Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lexus Rolls Out 2010 RX350 and RX450h at LA Show

In case you weren't sure, this is in fact the brand-new, third-generation Lexus RX that was revealed to the world for the first time at the 2008 LA Auto Show. Like its predecessor, the new RX will be offered in two flavors, the gasoline only RX350 and the gasoline-hybrid RX450h. The exterior of the all-new RX features a sort-of blink-and-you'll-miss-it bland evolutionary styling that combines the silhouette of the current model with a few modern knickknacks from Lexus design cupboard like sculpted lower part of the doors and 'L-Finesse' molding around the side windows.

Furthermore, the RX 450h hybrid receive its own unique styling features, including an different grille, hybrid badging with blue-trimmed Lexus logos, a restyled front bumper, a special 19-inch optional wheel design, blue-tinted headlamps and taillamps, and optional LED headlamps.

Inside, the 2010 RX gets a more modern dashboard full of swoops and curves and what Lexus calls, a "dual-zone cockpit design" with two different display systems. Despite the various rumors for a seven-seat version, the RX will be offered excursively as a five-seater. However, the larger overall exterior dimensions of the luxury crossover promise to better passenger space compared to the current RX.

At the heart of the new RX models beat two improved V6 powertrains. The range-topping RX 450h features an enhanced version of the company's Lexus Hybrid Drive system with a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine that crank out a combined output of 295HP, 27 more horsepower than the current generation RX hybrid. Lexus also added two new systems that improve the RX450h's efficiency. The first is an exhaust-heat recovery system that reduces engine warm-up time allowing it to stop earlier, more often, and for longer periods while the second is a cooled exhaust-gas recirculation system that reduces engine pumping losses, also helping to improve economy.

The entry-level 2010 RX 350 is powered by the same powerplant as the RX450h, sans the hybrid system. In this case, the 3.5-liter V6 engine produces an output of 275HP and is mated to an electrically controlled, sequential-shift six-speed transmission.

According to Lexus, the 2010 RX 350 will go on sale in the U.S. next February, while the 2010 RX 450h will reach dealerships nationwide in the spring. European will have to wait until next summer for both variants of the new RX.

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