At RM499k, the Lexus RX 500h F Sport makes us lust after Japanese luxury SUVs all over again

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Following the release of the fifth-generation Lexus RX in May, which debuted with the RX 350 Luxury model, Lexus Malaysia has now revealed another version of the SUV for the local market. The 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport has been introduced as a new addition to the lineup. Orders for this variant, starting at RM498,888, are now being accepted.

In terms of its exterior, this new range-topping hybrid model maintains the overall visual design of the petrol RX350 variant while incorporating a sportier appearance through the inclusion of the F Sport package. This package entails a revised front bumper featuring larger corner air intakes, along with a glossy black, criss-cross mesh pattern spindle grille.

At the rear, the bumper design is altered, replacing the silver insert with two prominent faux outlets at the edges, adorned with covers that mirror the front grille pattern.

The hybrid version shares 21-inch light alloy diameter wheels as the RX 350, but with distinct styling and a matte black finish. These wheels are wrapped in 235/50 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV tires, specially developed for the vehicle. Notable exterior differences include six-piston caliper front brakes and, of course, F Sport badging.

Inside the cabin, modifications from the RX 350 include unique Dark Spin Aluminium ornamentation trim elements and full leather upholstery (contrasting with the semi-aniline seats in the petrol model). Ultrasuede accent material is also used on the sides of the hybrid's seats, derived from plant-based raw materials.

Another highlight RX 500h F Sport's interior is the Mark Levinson surround sound system comprising 21 speakers and a subwoofer. Additionally, the cabin features sports aluminum pedals and Active Sound Control, which generates simulated driving sounds in sync with the driving conditions similar to noise cancelling headphones, but on a much larger scale.

The vehicle retains the high-definition 14-inch infotainment touchscreen with voice recognition, wireless Apple CarPlay, and wired Android Auto compatibility from the RX 350. Interior displays encompass a digital instrument cluster with a unique racing-style read-out and a head-up display.

Other notable features on RX 500h F Sport includes an e-Latch electronic door release, 3-zone climate control with rear vents, powered front seats with memory, powered 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, all-seat ventilation and heating, and a hands-free powered tailgate. USB connections are abundant, with four ports in the front (three Type-C and one Type-A) along with the aforementioned wireless charging, and two Type-C USB ports for rear occupants.

Beneath that sharply creased bonnet, the RX 500h F Sport is powered by the same T24A-FTS 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine as the RX 350 Luxury. It operates within a parallel hybrid system with an integrated front motor and power control unit. The front electric motor generates 85 hp and 292 Nm of torque, while the rear wheels are driven by a 102 hp/169 Nm eAxle electric motor. Both motors are powered by a 288V nickel-metal hydride battery pack positioned beneath the rear seat.

The hybrid system, capable of running in all-electric EV mode, delivers a combined system output of 373 PS (366 hp) and 550 Nm of torque, propelling the RX 500h from 0 to 100 km/h in a hot hatch-like 6.2 seconds. The car also features Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS), where the rear wheels steer up to 4° based on vehicle speed, contributing to stability and manoeuvrability.

In terms of safety, the RX 500h F Sport is equipped with the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) suite, incorporating various advanced features like Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, Adaptive High-beam System, and more.

Similar to the RX 350 Luxury, the RX 500h F Sport is fully imported from Japan and is offered in four exterior color options. It comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, while the hybrid battery pack is covered by an eight-year unlimited mileage warranty, extendable to ten years as an optional extra.

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