Successful sales and popularity characterize the Lexus RX line of crossovers, but one area they have never excelled is, well, acceleration — or any aspect of performance driving.
Lexus hopes to change all that by offering its RX 350 F Sport, which just debuted at the New York Auto Show where Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager had this to say: “The RX 350 F Sport challenges pre-conceived notions about luxury crossover utility vehicles. [It’s] not just an appearance package, but a full-fledged performance package.”
Under the hood, the automaker implements the same 3.5-liter, 270-hp V6 as other models mated to a six-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
The Automaker’s active torque control system governs and distributes torque to optimize grip by shifting from 100:0 all the way to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels.
Despite making it clear that this is not just a cosmetic upgrade, the F Sport has some styling changed to differentiate between the lesser model. A more aggressive-looking grille, a new front bumper and fog lamps — and of course F Sport badges.
Black leather seats with white stitching and matching perforation holes further set the car apart while another F Sport badge on the steering wheel tells of the sportier upgrades.
The same engine and horsepower as this (and last) year’s model might be a letdown, but stiffer suspension that also sits the car a little closer to the ground lend a splash of sport to justify the “not just an appearance package” assertion. This is true, the changes are more than paint-deep, but barely.
It’s hard not to feel a little disappointed in Lexus for putting the “F” designation on this car when the IS F is such a hot-rod, especially after Ford revealed a legitimately upgraded crossover at the same show.