The third generation RX 350 made its debut at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. First launched in 1998, the RX 350 comes completely redesigned and will continue to set new benchmarks in areas that have made it the best-selling luxury utility vehicle: innovation, styling, performance, utility and comfort. The luxury SUV is available in two versions: AWD and FWD, with prices starting at $39,025 and $37,625 respectively.
Under the hood, the 2010 RX350 offers an improved 275-hp, 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to an electrically controlled, sequential-shift six-speed transaxle. The all-wheel-drive version will feature an Active Torque Control AWD system that optimizes torque depending on driving conditions, resulting in improved efficiency and performance.
The luxury SUV features a strong stance and powerful new body design with the goal of enhancing comfort and maneuverability. The inverted-trapezoid design in the front and the horizontally integrated rear are incorporated together via a pronounced shoulder along the RX’s profile. Stylish molding around the side windows and at the base of the doors provides low-profile strength.
It sits on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and comes with a selection of luxury and sport option packages, which include features like Lexus’ exclusive Mark Levinson® Surround Sound system, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system, dynamic radar cruise control, and a Sports Package featuring a sport-tuned suspension.
Press release after the jump.
Lexus introduced the next generation V-6 powered RX 350, a benchmark in the luxury utility vehicle segment, for 2010. Lexus inaugurated the luxury crossover category with the original RX 300 model in 1998 and introduced the first-ever luxury hybrid in 2005. More than one million Lexus RX models have been sold worldwide, making it the most successful luxury utility vehicle. The all-new trendsetting RX350, which went on sale February 2009, once again raises the bar for design, engineering and luxury innovation in the segment.
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 teams a revised 3.5-liter V6 engine with an all-new six-speed Multi-Mode Automatic Transmission. New intake and exhaust manifolds improve engine breathing for enhanced performance and fuel economy. Horsepower is increased to 275 at 6,200 rpm from 270, while Lexus maximized the torque output to better meet the needs of luxury crossover drivers. Ninety percent or more of the 256 lb.-ft. of peak torque is available from 2,300 to 6,100 rpm, an optimal range where torque is most utilized. An insulated engine cover, styled in the shape of two cylinder banks, conceals the new V6 to help ensure a quiet cabin; easy-access points facilitate routine service.
3.5 liters V6 engine; 275 hp @ 6,200 RPM and 257 lb-ft @ 4,700 RPM
Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) is used to control both intake and exhaust camshafts independently, optimizing engine performance at all speeds and loads. Refinements to the valvetrain, including roller rocker arms and slimmer valve stems, reduce friction and weight to improve fuel economy. Also helping to enhance torque is the improved Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS), which varies the intake runner length in response to engine speed and throttle position. The ETCS-i (Electronic Throttle Control System-intelligent) softens throttle response during initial acceleration for smoother takeoff and to help reduce wheel spin.
The 2010 RX 350’s new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous five-speed. Using miniature high-flow linear solenoids to control transmission-fluid line-pressure, the transmission yields quicker shifting response. The torque converter uses a new low-speed lockup damper to enable lock-up from second to sixth gear to help improve the fuel economy.
When applying the accelerator pedal rapidly during kick-down, the new direct-downshift control allows the transmission to directly shift from sixth to third or fifth to second, skipping the intermediate gears to achieve the quickest response. Under normal kick-down pedal application, downshift control uses the intermediate gears to ensure the smoothest shift is attained. “Shift shock,” which was already commendably low in the previous model’s five-speed transmission, is further reduced.
The Multi-Mode Automatic Transmission allows the driver to shift manually when desired by first moving the gated shift lever to the “S” slot and then pushing it forward ("+") to up shift and backward ("-") to downshift. An Artificial Intelligence shifting (AI-SHIFT) control, new to RX, sets shift patterns based on the vehicle speed and throttle position and estimates road conditions and driver input to automatically control the shift pattern. For example, when driving in hilly areas, AI-SHIFT can prevent unnecessary shifting. When descending inclines, the transmission prevents up shifts to achieve more engine braking.
Lexus again offers its RX luxury utility models with a choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The RX 350 introduces an all-new electronically controlled Active Torque Control AWD system.
The previous RX 350 model’s AWD system used a viscous coupling locking center differential to provide 50:50 torque distribution. In the 2010 RX 350, Active Torque Control AWD uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 front to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions. The new AWD system is 35 lbs. lighter than the previous system and reduces parasitic losses by 30 percent. When accelerating, or starting off on a low-grip surface, torque is quickly provided to all four wheels. At steady speeds, torque is sent only to the front wheels, enhancing fuel efficiency.
To help provide handling agility and control, the AWD system increases rear-wheel torque when the vehicle’s front tires start to lose traction and decreases rear-wheel torque when the vehicle’s rear tires start to lose traction. On rough or sandy terrain, an AWD LOCK switch provides enhanced traction performance for low-speed maneuvering (if in LOCK mode, the system reverts to AUTO mode when speed exceeds 25 mph). To help prevent a tight corner-braking condition (shuddering) during low-speed cornering, the system reduces rear wheel torque.
The Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) handling technology is now available on the RX 350. The VDIM system anticipates loss of vehicle control in virtually any direction.
VDIM governs all of the vehicle’s dynamic handling systems – the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) – employing them collectively and seamlessly to make corrections while allowing higher dynamic capability. VDIM also interfaces with the electronic throttle control system.
The system’s enhanced VSC function adds steering assist torque to help aid handling on a split-friction surface. The VDIM system also provides a limited slip differential effect. The TRAC and VSC functions can also be turned off, for example, when the driver needs to free the vehicle when stuck in mud or snow.
The new RX adopts Hill-start Assist Control, which uses brake pressure to help prevent the vehicle from moving backward when starting out on an incline. This system does not wait to detect rollback, however. It can be controlled by the driver and works in both forward and reverse. While the vehicle is stopped and the brake pedal is depressed, pushing it further activates the feature. Brake pressure is then maintained for approximately two seconds after the brake pedal is released and the driver switches to the accelerator pedal.
The previous generation RX offered Lexus’ Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), which guided headlamps into a turn. The 2010 RX models introduce the new Intelligent AFS, which for the first time on a Lexus is being used for high beams of the HID headlamp equipped models. When entering a corner, AFS estimates where the vehicle will be in three seconds, based on the vehicle speed and the angle of the tires, and adjusts the lateral aim of the headlamps. AFS can be switched off by the driver if desired. AFS also includes an auto-leveling function.
Also available is a new automatic high beam system which uses a camera mounted on the inner rear view mirror to switch between high and low beams in response to oncoming vehicles and those traveling in front, or when other ambient sources are detected, helping reduce driver inconvenience.
The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set following distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. The radar sensor can detect certain obstacles in front of the car, and a PCS computer with vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw-rate inputs helps to determine whether a collision is highly possible. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes BA so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.
A high-strength cabin design and comprehensive Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS) are designed to help provide a high level of crash-energy management. Approximately 42 percent of the entire structure uses high tensile strength sheet steel. The new structure was engineered to help provide collision compatibility with vehicles of varying heights and weights.
The 2010 RX models are equipped with a segment-leading 10 standard airbags, including side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, rear side airbags (for the outboard seating positions) and knee airbags for the driver and the front passenger. A roll sensor signals the side curtain airbags to inflate if a predetermined threshold of vehicle tip-up is detected.
The front-passenger airbag is a new dual stage, twin-chamber design that, when deployed, helps provide optimal protection. New active front headrests help to reduce the severity of a whiplash injury in the event of certain types of lower speed rear collisions.
Lexus engineered the third-generation RX luxury utility vehicle to provide a more engaging driving experience while also making it quieter and smoother than its predecessor. The overall packaging of the new RX remains similar to that of the previous model. The new RX has a marginally longer wheelbase (+ 0.79 inch) and is 1.38 inches longer overall; the new model is slightly higher and 1.6 inches wider than the previous RX. To help provide greater handling control, the track is 2.8 inches wider. The engine’s output center has been lowered approximately 0.6-inch, yielding a lower overall powertrain center of gravity to help provide enhanced vehicle agility.
A key factor in the RX models’ sharpened handling agility is the all-new uniquely designed double-wishbone rear suspension, which replaces a strut-based configuration. Another key benefit of the new rear suspension is that the packaging yields greater cargo area room. Despite larger tires and a longer wheelbase, the new RX retains the 40. 0 ft. turning circle curb-to-curb of the previous model. The front suspension geometry was optimized for the new platform and features a new, thicker stabilizer bar. New inversely wound front coil springs compress in opposite directions, preventing the negative effects of suspension compression on steering.
The new standard electric power steering system contributes to improved agility and steering feel while eliminating the parasitic losses of a hydraulic steering pump. Eliminating hydraulic oil also provides an environmental benefit and reduces maintenance. When the driving conditions involve little steering input, energy consumption is reduced, improving fuel economy by nearly three percent. Steering assist is automatically adjusted in response to vehicle speed, with greater assist at low speeds and greater feel at higher speeds.
The brakes on RX models are enhanced for 2010 with a new two-piston front caliper and larger rotors front and rear. Brake feel is enhanced by optimizing pads, pedal ratio and booster output characteristics.
The RX models feature new wider standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, which were designed to appear as if carved from a single block, and 235/60R18 tires. Optional 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/55R19 tires are available.
The 2010 Lexus RX models blend a dynamic new version of L-finesse design while retaining the RX identity. The sleek profile is accentuated by broader “shoulders” for a more athletic yet elegant presence. Bright finish side-window moldings follow a subtly concaved line across the A pillars and C pillars, extending at the front and rear ends.
The Lexus design cue of placing the grille lower than the headlights, along with sharper headlight graphics, yields a strong frontal expression. The RX 350 offers standard halogen and optional HID headlights. The plated upper edges of the front grille extend toward the headlights to draw the front features together. The lower edges of the grille form a unique arrowhead design. Subtle surface movement can be seen in the sculpted vertical bars that change shape as they spread upward.
Pronounced front fenders flow into the doors, and integrated rear fender flares neatly sweep around to pull together the taut rear corners of the vehicle. The lower body emphasizes the standard 18-inch wheels. Passenger doors extend below the entry sill, helping keep out dirt and moisture.
The RX has a new standard SmartAccess keyless-entry system that uses a touch sensor-type smart switch on the front doors that results in a sleeker, high-tech appearance. A distinctive feature of the door handles is that the surface subtly twists outward from the front to the rear to give a comfortable grip. The side mirrors feature integrated LED turn signal lamps.
The rear spoiler’s primary function is to help lower the vehicle’s Coefficient of drag (Cd), but it also conceals the rear wiper and houses the AM/FM radio antenna and high-mount stop lamp. Nine exterior colors are offered, including the newly developed Cerulean Blue Metallic.
Based on Lexus L-finesse philosophy, the dramatically designed interior clearly separates the interior into two distinct zones – the “display zone” to provide information, and the “operation zone” for interaction with controls. The shoulder of the door trim comfortably envelops the occupants, the clear line of the trim beginning inside the cabin and tapering outward toward the exterior. The design imbues a feeling of a continuous line encircling the occupants and defining the controls and displays. Neatly sculpted metallic surfaces, especially on the asymmetrical center stack, showcase a bold contrast of shadow and light.
A new, higher contrast white Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) is used for the multi-information display located next to the speedometer. Vibrant white characters are sharply displayed on a high-contrast black background for ease of use and a luxurious appearance.
In addition to an Eco Driving indicator light, RX models feature a new Eco driving indicator zone that displays current fuel economy using a bar graph and alerts the driver when they are achieving low fuel efficiency.
Lexus employed extensive human-machine interface (HMI) studies to enhance occupants’ interaction with all controls. To help reduce driver distraction and effort, each HMI function in the new RX wastes no movement. The available eight-inch navigation display (or seven-inch audio/HVAC display when navigation is not ordered) is placed at a higher, more distant position, providing a more natural visual angle.
Three innovations to come from the HMI studies include the multi-information switch on the steering wheel, the new Remote Touch console-mounted navigation controller and the optional Heads-Up Display. The multi-information switch allows the driver to access numerous function settings without taking hands off the steering wheel. It also reduced the number of individual switches, contributing to a cleaner instrument panel. Vehicle settings can be customized according to personal preference, including personal door-lock preferences, interior/exterior light adjustments, driver’s seat easy exit, and window-closure settings.
The new optional navigation system on the RX can be controlled using either the Remote Touch device or by utilizing voice command. The Remote Touch allows the user to operate the navigation system, climate, audio, phone controls and more. The screen menus are selected with the controller, eliminating the need to reach out and reducing eye movement.
The attribute that most distinguishes Lexus’ navigation controller from other devices in other luxury models is its “haptic”-feedback technology, which provides a tactile response to the hand. As the user operates the controller near a screen icon, the cursor is pulled to that icon with feedback from a servomotor in the device enabling the user to feel it “click” into place. The driver or passenger makes a selection by pressing the side thumb button on either side, and the feedback servo is adjustable for sensitivity. The system then confirms the action with a subtle sound. Remote Touch integrates the functions of seven hard switches used with the previous touch screen, helping users to operate those functions with reduced effort and distraction.
The available Heads-Up Display (HUD) utilizes white readouts. High-intensity LEDs project high-contrast white figures onto the windshield, which are easier to read – and easier on the eyes – than the typical green-colored readouts. The HUD offers displays for speed, navigation, and audio. A wedge-shaped windshield interlayer for the HUD projection area eliminates the distracting printed grid pattern seen on some other vehicles equipped with HUDs.
Lexus luxury begins with how the customer first interacts with his or her vehicle. All RX models are equipped with the SmartAccess keyless entry with push-button start. As the driver approaches the vehicle, interior and exterior courtesy lamps illuminate. Opening the door, the instrument panel lighting gradually fades in. When the engine is started, the instrument gauge needles and markings illuminate, followed by the multi-information display. After the driver exits the vehicle, the lights fade out at different intervals.
All 2010 RX models are equipped with a power tilt and telescopic steering column. To ease entry and exit, the seat automatically slides up to two inches rearward and the steering wheel tilts upward and slides forward when the engine is switched off. Upon pushing the “ON” switch, the seat and steering wheel return to positions pre-set by the driver using the three-position memory system.
The newly designed, standard 10-way power front seats are shaped to accommodate arm movement when operating the available Remote Touch, while also holding the occupants in place. Both the driver and passenger seats also feature power lumbar adjustment. Also newly available on the RX is a ventilation function for the front seats to help improve comfort on hot and humid days. The shape and texture of the armrests and switches offer an ideal combination of tactile feel and functionality. The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel features integrated audio controls and a unique cross-section that is designed to provide a more natural grip than a conventional round-section wheel. A leather and wood trimmed wheel is available for added luxury.
Three seat materials include standard fabric, optional smooth leather or even softer semi-aniline leather. In addition to light gray and black, Parchment is now available as an interior color for vehicles equipped with optional leather trim. Standard wood trim comes in Brown Walnut matched to Parchment, or Espresso Bird’s-eye Maple matched to light gray and black.
The center console box provides enough space to comfortably store CDs/DVDs or the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Even with the owner’s manual, the console box still offers more than 0.75- cu. ft. of storage capacity. The three-part (40/20/40) rear seats can slid fore and aft, recline, and fold down using the one-touch levers mounted in the luggage compartment. Compact rear-seat headrests help improve the driver’s visibility. The new double-wishbone rear suspension, due to its compact packaging, yields a larger luggage compartment; the width between the suspension towers is increased by nearly six inches.
The new climate-control system offers quicker cooling and warming and is also quieter. A new high-efficiency compressor detects refrigerant flow in order to optimize engine control and fuel economy. The new system can cool the cabin to about two degrees lower and warm it by about five degrees higher than in the previous RX. An available smog sensor is designed to detect harmful particles (CO, HC, NOx) in other vehicles’ exhaust emissions and automatically switch between fresh air and recirculation modes.
The new Lexus RX models accommodate a variety of music sources, providing auxiliary and USB inputs, Bluetooth® Audio wireless connectivity and a standard integrated XM® satellite radio receiver (complimentary 90-day trial subscription). Standard voice recognition and Bluetooth technology allow phone calls to be made and received while driving. When an iPod is attached via the optional USB port, information such as names for the artist, track and album is displayed on the available navigation or audio screen. The large center console storage box easily accommodates a variety of electronic devices while keeping wires out of sight.
The RX continues the tradition of offering the Lexus Premium Audio system as standard equipment, in this case a powerful nine-speaker system with a six-disc changer. Creative placement and angling of the speakers perfectly cross-channels sound to the occupant on the opposite side of the vehicle to transform the cabin into a clear, crisp acoustic environment. A 12-speaker system comes with the optional Comfort Package or rear seat entertainment systems and includes two-rear-door tweeters and a compact, L-shaped subwoofer in the rear-luggage compartment.
The optional 15-speaker Mark Levinson® Surround Sound system allows listeners to enjoy 7.1-channel surround sound. The Mark Levinson system, a Lexus exclusive, features a center channel coaxial speaker, metal-cone midrange speakers, tweeters and a 100-watt amplified subwoofer. A 2.5-inch speaker built into each D pillar provides the right and left surround-sound channels. The diffusion of sound provides each occupant the same level of audio quality.
The available Hard Disc Drive (HDD) navigation system eliminates the need for DVD map discs and offers a unique voice recognition system, which can work using casual-language inputs on certain functions. An optional rear-seat entertainment system includes two high-definition seven-inch screens, one on each of the front seatbacks. Each screen can display video from separate sources. A remote control allows independent control of each screen. Rear-seat occupants can also choose to listen to audio through the wireless headphones instead of vehicle speakers.
The available wide-view side monitor and backup monitor each help provide the driver with a wider range of visibility when driving at low speeds. The driver can check hard-to-view areas by simply pressing the camera-select button on the steering wheel or, when in reverse, viewing the camera images on the navigation screen. An optional back up camera displays images on the eight-inch navigation screen; systems without navigation have an optional 2.4-inch display in the rear-view mirror.
Lexus Enform™ with Safety Connect™
The Lexus RX 350 offers an all-new telematics system, Lexus Enform™ with Safety Connect™, available by subscription. Complimentary one-year trial subscriptions are included on all purchases of new Lexus vehicles equipped with these features. Both the Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response center operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—every day of the year.
Safety Connect, the cornerstone of the services, is available on both non-navigation and navigation-equipped RX 350 and offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Enhanced Roadside Assistance, which adds GPS data to the already included warranty-based Lexus roadside service.
0-60 MPH in 7.4 seconds, top speed electronically limited to 112 mph
Lexus Enform, available only on navigation-equipped vehicles, includes all of the Safety Connect features and builds upon them with the premium services of Destination Assist and eDestination. Destination Assist agents are available via the on-board cellular equipment and can help drivers find a specific address, a business by name, or a type of business (e.g., gas station, movie theater, etc.), and even Zagat®-rated restaurants, and then send the coordinates to the navigation system for routing. With eDestination, drivers can go online via LexusDrivers.com to save and sort destinations in up to 20 folders, each holding as many as 10 destinations. Then drivers can send the locations—up to 200 at a time—to their vehicle, where they will be available for download into the navigation system. Online, drivers can create personalized location names (e.g., “Favorite sushi,” “1 PM Appt,” “Kids’ doc,” etc.) and even list notes about their saved locations, all helping them see exactly the information they choose in the vehicle.
Lexus Insider™, a complimentary, opt-in service is also available without a subscription on all Lexus Enform-equipped vehicles. This feature offers in-vehicle audio casts that provide owners access to useful vehicle tips and event information, and insights into exclusive owners’ benefits – all designed to further enhance the Lexus experience.
XM – Beyond Radio
Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative XM services. Integrated XM® satellite radio is standard. Additionally, Lexus Enform vehicles feature XM NavTraffic® and XM NavWeather™ services. XM NavTraffic informs the driver of current traffic conditions with real-time traffic displays. When traffic problems are detected the navigation system alerts the driver so that the route can be adjusted. XM NavWeather provides near real-time weather conditions as well as spoken and nav-screen forecasts, both based on official National Weather Service data.
Lexus Enform also provides the platform for XM® Sports and Stocks, which features in-vehicle updates on sports and stocks so drivers can stay connected to their favorite teams and investment data while on the road. XM Sports provides game results and schedules for up to five personally selected national league sports teams while XM Stocks supplies data for up to 10 personally selected stocks. After inputting their selections, drivers can access the reports either by the navigation system, and the Remote Touch Controller, or by using the voice command system, adding a new level of flexibility.
XM services require separate XM subscriptions. The XM Sports and Stocks service is included with an XM® radio subscription. All XM services offer complimentary 90-day trial subscriptions.