Lexus RX 350 F Sport All Show, No Go: 2012 New York Auto Show

Lexus RX 350 F Sport All Show, No Go: 2012 New York Auto Show

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.

GALLERY: 2013 Lexus RX 350


  •  I
    heard that the RX 350 comes standard with no fewer than 10 airbags, which include
    front- and rear-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and
    dual front knee bags. Standard stability and traction control systems as
    well as antilock brakes with brake assist are on hand to help one avoid
    an accident in the first place.