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A Comprehensive Assessment of the 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport: An Exceptional Sports Car with a Potent Engine

Lexus has seen considerable success with the RX; however, it has never been perceived as an exhilarating option in terms of driving experience or aesthetics. This perception changes with the arrival of the 2023 RX, especially the 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport.

Sitting at the pinnacle of the RX lineup, the RX 500h F Sport also boasts a hybrid powertrain. A turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is at its core, supplemented by an inverter/electric motor at the front and an additional electric motor at the rear axle, delivering a combined 366 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The four-cylinder is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

What makes it thrilling is the RX 500h’s ability to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, marking it as the fastest RX variant so far. This impressive capability is geared towards providing a swift acceleration, yet the system maintains a primary focus on comfort, so it does not match the sportiness found in competing models from BMW or Porsche.

The RX 500h also boasts a distinctive all-wheel drive system known as Direct4, which can instantly transfer torque from the front to the rear. This setup, combined with its Dynamic Rear Steering system, which can turn the rear wheels up to 4 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels or in the opposite direction, endows the RX 500h with enhanced agility compared to other RX models.

Although the powertrain offers more dynamism than any previous RX, the RX 500h could still enhance its sportiness on winding roads. The sport-tuned suspension still prioritizes comfort over minimizing body roll. While the RX feels more planted, a more performance-oriented variant, like an authentic F version, would be a welcome addition.

Visually, the longer wheelbase by 2.4 inches and shorter rear overhang give the RX 500h a sportier appearance. The wider rear track by 2.7 inches and overall increased width by an inch further contribute to its athletic stance.

The RX 500h attains a fuel efficiency rating of 27 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined, thanks to its hybrid system. Even with added power, the RX 500h outperforms the RX 350 AWD (21/28/24) in terms of fuel economy.

Internally, the 2023 RX only offers two rows of seats, as opposed to a three-row version seen in the previous generation. This void will likely be fulfilled by a new three-row crossover, possibly named the TX.

The RX’s cabin exudes a more modern and luxurious ambiance than before, featuring a 14-inch touchscreen and digital gauge cluster. The updated infotainment system represents a significant improvement. However, it would be preferable if some controls, such as the drive modes, could be adjusted using physical buttons or a dial, as adjusting the drive mode via the screen can be inconvenient.

The RX 500h injects a dash of sportiness into the interior with its bolstered front seats, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, and black trim.

The starting price for the 2023 Lexus RX F Sport Performance is $62,750.

The 2023 Lexus RX 500h is undeniably the most sporty and enjoyable to drive. While it may not match the likes of a BMW M or Mercedes-AMG, it holds its ground well against milder models, such as the Acura MDX Type S.

Image Source: BoJack / Shutterstock

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