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by Jez Spinks

The Lexus RX SUV range will expand to a third model in June, with a new four-cylinder petrol model giving the Japanese luxury brand a new lower price point to compete with the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.

The new Lexus RX270 has yet to be officially confirmed, but CarAdvice sources say the model will follow the trend for SUVs that offer improved fuel efficiency by being two-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive.

The Lexus RX is traditionally a rival for the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz, but the new base model could potentially be priced below $70,000 to give Lexus Australia a competitor against the Q5 and X3 while it continues its long wait for Japan to deliver a much-needed baby SUV.

The current Lexus RX range starts at $82,814 for the RX350 that’s powered by a 204kW 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine. It’s joined by the RX450h petrol-electric hybrid, which starts at $89,788 and has a combined power output of 220kW.

Lexus’s front-wheel-drive RX270 features a 2.7-litre four-cylinder engine that produces about 138kW of power (at 5800rpm) and 252Nm of torque (at 4200rpm).

Fuel consumption for the RX270 will be about 9.5 litres per 100km, according to overseas specifications, with emissions of 222 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The figure makes the RX270 cleaner and more efficient than the RX350 with 10.8L/100km and 254g/km, though the hybrid RX450h remains the leader in this area with 6.3L/100km and 149g/km.

The absence of a four-wheel-drive system helps reduce the RX270’s weight by about 135kg over the RX350. The RX350, however, features a system that employs the front wheels only in normal driving before apportioning up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear wheels to deal with surfaces with reduced grip.

Lexus will also add F Sport variants to the revised Lexus RX range. The sportier-looking and more dynamically focused models have proved popular in other Lexus vehicles such as the CT200h hatch, IS medium sedan and GS large sedan.

The facelift for the third-generation Lexus RX range was shown at March’s 2012 Geneva motor show. The updated RX brings upgrades to the interior and exterior, with the latter including the brand’s new ‘spindle’ family face.

  • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

    I still think they should have left the rear tailights clear in this facelift, they now just look like they copied Mazda’s CX-9. Also, I think they took the word ‘facelift’ a bit too seriously… it looks like they actually lifted the face up at the front end in the F-sport variant. Maybe the design isn’t all that great when you consider the new GS’s design, and I don’t think they upgraded the interior, so it sort of looks rather cheap compared to the new GS. Still, quite a good car, I just don’t think they’ve put as much thought into it compared to the GS, so a tiny bit of a disappointment. 

    • MisterZed

      Clear tail lights are so 90s.

      • Sakdjfhlajdhfladfladf

        The problem is, that Lexus converting to non-clear tail lights, sort of makes it look like they copied Mazda’s CX-9. Even when they had clear tail lights though, they did manage a decent job. Not ricer kind of clear tail lights. 

  • Ivan Sherwood

    I love how over long period of time the Japanese such as Lexus and others boast they will be a strong match for the German rivals particularly in driving dynamics yet fall way short. Lexus simply won’t get close to nearing or even getting ahead of the BMW X3.

    • F1MotoGP

       Lexus needs diesel.

  • Daniel

    I like the RX, but the X3 is actually quite well appointed even as standard (not to Lexus levels, but the gap is slowly narrowing) and you can get a (presumably) more powerful X3 20d that will use three litres/100kms less than this will for about $62,000 I think? Or an Evoque. Seems like they’d be better and more modern options, not to mention better resale. They probably would have been better off putting the Hybrid system from the CT in. It still wouldn’t fix the power and resale deficit, but there’s something about slotting a standard small petrol in that seems pretty unremarkable in 2012.

  • Bert Kaemfert Rocks

    The engine is most likely the 4 cyl from the HiAce van… Eeewwww!

    • Legnab

      YEP , why not a turbo charged 2 litre , this pathetic old school big capacity four sucking down way too much fuel just to shift this big mother  , no torque , maybe they should have asked their sisters at subaru to lend them some cool  turbo teck motors , with grunt , then they could take it to the X3.

      • Fdvsdv

        The new Camry with 2.5L  4-Cylinders can sprint from 0-100 KM/H in just over 7 seconds.. Wouldn’t call them torque less or weak for what they are..

        • Legnab

          It weighs in at about 1800kg , 250 nm wont shift that big mother under 10 secs

        • Phil

          That Crapry 0-100KMH/H time must be from the same downhill dragstrip that had the IS350 doing 0-100 in 4.7 secs and the Ewwrion in 5 seconds?

          0-100kmh in the new Crapry takes 9.3 seconds. You can find that figure in the CarAdvice review.

          • Veeduddy

            Who said Aurion does 0-100 in 5 seconds?

            But IS350 can definitely get it done in slightly less then 5 seconds..

            Toyota V6’s are fast, especially from start.. Thanks to good transmission

            Aurion anything from 5.8 – 6.2 seconds.. Mate I’ve actually driven both cars above and they are fast, unless you drive in a 550HP for your daily commute then you’d think their slow..

            And the thing is Toyota’s speedometers are accurate compared to Veedud’s which has a reading of 10KM/H above the actual speed

          • Phil


            The tranmission in the Ewwrion is a joke. Why the hell does the 2nd gear run to 118kmh? Big gap between the 1st and second gear ratios.
            Try moving along at about 40kmh in D and then floor it….it wont go down to 1st and if you try manually shifting into 1st, it’ll just beep at you and wont do it – so much for manual mode. All you’ll get is a kickdown to 2nd gear and about 3500rpm……SLOW…..have to wait untill it gets to about 100kmh before it reaches 6000rpm and the engine can finally produce peak power……what a joke for a SIX speeder.

            See the current edition (June) of Motor magazine for a IS350 test. 0-100kmh was 6.17 secs. Most IS-F tests don’t even go under 5 secs and thats with almost 100KW extra power!
            Motor have also tested the Ewwrion and got 7.4 secs for a standard start in Drive. Runs with traction disabled (not a easy task as there is no ‘off’ button) and loading up the gearbox and got 6.8 secs.

          • Phil

            Please stop using that downhill dragstip.

            See current (june) edition of Motor Magazine. IS350 was tested and did 0-100kmh in 6.17 secs.
            They’ve also previously tested the IS-F which has almost 100KW more than the IS350 and that didn’t even go under 5 secs.
            They don’t use the speedometer for gaining performance figures and neither does anyone else.

          • Veeduddy


            Lexus claims 5.7 sec 0-100Km/h for Lexus IS350 and Toyota’s/Lexus numbers are always on the conservative side when regarding their performance sedans

            You’ll find that the IS350 & even Aurion have very good 0-100Km/h times, the IS350 can pretty much be neck and neck with IS-F but from 100Km/h onwards the IS-F will start pulling away rapidly and from roll the IS350 will have no chance..

            The 2tonne Kluger which uses the same engine as Aurion can do 0-100 in 8 seconds!

          • Phil

            For the third time……

            June edition Motor Magazine – Lexus IS350 0-100kmh takes 6.17 secs

      • Robin_Graves

        Bunghole, you are just jealous that Toyota can make a reliable car, unlike your beloved VeeDud.  Whats the point in using one less litre per 100 kays when it keeps exploding every 10k?

        • Legnab

          OH its nemo/robin sitting in barry’s tow truck , blow me away i thought you only loved bogan fords , now its a grandma toxus lover too .

          Yes subaru , bmw , mercedes ,volvo , audi , vw all using reliable  turbo’s to save fuel and provide grunt when required , its a brave new world , toyota are lagging , but sister subaru will drag them into the future , good cars subaru .

          • DeutscheMAN

            The 2.5L 4-banger used in the Camry is more then adequatr, fuel efficient, very reliable & smooth engine.. 

            If you need more power you can get Aurion with 204KW which is pretty fast car.. 0-100Km/h in 5.8sec to 6.2sec

            And it has pretty good real world fuel consumption, its rated at 9.3L/100Km but if you do mostly Highway cruising then you can get it down to around 7.5 – 8.5L/100Km

            Not to mention that 2GR-FE V6 in the Aurion is silky smooth and effortless, if you’ve ever driven an Aurion you would know what i mean.. 

          • Phil

            I’ve driven a Ewwrion. The engine is smooth and revs nicely, but that’s where the positives end.

            The negatives start with lifeless steering with no feel at all and a super ugly steering wheel.
            Then there is the auto gearbox which has a 2nd gear ratio that is too tall – 118kmh? WTF! Yet the 6th gear isn’t tall enough – it revs higher in 6th gear than a 4 speed Crummer or Falcoon! The manual mode is useless as it beeps at you – try accelerating in D from  around 40kmh – it just beeps at you when you try to select 1st gear and due to the super tall 2nd gear, you only get about 3500rpm and rather slow acceleration as you need to wait several seconds for it to wind up to about 100kmh before you actually get 6000rpm and 204KW. 6 speed and most of the gears are useless! Of course the demographic who buy this crap means there is absolutely no manual gearbox anywhere in the world for this engine.
            How about the Torque steer and axle tramp from low speed full throttle motoring? A full launch with traction off and loading the engine against the foot brake has the entire interior and seats vibrating with axle tramp – and even then, you wont get a 5.8 sec 0-100 time. Without loading the engine against the brakes and with traction on, you’ll get a 7 sec 0-100 time. The old model was officially listed as 7.4.
            So the overly intrusive traction control can you turn it off? Yes, to do this – and im not joking – ryou must restart the car with your foot on the brake, dab the brake pedal 3 times, apply and release the parkbrake 3 times, then dab the brake pedal another 3 times. To switch it back on you have to restart the car………Toyota doesn’t seem to understand the value of a “on/off” button.
            Then there is the handling yeeesh………dreadful.

          • DeutscheMAN

            – lifeless steering, yeah well the golf steering is more lifeless

            – torque steer? Yeah that is expected with 200kW FWD car, axle tramp will only occure if you instantly always floor it

            – the Aurion transmission is designed for dig starts, normal driving and it’s tuned for economy and I find it very fast and accurate and smooth

            .. If younwantbto race with Aurion thn make sure your stating from complete stop since that’s the best

            -Sorry but 7 seconds is way too slow for Aurion, perhaps if you have full tank, carrying full load, t/c on, unchanged oil, using low quality petrol and even then 7 seconds is way too much

            – Traction control, this is a FWD car, why would you turn off t/c? You’ll just end up spinning your tyres

            Point is the Aurion is fastest, lightest and most fuel efficient car in its class and has the best engine and transmission by far..

            It can keep up with cars like IS350 and 335i and will trounce anything less..

          • Robin_Graves

            I didnt say anything about not liking turbos.  Yes all those manufacturers (including Hyundai and Ford) are using RELIABLE turbos – EXCEPT for VeeDud who still cant keep an engine together for more than 50k.  Come back and argue when they can.

        • Bert Kaemfert Rocks

          Well, I’ve had 2 VWs, Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and Holden before.

          Based on the cars reliability and running costs (my own experience) from best to worst:
          1. Toyota
          2. Mazda
          3. Subaru
          4. Holden
          5. Holden
          6. VW

          Consistent with independent surveys and anacdotal evidence. What does this mean? Is the VW rubbish? Well, no, it means that there is more of a quality variation with some brands… Case in point our first VW was a disaster, the second much better.

          I can only conclude that the Japanese cars are well designed, lack unnecessary complexity and the components used consistently good due to the Japanese way of doing things.

          • Legnab

            MY EXPERIENCE

            1 VW
            2 Honda
            3 Subaru
            4 BMW
            5 holden

            The crummer was pile of junk , three VW turbo’s no issues , too many people listen to the old stories from the 80’s when the turbo was unreliable , many are scared to take the plunge .

            Agreed japanese cars are well made , turbo’s make them more interesting to drive .

          • Bert Kaemfert Rocks

            Interesting results… Supports my theory around higher quality variability with VW compared to Toyota.

            I’m glad you have had a better run with your VWs.

          • Hung Low

            You must be one of the very few select idiots that put VW on top for reliability and running cost! You are losing it Bungle!

          • Captain Nemo

            More fairy tales from Bungel of phantom Commodore ownership.
            You see Bungel i,am also a member of VWwatercooled where you troll under the user name”Spellbound”.

            In a recent post you mentioned how comfy the seats in your new Rolf are compared to your previous cars which you listed.
            but surprise surprise you forgot to mention that Phantom Commodore now surely you would not forget a car that awful as you claim if you actually owned one that is.   

          • Legnab

            Corporal nemo/robin , who are you tonight , so now you own a VW , SURPRISE  WOW  have you seen the light , no your just a troll putting up stories about how bad your make believe golf is .

            Yes in 1991 during the recession we had to have i ditched a BMW 535 for a crapodore VS , reality bites when a labour govt is in power , just like now .

          • Legnab

            Fung low why would i own three GTI’S if they were not relaible , thats like buying a broken down crummer over and over , once would be enough .

            I cannot  comment on DSG only buy manuals , never been an issue , 2litre turbo’s , never an issue all with ECU up grades .

            You OZ car lovers are getting quite upset over the rise of VW , and others , come join the club ,DAS AUTO .

          • Captain Nemo

            Wow Bungel i,m guessing you also owned a time machine along with that “phantom VS Commodore”. 
            The VS never came out until 95 more fairy tales hey bud.

      • Hung Low

        When VW can build any competing mainstream production engines as strong, reliable and with enough of potential as the following Toyota motors, I think you should get your hand off it!


        • Samsamsam

          I’m far from being a VW fan but even I think the tech in VWs is way more modern than the mainstream toyota offerings.
          But I’d probably but the toyota for reliability if I could only choose from the 2.

        • Legnab

          Boring is what you mean fung , my hands on the shifter as i kick the turbo with full thrust .

    • Darryl

      It’s the 1AR-FE, and goes into the US Highlander (Kluger) and others. In the same engine family as the new Camry 2.5L. They already sell the RX270 in Japan, China and Russia according to Wikipedia.

    • TG

      Think before you speak. The 2.7l engine (1AR-FE) for the RX270 is a completely different engine to the commercial application 2.7l engine (2TR-FE) fitted to Hiace and Hilux Workmate.

      • TG

         Beaten by Darryl, lol.

      • Bert Kaemfert Rocks

        Awww, you spoiled my attempt to dis the RX

    • Doctor

      Yep, it’ll be the 2.7 litre from the Hilux, no doubt with some minor modifications…. to give it a tut tut tut sound from the exhaust. It is a strong engine though.

  • Mattyman

    Not on looks it aint.

  • Jackson

    I’ve wanted to like the RX but the looks just kill it for me…looks too top heavy, not hunkered down enough.

  • Poison_Eagle

    2.7..does that mean its derived from Hilux Workmate mill or bespoke to Lexus?


      No. Even if it does, it’s good coz the motor is heavy duty industrial grade and lasts forever.

  • JamesB

    There should have been a smaller SUV rather than just downsizing the RX’s engine.

  • Sco

    Hahahaha, can’t wait to see how lethargic and useless this Lexus is… at least they’re consistent.

  • SM

    I like the RX, but do they seriously think that a NA 4 cylinder with FWD will compete with the likes of the Q5, X3 and ML I can actually hear the laughter booming out of the 3 german boardrooms as I’m typing this.

    If it has to be 2WD, make sure its the back 2 at least, particularly when you’re selling it as an SUV.

    • Legnab

      Dead right SM its a joke , complete farce , all this does is downgrade the value and kudos of the AWD owners , soooooo slow .

  • TG

    This is probably an indication that the next gen Kluger in Australia will definitely get the 1AR-FE 2.7 litre engine as an entry level variant in FWD (which the Highlander in the US already gets).

  • Bingolee

    The newly styled RX looks heaps better than the current one. If only the updated the interior as well to the one used in the new GS……

  • MisterZed

    If Lexus can sell an RX270 for $69,990 – or preferably less, it will be a good deal.  This is the same price as the original RX330 back in 2003.

    • Ryan

      i reckon itll sell like hotcakes, with the size of an x5, ml, but at a q5,x3 price.. bargain? 

      • Ryan

        esp soccer mums.. not like they give a crap about engine sizes ! :)

    • Phil

      Just buy the Klugar, its basically the same as the RX350 anyway and Toyota dealers are flogging them for $37,990 driveaway.
      Or if you really want the 4 cylinder, just buy a Rav4, They’ll be even cheaper again.

      • Turbo99

        The same $7 piece of scotch fillet served for $14 at the pub or $60 at an upmarket restaurant are different :)