There’s been a lot of big news stories so far this year.
Pialligo Estate folded. The biggest dish at the Canberra Deep Space Complex turned 50. A new butterfly species was discovered in the mountains of southeast NSW. And now water prices are expected to rise by about $70 every year for five years.
But in February, Lexus also released the new version of its best-selling SUV model, the mid-sized RX five-seater.
We’ve already tried out the one 90 per cent of Canberra’s buyers are after – the RX350h – with a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain inspired by the one in the Toyota Camry but lined with a heavenly mixture of silk and olive oil. But we couldn’t ignore the model at the very top.
The RX500h F Sport Performance combines a turbocharged 2.4-litre petrol engine with two electric motors to make a total of 273 kW – plenty enough to overcome its two tonnes and sprint from 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. Unlike the hybrid systems in the other Lexus and Toyota models, it also trades a CVT gearbox for a conventional six-speed automatic. Power goes through all four wheels.
It’s not as sharp a tool as the BMW M or Mercedes-AMG, but it’s also a helluva lot cheaper than those German offerings (starting at $126,000 plus on-road costs).
Throw in black mirror caps, enormous 21-inch wheels and many ‘F’ badges and plenty of people look too.
Inside, you get the usual swathe of heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 360-degree-view parking camera, a 21-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system, and a posher 14-inch version of the infotainment system used by Toyota.
What isn’t so commonplace is the four-wheel steering system. At low speeds, this turns the rear wheels by up to four degrees opposite to the fronts to tighten the turning circle, while at higher speeds it turns them in the same direction to enhance stability. From your lofty position in the driver’s seat, you won’t really feel it except for those tight parking situations when you’re pleasantly surprised that you didn’t need to pull off a three-million-point turn.
And then there are the carpets. Those cool, plush carpets…
2023 Lexus RX500h F Sport Performance AWD
- $126,000 (plus driveaway costs)
- 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, two electric motors, 273 kW
- 6-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive (AWD)
- 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds
- 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Visit Lexus of Canberra for more information.