Lexus gives its classy RX 350 a bit more of a sporting attitude with the introduction of an F Sport model.
Lexus more or less invented the luxury crossover market back in 1999, with the introduction of the RX 300 SUV. Through the ensuing 13 years, the company has kept the RX at the forefront of the premium-crossover SUV segment by executing a couple well-done redesigns, adding a gas-electric hybrid model, and generally staying true to the RX’s solid original concept.
Though the RX has been a class benchmark ever since its introduction, one thing it has never really been is sporty. That’s changing—a little—for 2013. An RX will probably never be the choice of serious enthusiast drivers, but that didn’t stop Lexus from giving RX buyers a performance-themed option with the introduction of the 2013 RX 350 F Sport. Let’s take a quick walk-around.
All 2013 RX models wear Lexus’s new “spindle” grille design, a signature styling flourish that debuted on the redesigned 2013 GS sedan. LED daytime running lights (visible at the bottom of the headlight bezels) are another new RX feature for 2013. F Sports receive the unique sport front fascia and mesh grille seen here.
Subtle front-fender badges and unique 19-inch wheels with a dark graphite finish help distinguish the RX 350 F Sport from the outside.
The RX F Sport comes only with all-wheel drive and boasts slightly sharper handling than its siblings, thanks to a sport-tuned suspension with performance dampers front and rear.
RX F Sport interiors get a slightly sportier look via black trim (including black leather seats with white contrast stitching), aluminum pedals and footrest, and an F Sport badge on the steering wheel. Though they’re hard to see in this photo, steering-wheel paddle shifters (a first for the RX line) control the F Sport’s exclusive 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine doesn’t change, however—it’s the same 270-hp, 3.5-liter V6 that’s in all RX 350s.
The overall effect of the F Sport package is very subtle; the exclusive additional equipment gives the RX an understated performance flavor without compromising the serene ambiance of the basic vehicle. The RX 350 F Sport is set to arrive at dealerships in July 2012 with a base MSRP of $47,000.