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Lexus Launches 'RX450h' and 'RX350' in Japan


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Lexus RX 350

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori, left, and Miss Universe first runner-up 2006 Kurara Chibana, right, pose with Toyota’s new Lexus SUV RX450h at Lexus RX Museum in Aomi. PHOTO BY TARO FUJIMOTO.

Tokyo, Jan 19, 2009; Lexus announces that sales of the "RX350" in Japan started today and that sales of the "RX450h" are to start in Japan in April*.

Both RX models are the latest versions of the RX, which was previously unavailable in Japan. Next-generation crossovers that merge the luxurious ride and comfort of a sedan with the functionality of an SUV, they offer, at the highest levels, the environmental and safety performance demanded of 21st-century luxury vehicles. They are based on the concept of providing the superior excitement and driving comfort characteristic of a Lexus vehicle.

The new arrivals include such features as an advanced hybrid system with a V6 gasoline engine, the E-Four (electric four-wheel drive) system for outstanding driving and environmental performance, as well as a unique "dual-zone cockpit" that allows the driver to concentrate on driving. Other top-class features create a dynamism that sets the vehicles apart from other SUVs while providing a strong sense of safety and satisfaction.

* The "h" stands for hybrid and the "450" refers to performance on par with that of a 4.5-liter conventional vehicle

1. Next-generation Crossover Design

Exterior

The exterior design, based on the Lexus design philosophy "L-finesse"*, combines a powerful wide-track stance with the sophistication characteristic of a Lexus vehicle.

The front consists of a single, solid form from the hood to the bumper. The exterior frame of the front grille extends to the headlights, which have the unique Lexus "arrowhead" profile.

- The fender and wheel arch merge with the body to express a powerful form.

- The cabin, which provides ample interior and cargo space, features quarter pillars with unique lines and side windows with optical molding, while the chrome-plated under-door molding draws in the lower part of the body and expresses high quality.

- The smooth and simple door handles feature touch sensors.

- At the rear, the fender projects outward and then merges into the bumper, while clear-lens horizontal taillights create a silhouette that projects stability. In addition, the adoption of a roof spoiler with a retractable rear-window wiper creates a clean look and excellent rear vision for the driver.

The front grill, front bumper, LED headlights, 19-inch aluminum wheels, and other unique design features - as well as the use of the exclusive "Lexus hybrid blue" on the symbol marks, the headlights, and the combination taillights - serve to express the RX450h's advanced hybrid nature. "Quartz White Crystal Shine", a color that appears to change depending on angle, lighting conditions and the position from which it is viewed, is exclusive to the hybrid model.

*Created by combining "leading-edge" and "finesse" design concepts

Interior

A unique cockpit delivers superb visibility and creates an environment that allows the driver to concentrate on driving, while the interior design conveys a sense of openness.

The HDD (hard disk drive) navigation system features a center-console-mounted "Remote Touch" interface that allows easy remote control of on-screen functions.

- The white organic electro-luminescence (EL) multi-information display, the first of its kind in the world*, boasts high contrast and outstanding visibility from a wide angle, and a multi-information switch for displaying and switching between various types of information.

- A heads-up display allows the driver to view a variety of information such as speed, lane information, and various warnings without the need for excessive eye movement.

- The multi-adjustable, electric driver's and front-passenger seats, equipped with a cushion-length-adjustment function, provide proper support regardless of the occupant's height.

- The distinctive design of the double-wishbone rear suspension provides five percent more cargo volume and easier loading.

*As of December 2008, according to TMC research

2. Environmental and Driving Performance at Highest Level

The RX450h is equipped with an advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive system and the E-Four system, which incorporates the first Lexus V6 3.5-liter engine that runs on the Atkinson cycle. Combined with a new inverter with excellent cooling performance to raise fuel efficiency, the result is the power of a 4.5-liter engine but with environmental performance that is one of the best in its class in the world.

- The Atkinson cycle engine delays intake and compression timing to generate a high expansion ratio with low compression, thereby limiting pumping loss during intake.

- An exhaust-heat recovery system reduces engine warm-up time.

- A cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) system brings the pressure in the intake manifold close to atmospheric pressure, thereby reducing piston pumping losses and improving fuel economy.

- The power control unit inverter element has a dual-side cooling structure, resulting in substantial size and weight reduction of the unit and increased torque.

The RX450h features a switch-engaged Eco-drive Mode that prioritizes fuel efficiency by aligning driving force with accelerator use and by putting the air conditioner into a low energy consumption mode.

The RX350 combines a V6 3.5-liter engine with a six-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive model features an Active Torque Control system that optimizes torque to the front and rear wheels depending on driving conditions, such as vehicle speed and road surface, achieving both excellent fuel efficiency and responsive handling.

Efforts were made to reduce CO2 emissions by improving fuel efficiency. The RX450h has a fuel efficiency of 16.8 km/l according to the JC08 test cycle of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) and is one of the first vehicles to meet the 2015 Japanese fuel-efficiency standards. (Under the old 10-15 test cycle, the RX450h has a fuel efficiency of 18.8km/l. The two-wheel drive RX350 has a fuel economy of 9.7km/l under the 10-15 test cycle.) All Lexus RX models have emission levels 75% lower than the 2005 standards under the MLIT's Approval System for Low-emission Vehicles and all vehicles qualify for incentives under the Japanese government's Green Taxation System.

- Eco-VAS (Eco-Vehicle Assessment System) - Toyota's original comprehensive environmental impact assessment system - was used to achieve an overall reduction in environmental impact from the vehicle. Environmental targets were set at the initial vehicle development stage and a life-cycle assessment was carried out to achieve a reduction in air contaminants and CO2 from the vehicle throughout its life, from production and use to disposal.

- A review of the materials, processing methods and adhesives used for interior parts resulted in a reduction in the amount of volatile organic compounds used, thereby reducing the sometimes discomforting odors emitted from such compounds and also meeting relevant voluntary industry standards.

3. High-Quality, Sporty Cruising

A new trailing-arm double-wishbone rear suspension was developed to achieve responsive handling and cruising stability along with an exceptionally comfortable ride.

An auto-leveling function ensures vehicular stability through precise control regardless of the number of occupants or amount of cargo. In addition, electronically controlled air suspension employing a height-control system allows three heights to be selected according to particular driving conditions.

When cornering, the RX450h's electric active-stabilizer-suspension system operates motors located in the center of the stabilizers to maintain a proper banking angle, providing a highly responsive feel and a smooth ride.

The exceptionally aerodynamic design contributes to cruising stability and excellent fuel efficiency.

- Surface-level-difference between the headlights, windshield, and body have been minimized and the outer mirrors have been shaped to optimize air flow.

- The adoption of a rear spoiler and a flatter underfloor - particularly the use of plastic covers on components beneath the body and the rear lower arm - reduce air resistance.

- The use of rectifier fins to adjust air flow below the body contributes to outstanding handling and cruising stability at high speeds.

4. Excellent Safety Performance

Safety features were adopted in line with the Integrated Safety Management Concept*, which aims to create vehicles that do not cause accidents.

Side monitors that greatly expand field of vision (compared to earlier systems) are standard on all models. The monitors enhance safety by enabling the driver to clearly view the area near the left side of the vehicle and avoid obstacles that may lie within the turning radius.

Standard on all vehicles is the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, which integrates control of drive power, steering and braking to achieve ideal handling performance and high-active safety performance.

The Pre-Collision System uses millimeter-wave radar to recognize possible frontal collisions. The front-passenger and driver-seat seatbelts (Pre-crash Seatbelts) retract in anticipation of the collision, while the Pre-Crash Brake Assist system decelerates the vehicle to reduce collision damage.

A total of 10 airbags - including dual stage Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbags that match the speed of airbag inflation to the front-end collision force and SRS knee airbags- surround and protect occupants.

Front-seat active headrests that shift to a position to lessen stress on the neck and reduce the risk of whiplash injuries from a rear-end collision come standard.

*TMC's safety technology and vehicle development aims to provide optimal driving support based on driving conditions, not only by integrating individual safety technologies and systems in the vehicle, but also by adopting an infrastructure-respondent system (infrastructure-to-vehicle) and using information obtained from vehicles other than the driver's (vehicle-to-vehicle), leading to the realization of a vehicle that does not cause accidents.

For further information and specifications, please visit http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/news/09/0119.html.