giving it a combined 239 hp… or so. And then things really get extreme with the RX 450h+. It’s a plug-in hybrid version of the RX 350h and it makes more power, plus the 18.1 kWh battery offers an all-electric range of about 50 miles (80 km). In the real world, that’s obviously going to be less, but it’s still a pretty high number.
The star of the show is, however, the brand new RX 500h. This nameplate was trademarked in 2020, and we finally have an idea of what it has to offer. Folks, this RX is closer to what German automakers have. There’s a small electric motor sandwiched between the 2.4L turbo and the 8-speed gearbox.
Now, the Japanese are calling it a 1-motor hybrid, but they’re actually referring to the setup in the context of the Prius and such. There’s actually a second motor over the rear axle to give this AWD, the so-called DIRECT4.
Lexus engineers want to give this a direct, instant driving feel. It should be totally different from the comfortable yet slow RX models of old. Total power output could be somewhere around 460 hp and 450 pound-feet of torque to give this big crossover a 0 to 60mph time of between 5 and 6 seconds.
The RX has been the top-selling Lexus model for many years. And dealers often say they could sell a more expensive, higher performance model than the F Sport.