LOS ANGELES – Lexus unveiled the all-new, next generation RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid at a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicle is completely redesigned, according to www.marketwatch.com. At the heart of the new RX models are two improved powertrains. Entering its second generation, the RX 450h will feature an enhanced Lexus Hybrid Drive system with a 3.5L V-6 gas engine that runs on a highly efficient Atkinson cycle. Combined with a new, more efficient inverter, the total system output will be 295 horsepower, 27 more horsepower than the current generation RX hybrid.
Another step in the Lexus Hybrid Drive’s evolution is the addition of two new systems that improve its 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. The result is an improvement in both fuel economy and emissions. The second is a cooled exhaust-gas recirculation system that reduces engine pumping losses, which also helps to improve economy.
The RX 450h features a front-wheel hybrid drive or an electronically driven, part-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) hybrid drive system, which supplies the rear wheels with the optimal amount of torque as conditions demand. Unlike mechanical AWD systems that reduce fuel efficiency via added weight and friction, the RX 450h’s rear-mounted electric motor-generator allows all four wheels to perform regenerative braking, charging the hybrid battery more effectively.
The third generation RX 350 will be powered by an improved 275-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to an electrically controlled, sequential-shift six-speed transaxle. The all-wheel-drive version will feature an Active Torque Control AWD system that optimizes torque depending on driving conditions, resulting in improved efficiency and performance.
Both RX models feature a new double-wishbone rear suspension that helps provide exceptional agility and control. Its design also allows for nearly five percent more cargo volume and easier loading. To complement the new rear suspension, the front McPherson strut geometry was optimized, according to www.marketwatch.com.
The all-new RX models offer an available Hard Disk Drive (HDD) navigation system, which has an all-new “Remote Touch” controller. Positioned on the center console, Remote Touch is as natural to the driver’s hand as a computer mouse. It can also be customized to the desired level of haptic feedback. While RX will feature voice recognition as standard, the new navigation system will also include a new casual language voice-recognition system that acknowledges conversational commands. Standard XM satellite-radio capability (requires subscription) is joined by XM NavTraffic and new NavWeather features.
The five-passenger interior includes a new dual-zone cockpit design. This intuitive layout helps the driver navigate the advanced interior of the new RX, which features two distinct yet integrated zones: a “display zone” and an “operation zone.”
The exterior of the all-new RX features an inverted-trapezoid design in the front and a horizontally integrated rear. While it has increased in nearly every dimension, overall aerodynamic advancement was aided by a specially designed undertray, resulting in a segment-topping 0.32 coefficient of drag (Cd).
The RX 450h hybrid will have its own unique styling features, including an exclusive grille, hybrid badging including blue-trimmed Lexus logos, unique front bumper, a special 19-inch optional wheel design, blue-tinted headlamps and taillamps, and optional LED headlamps.
The all-new 2010 RX 350 will go on sale next February, while the 2010 RX 450h will reach dealerships nationwide in the spring.
Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine