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by George Skentzos

Lexus has launched its all-new RX model in Australia, representing the first update to the range since it was introduced in 2003.

Available in showrooms from next month, the 2009 Lexus RX boasts a number of new features and innovations aimed at creating the perfect luxury SUV.

Its exterior design has received a major overhaul which delivers a comparatively low drag coefficient for an SUV of 0.33 combined with acoustic glass to reduce wind and outside noise to a whisper.

“The RX has been completely redesigned with an attention to detail that pushed for efficiency, comfort and safety every step of the way.” Lexus Chief Executive John Roca said.

The three model grades are Prestige, Sports and Sports Luxury.

2009 Lexus RX 350 details and pricing

The Prestige model has the option of power tilt and slide moonroof while the Sports model has the additional features of moonroof, shadow chrome 19-inch alloy wheels, Pre-Collision System (PCS) and radar Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

The range-topping Sports Luxury model has the additional exterior features over the Sports model of bright chrome 19-inch alloy wheels, intelligent adaptive headlamps (i-AFS), heated electro-chromatic exterior mirrors with memory, side-view camera, and clearance/reversing sonar.

Currently only the RX 350 model will be available from launch which boasts a 3.5-litre dual VVT-i engine which develops 204kW and peak torque of 346Nm from 2300rpm.

2009 Lexus RX 350 details and pricing

This figure represents a 15Nm increase over its predecessor which delivering an improvement in fuel efficiency of 3.5 per cent to 10.8-litres per 100km, compared with 11.2-litres per 100km for the superseded model.

Lexus’ new generation six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with artificial intelligence and a sequential-style manual gear select shift replaces the previous five-speed transmission.

In addition to increased efficiency, this new transmission is lighter and shorter than the previous unit, allowing engineers to lower the position of the engine to improve the new vehicle’s centre of gravity.

2009 Lexus RX 350 details and pricing

Inside, the 2009 Lexus RX boasts a completely new cabin design, using a real wood instrument panel and console, semi-Analine leather seat trim, heated and air-cooled driver and passenger front seats, rear guide assist for the reversing screen, ten-way power driver and passenger front seats, heads-up display and credit card sized key.

In order to overcome issues such as the distance of the information screen from the driver and fingermarks, the new system features a mouse, menu and map buttons, along with a side-mounted display and dual enter switches to assist driver or passenger operations.

The Lexus Remote Touch system features a twin axis force feedback ergonomic mouse that allows users to easily identify and select the desired function on the multi-information display.

2009 Lexus RX 350 details and pricing

From here, owners can customise various functions such as the display height for the Head Up Display (HUD), exit assist for driver seat, door unlock and lock sequence and exterior light sequence on approach.

Designed with comfort as a priority, the new RX 350 also offers an improved climate control system which offers numerous functional and technical improvements over the previous model.

Premium sound for the Prestige and Sports models incorporates a 12-speaker Lexus sound system while the Sports Luxury model boasts a signature Mark Levinson premium surround sound system with 15 speakers, delivering 7.1 channel Dolby digital playback as an optional feature.

2009 Lexus RX 350 details and pricing

Standard safety incorporates an improved two-stage driver’s SRS airbag, a newly adopted twin-chamber front passenger’s SRS airbag and full-length side curtain-shield airbags for a total of ten airbags throughout the vehicle.

The new RX 350 also has newly adopted active front-seat head restraints and rear-outboard seat pretensioning seatbelts with force limiters.

Lexus Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM) features as standard on all models, combining vehicle stability control with cooperative steering function (VSC+), Traction Control (TRC), ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Lexus Brake Assist.

2009 Lexus RX 350 details and pricing

The 2009 Lexus RX 350 will be priced from $81,900 for the Prestige, $88,900 for the Sports, while the line-up will be topped by the Sports Luxury at $97,900.




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