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|2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport Review & Test Drive||
‘PUTTING MORE PERFORMANCE INTO THE BEST SELLING LUXURY SUV’
The Lexus RX 350 is the #1 selling mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle. It is about time that Lexus brings to its many enthusiasts a RX with higher levels of performance and sharper exterior styling with interior sporty cues.
The new F SPORT is available only in all-wheel drive and features an eight-speed automatic transmission with razor-sharp responding paddle shifters, an F SPORT-tuned suspension to keep the exclusive 19X8 inch split five-spoke wheels in a Dark Graphic finish solidly planted on the ground. In the front are an aggressive front bumper, HID headlamp clusters, and a deep mesh grille with the new signature chrome spindle design. Down below is a splitter and foglamps at the sides. Inside are a host of exclusive sporty cues making it even more fun to be piloting the new RX 350 F SPORT.
The new RX 350 F SPORT combines the standard 3.5 liter, DOHC, 24-valve, all-alloy V6 engine that generates 270hp at 6,200rpm and 248lb.ft. of torque at 4,700rpm. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) is used to control both intake and exhaust camshafts independently; optimizing engine performance at many speeds and loads. I would have liked to see a significantly increase in horsepower to really make the F SPORT go faster off the line. It only got to 60mph from a standstill in just under 7 seconds, which is about the same for the regular RX 350. The RX SPORT’s eight-speed automatic is only available in the new F SPORT and comes with fun-to-use paddle shifters. It gave me quicker shifting response with help from miniature high-flow linear solenoids that allowed for more precise clutch operation. The torque converter uses a low-speed lockup damper to enable lock-up from first to eighth gear to help fuel economy.
All of the torque is transferred to all four wheels with an electronically controlled Active Torque Control AWD system. Active Torque Control AWD uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary torque distribution anywhere from 100:0 to 50:50 front to rear, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions. When accelerating, or at launch on a low-grip surface, torque is quickly provided to all four wheels. At steady speeds, torque is sent to the front wheels, enhancing fuel efficiency. The new F SPORT gets 18mpg/city and 26mpg/highway.
The fully independent suspension gets tuned for more aggressive driving. The tuned MacPherson strut front setup includes coil springs, an anti-roll bar and monotube shocks. The rear setup is a double-wishbone setup with coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube shocks. The firmer shocks and springs gave me a more engaging driving experience. A unique lateral performance damper system absorbs and minimizes body vibrations, resulting in a more linear steering feel from the electric power-assisted rack & pinion system and enhanced ride comfort. It responded to my inputs quickly with no wavering. In lieu of conventional fixed bracing, no front strut tower brace, this system features a front performance damper and a rear damper connecting the left and right sides of the rear structural frame. VDIM handling technology is standard on the RX 350 AWD F SPORT and has been recalibrated for the more aggressive handling F SPORT. VDIM anticipates loss of vehicle control and governs all of the vehicle’s dynamic handling systems-the ABS Braking System, BA, EBD, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control-with the electronic throttle control system. The system employs them collectively and seamlessly to help make corrections while allowing high dynamic capability for more aggressive driving on curving roads.
Slowing the new RX 350 F SPORT down from speed are large, four-wheel power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are 12.9 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.2 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.
Adding to the more aggressive handling prowess are the meaty Dunlop 235/55VR19 inch Grand Trek Touring A/S performance tires. The wrap around aggressive 19X7.5 inch split-five spoke Dark Graphite finished alloy wheels.
The new exterior styling shows that this RX 350 F SPORT is more aggressive on the road. The new distinctive and contemporary front fascia is highlighted with Lexus’ signature chrome spindle grille and a bolder sport bumper, featuring an F SPORT exclusive mesh grille. The upper edge of the grille is set lower than the upper edge of the HID headlight assembly to establish a more aggressive look. Standard LED daytime running lights and combination rear LED lamps reflect the ‘L’ design motif. Foglamps are integrated into the sculpted lower front bumper fascia that also includes a centered splitter. Pronounced front fenders flow into the doors, and integrated rear fender flares neatly sweep around to pull together the taut rear corners of the vehicle. The lower bodykit emphasizes the standard 19 inch wheels and tires. Distinctive F SPORT exterior badges are seen on the top of the front fenders. The profile shows steeply raked windshield A-pillars, a full perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, a chrome strip below the doors, aero-styled heated/self-dimming/power-folding rearview mirrors, pull-out door handles and an aluminum roof rack. The rear fascia features a spoiler on top of the power opening/closing liftgate, a step-up bumper with a rubber pad. Down below is a diffuser to help better manage the airflow out the rear underside. There is one exhaust tip hidden under the bumper to give it a cleaner look but I would have liked to see dual exhaust pipes spaced at each end for a more aggressive look from behind.
The interior combines the regular RX 350 luxury and convenience features with the F SPORT exclusive cues. These include perforated black leather-trimmed, 10-way powered front bucket seats that are very comfortable and supportive with white perforation holes. White contrast stitching accentuates the seats, center console with dual cupholders/storage bin/armrest, and door armrest. A new Ebony Bird’s eye Maple trim is found on the center console and switch plates thus adding a touch of sporty elegance. A black headliner, sporty perforated leather-wrapped/power tilt/telescopic steering wheel feels great in my hands and shows the ‘F’ logo on the bottom. There is also aluminum pedals with rubber inserts to finish the sporty interior character.
The new RX F SPORT can accommodate a variety of music sources, providing auxiliary and USB inputs, Bluetooth audio wireless connectivity and a standard integrated SiriusXM satellite radio receiver. Standard voice recognition and Bluetooth technology allow phone calls to be made and received once paired with a compatible smartphone. When an iPod is attached via the USB port, information such as artist name, track and album can be displayed on the available navigation or headunit, while the iPod can be controlled through the audio system. The large center console storage box easily accommodates a variety of electronic devices while keeping wires out of sight.
Standard features not mentioned above in the new RX 350 F SPORT include the Lexus Premium Audio system, automatic sound levelizer with in-dash single feed 8-disc CD auto-changer, USB iPod/MP3 control, Bluetooth technology, XM satellite radio, auto dual zone climate control with air-vents, reclining/sliding 40/20/40 split rear seat with pull down dual cupholder/storage tray, cruise control, power sunroof, heated/ventilated front bucket seats, electroluminescent rallye gauges, Lexus HomeLink Universal transceiver, SmartAccess Passive entry, LCD screen for ventilation, audio settings, multi-media display with Lexus personal settings, trip computer and outside temperature display, all express up/down windows, dual map lamps, grab handles above each door, variable speed wipers/washers, rear hidden wiper/washer, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, rear tonneau cover, floor mats, dual lighted vanity mirrors, and a leather-wrapped stick shifter. There is storage in each door and in the large, locking glovebox.
My new Lexus RX 350 F SPORT came with these options: Blind Spot Monitor, a great Head’s-Up Display, the awesome Mark Levinson Premium Audio Surround Sound system with a single DVD/CD Player, HD radio with iTunes Tagging and 15-speakers, the Lexus Navigation System with Voice Command, Lexus Enform, Lexus Enform screen multi-media display & Lexus Enform with destination assist and eDistination, App Suite, Sirius XM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Stocks, Sports and fuel prices, Intuitive Parking Assist and Cargo net.
Standard safety features include dual advanced front airbags, driver/front passenger knee airbags, front & rear side curtain airbags, front & rear seat mounted side airbags, Smart Stop Technology, 3-point safety belts for all five seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, , vehicle theft deterrent system with engine immobilizer, automatic headlights, daytime running lamps, tire pressure monitor and front/rear crumple zones with steel beams in each door.
The new 2013 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT is an excellent AWD performance sport utility vehicle that gives the driver more levels of performance in handling when driving on curving roads or straight ahead at high speeds on the highway. It is a good first start to liven up the best-selling luxury sport utility vehicle but I would like to see more power to go along with the excellent handling capabilities.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
- Price: $47,000.00/$53,029.00 as tested
- Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 24-valve 270 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 248 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,700 rpm
- Wheelbase: 107.9 inches
- Total length: 187.8 inches
- Total width: 74.2 inches
- Total height: 66.3 inches
- Track: f/r-64.2/63.8 inches
- Headroom: f/r-39.1/37.7 inches
- Legroom: 43.1/36.8 inches
- Total interior volume: 139.7 cu.ft.
- Cargo volume: 40/rear seats up/80.3cu.ft. rear seat folded
- Curb weight: 4,510 pounds
- Maximum towing: 3,500 pounds
- Fuel capacity: 19.2 gallons
- Turning circle: 40 ft.
- 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
- EPA mileage: 21mpg/city, 26mpg/highway
|2013 Lexus RX350 F-Sport Review & Test Drive||
The new design language of Lexus has been spiced up to attract a larger enthusiast base and now tricked down to their prided RX350 SUV with a new F-Sport package for the 2013 model year. The all-new 2013 RX350 already embodies Lexus’ pursuit to put their best refined luxury attributes forward. Now, Lexus is attempts to demonstrate a sportier side of the spectrum with the new RX350 F-Sport sharing subtle sporty design traits and refreshed chassis dynamics to match its new sporty look.
The new 2013 Lexus RX350 is already a traditional luxury SUV in the sense of finding one in just about every other garage in traditional American suburbia. Exuding a lineage of remarkable quality, reliability, and fit and finish, the new 2013 Lexus RX350 is all about meeting the expectations of a mid-sized luxury crossover vehicle with a salted dash of performance and sporty looks in the new F-Sport trim.
The new 2013 Lexus RX350 F-Sport retains most aspects of a normal trim RX featuring the same 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 270 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 ft-lbs. of torque at 4,700 rpm. What is different in the RX350 F-Sport from the normal RX is a new 8-speed automatic transmission added in place of the 6-speed auto. Adding the 8-speed auto box along with a standard all-wheel-drive system makes the RX350 F-Sport an attractive package for those who want to nudge out an extra bit of adapted performance. To complete the added performance of the F-Sport package is a standard set of darkened 19-inch wheels wrapped in 235/55 all-season tires and sport-tuned suspension.
Power from the silky smooth V6 engine, more of a proven and refined workhorse for many Toyota and Lexus vehicles, comes on strong and is only as good as the 8-speed automatic it is mated to in the RX350 F-Sport. The 8-speed auto has a rather smart adaptation to your driving style where as it tends to go into a virtual sport mode under brisk driving. Conversely, the transmission seems to have a split second hick-up for selecting the proper gear when the need arises to upshift under mid-range throttle inputs. During abrupt full-throttle selections the 8-speed box has no qualms about quickly selecting the proper gear. A manual shift mode with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles is takes much of its programming from the Lexus IS-F allowing you to rev-match down-shifts near redlined rpm levels. Additionally, the transmission actually holds gears in manual mode without automatically up-shifting under heavy throttle.
The new sport tuned suspension, unique to the RX350’s F-Sport package, is basically a change in the dampening of the shocks along with two braces to bridge the front and rear chassis rails. Surprisingly, the ride is noticeably firmer over a normal RX350 though the spring rates remain unchanged from the normal RX350. What is claimed as a true sport-tuned suspension in the RX350 F-Sport really changes its road-going feel with somewhat of a firmer dampened ride and better turn-in. 0-60 mph times remain around 6.8 seconds, mostly unchanged from the previous 2 years.
On the road the new 2013 Lexus RX350 F-Sport provides a smooth ride but does transmit an extra bit of stiffness when going over moderate to large sized road bumps. However, the RX350 F-Sport continues to remain civilized and extremely quiet with only a slight growl transmitting into the cabin from the V6 engine under power. Fortunately, Lexus now offers the ability to burn regular 87 octane fuel, something of value for those wanting to save a bit at the pump and still nail the 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway estimated fuel economy figures. During my week-long drive consisting of about a 50/50 ratio of city and highway driving I came away with 19.5 mpg on average and reached 24 mpg on the highway.
The new 2013 Lexus RX350 F-Sport’s front end exterior styling along with the darkened 19-inch wheels and F-Sport badging, outside and inside, are the only visual giveaways of the F-Sport being something ‘different’ from the normal RX350. The front end bumper is highlighted by a mesh-style grill projecting the new spindle grill design iterated throughout the rest of the new Lexus lineup of vehicles.
On the inside the new 2013 Lexus RX350 F-Sport is virtually the same as the normal RX350. Though, normality already has had its bar set in a high position when it comes to Lexus’ luxurious interiors. The new RX350 is nothing short of what is expected from Lexus. Most dashboard interior pieces look to have a luxurious look with only a couple places filled with hard plastics. The electroluminescent gauge cluster is brightly lit while all controls are easily accessible in their traditional location.
The latest version of Lexus’ Enform suite of apps to integrate with your cell phone work well through Bluetooth synchronization. The Lexus remote touch system, which uses a mouse-like tracking device to navigate through the high-resolution center color LCD screen, takes a while to adapt to. The force feed-back of the tracker when rolling over on-screen buttons is a benefit to helping keep your focus on the road when making function selections. Other dashboard controls, such as a dedicated button panel for ac/heater and audio controls is a welcomed change-up from using the mouse-type tracker control.
A full range of luxury options are available of the new 2013 RX350 F-Sport, such as a top-level Luxury package adding LED headlights, 10-way power front seats, heated steering wheel and smog-sensing climate control. The new standard LED running lamps, heated mirrors, power liftgate, dual-zone auto climate control, eight-way power front seats, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, sliding and reclining rear seats, auto dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, iPod/USB interface, satellite radio, Entune app suite and 12-speaker sound system with HD radio are all value-added features that make the RX350 an attractive buy as it comes.
I found the interior room to be plentiful for 5 passengers while the rear seating area’s sliding and reclining feature adds to the versatility of the RX. Rear cargo, accessible through the standard power liftgate, gives you about 40 cubic feet while folding down the rear seats gives you about 80 cubic feet.
It would be outlandish to really think that Lexus serves up a complete performance package with the RX350 F-Sport. The F-Sport package is more of a trim-level with a few sporty traits just to give enthusiasts a better appetizer with the same main course and dessert that the normal RX350 offers. Pricing for the all-new 2013 Lexus RX350 starts at just $39,660. The new 2013 RX350 F-Sport package raises the starting price to $47,350. Adding on just a few options packages will quickly raise the price point to beyond $52,000 with the F-Sport package.
Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com
- Price: Base RX350 $39,660 / Base RX350 F-Sport package $47,350 / As-Tested RX350 F-Sport $53,924
- Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6 24-valve 270 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm / 248 ft-lbs. torque @ 4,700 rpm
- Wheelbase: 107.9 in.
- Total length: 187.8 in.
- Total width: 74.2 in.
- Ground Clearance: 7.3 in.
- Total height: 67.7 in.
- Track: f/r-64.2 in.63.8 in.
- Fuel tank: 19.2 gallons
- Headroom: f/r-39.1 in./37.7 in.
- Legroom: f/r-43.1 in./36.7 in.
- Cargo capacity: 40.0 cu.ft. all seats in place / 80.3 cu.ft. rear seats down
- Turning circle: 38.8 ft.
- Curb weight: 4,510 lbs.
- 0-60 mph: 6.8 seconds
- EPA mileage: 18 mpg/city, 25 mpg/highway