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Lexus opens the lid on the first RX 500h F SPORT Performance model

Plano, TX — The best-selling Lexus RX is known for refined luxury rather than outright performance. That will change in the new generation 2023 with the introduction of the first RX 500h F Sport Performance version of the mid-size hybrid crossover. It will go on sale at the end of this year.

All-new Lexus hybrid system for 2023

The RX 500h F Sport Performance introduces a new hybrid system to the Lexus brand. Up front, the powertrain pairs a supercharged 2.4-liter inline-4 petrol engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission (no CVT), an inverter and an electric motor. Meanwhile, an electric axle (E-axle) at the rear integrates a powerful electric motor, inverter and reduction gear.

Lexus says this configuration allows the electric motors to provide low torque for improved performance and quick acceleration, while acceleration at higher speeds is delivered by the turbocharged engine, which produces high torque across its rev range.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT performance
2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT performance. Photo: Amee Reehal

Maximum combined power is boosted to a heady 367 hp (a current RX 450h makes 308 hp) and peak torque is 406 lb-ft (a significant increase from the 450h’s 247 lb-ft). That should be enough to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.

Redesigned Lexus RX with the new Direct4 AWD

The RX 500h will also be the only RX to feature the new Direct4 AWD powertrain (other powertrains are available with a different AWD setup). First unveiled in late 2020, Direct4 is reaching production on the new RX and will also be featured on the upcoming Lexus RZ 450e EV.

2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT Performance direct4 awd
2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT performance. Photo: Lexus

Direct4 – short for Direct4 Wheel Drive Force Control – offers additional flexibility in the distribution of power to the front and rear axles. That could mean focusing on efficiency, only putting the RX in FWD when rear traction isn’t needed, or stepping in to direct up to 80% of torque to the rear end to improve traction or improve driving dynamics. Using a direct driveshaft connection between the engine and wheel improves system responsiveness, Lexus says. At the same time, it maintains the brand’s signature comfort and sophistication.

The RX 500h F Sport Performance models also get performance-oriented six-piston calipers, a mesh grille, a different front bumper and 21-inch aluminum wheels. Interior cosmetic changes include lots of leather and aluminum trim, a perforated leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, suede-trimmed interior door panels, and F Sport treadplates.

Comparison: 2022 RX 450h vs. 2023 RX 500h F Sport Performance

2022 RX450h 2023 RX 500h F sport performance
engine 3.5 liter hybrid 2.4 liter turbo hybrid
transmission CVT 6-speed automatic
powertrain all wheel drive Direct4 AWD
output 308 hp 367 hp
torque 247 lb ft 406 lb ft
European daylight saving time. consumption 7.9 l/100km (30mpg) 9.0 l/100km (26mpg)

Interior and exterior shots of the RX 500H

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