2006 Lexus RX 350 review and pictures

Posted on Saturday, 8 July 2006 , 13:07:07 byEmil

Filed under Lexus

Lexus RX 350

Lexus will start sales in Europe of its RX 350 in April 2006. In terms of aerodynamics, styling, design, performance, handling, ride and comfort, this model is the leader. It benefits from the highest levels of active and passive safety and so it includes a SRS knee airbag. It is powered by a new 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine that sends the power to the wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission and that can deliver 53 kW and 59 Nm of torque. After different modifications of the engine, the 3.5-liter became able to deliver 203 kW and 342 Nm of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds and can reach a top speed of 200 km/h. Because of the new transmission, the model is capable of incredible fuel economy and high performance.

The new Lexus RX 350, the latest iteration of the World?s most successful luxury SUV, goes on sale throughout Europe in April 2006. The RX model range?s unrivalled reputation is founded on aerodynamically class-leading styling allied to excellent dynamic performance -most notably in the fields of engine performance, NVH, handling, ride comfort and braking- as well as a comprehensive range of advanced, technologically innovative features including air suspension, Neural Network Control air conditioning, an electrically operated tailgate, 40:20:40 split/folding rear seats and Intelligent Adaptive Front Lighting System (I-AFS). The RX range further benefits from the highest levels of active and passive safety, including a segment-first SRS knee airbag.

Reflecting Lexus? ongoing commitment to the pursuit of perfection in automotive quality, performance, technology and refinement, the RX model range has consistently topped the JD Power and Associates annual awards, winning the IQS (Initial Quality Study) category in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005, as well as the APEAL (Automotive, Performance, Execution, Layout) category in 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

The new, 2006 Lexus RX 350 further refines driving pleasure through the classleadng performance of a new 3.5 litre V6 petrol powerplant. Mated to an ultrasmooth, 5-speed automatic transmission, this outstanding unit offers power and torque increases of 53kW/71DIN hp and 59Nm respectively over the previous RX 300, whilst simultaneously reducing fuel consumption by some 8%. Enhanced Noise Vibration and Harshness measures guarantee a marked reduction in noise levels at all vehicle speeds, whilst the new luxury SUV also features a new Mark Levinson? Premium audio system, as well as a new, high-speed Lexus Navigation System.
The highly compact, all-aluminium, chain-driven double overhead camshaft, 24 valve, 3,456cc V6 petrol engine features Dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) - an optimised variable intake and exhaust valve timing system- to achieve the perfect balance of high performance with low fuel consumption and emissions. A two-stage intake system featuring high efficiency ports with oblique spray injectors switches the air inlet path in accordance with driving conditions to both enhance performance and reduce noise. The port diameter and length have been optimised to improve output and torque, whilst an electric Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) adjusts the intake pipe length according to engine rpm, further boosting torque. Pentroof combustion chambers combine with iridium, high-ignitability spark plugs for excellent combustion and anti-knocking performance.

Roller rocker arms have been adopted for the chaindriven valve system, the marked reduction in friction between the cam and sliding components -15% at 2,000rpm- helping enhance fuel efficiency. In addition, the diameter of both intake and exhaust valves has been enlarged, whilst a concave camshaft profile increases valve lift to boost output. The system requires no valve clearance adjustment over the life of the vehicle. Within a stainless steel exhaust system, gas flow has been optimised to reduce exhaust pressure loss and enhance performance. And a catalyst-integrated exhaust manifold features ultra-thin-plate ceramic catalytic converters to further improve performance, significantly reduce warmup times and, hence, reduce emissions.

Extensive measures have been taken to maximise weight reduction within a remarkably compact powerplant design. The new V6 employs an aluminium die-cast cylinder block and intake manifold, lightweight pistons and a resin-made intake chamber. The overall engine assembly is made lighter and more compact through the installation of the water pump, oil filter and oil pump within the chain cover.

The new 3.5 litre V6 develops 203 kW/276 DIN hp @ 6,200 rpm and 342 Nm of torque at 4,700 rpm, awarding the new Lexus luxury SUV performance figures of 0-100kph in just 7.8 seconds, class leading in-gear acceleration and a top speed of 200 kph. With C02 emissions of 264g/km, the highly sophisticated 3.5 litre unit returns an outstanding 11.2 L/100km in the combined cycle.

ECT AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION

AND 4-WHEEL DRIVE Equipped with Engine Torque Prediction, a Shift Phase Controller, a newly developed, high-efficiency torque converter and precise hydraulic control of the gearshift mechanism, the new transmission?s wide range gear train promotes superior performance and excellent fuel economy.

The gearbox is able to execute multiple down-shifts on throttle kick-down ?for example, from 4th to 2nd gearwithout the need to shift through intermediate ratios, significantly reducing downshift times, eliciting an even smoother gearshift and greatly enhancing throttle response. Moving the gearshift across activates a sequential-shift system, offering enhanced engine braking, precise control and greater driving involvement.

The RX 350?s full-time 4-wheel drive deploys an even 50:50 torque split between front and rear wheels via a simple, compact and highly rigid transfer system, featurig a bevelled gear centre differential for optimum weight reduction. The RX 350?s adopts a new centre differential featuring a viscous coupling. The limited-slip function inherent in this system not only promotes the smooth delivery of the increased horsepower generated by the new 3.5 litre V6, but also, allied to Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), further enhances traction and stability under all driving conditions.

ENHANCED NOISE VIBRATION AND HARSHNESS

Within the RX 350?s highly rigid body structure, particular attention has been paid to noise and vibration reduction, ensuring that, though substantially more powerful than its predecessor, the new Lexus luxury SUV is significantly quieter at all engine speeds. Strategically placed sound absorbing materials to the bonnet, fender seal, dashboard, cabin floor, front footwells, roof headliner and transmission tunnel, allied to sound insulation to the cross-sections of all pillars combined with the use of foamed vinyl chloride in the car reduce the transmission of engine and road noise to the cabin to a minimum. In addition, the existing windscreen laminate has been replaced with a new three layer film, significantly reducing engine noise and wind noise at high cruising speeds.

MULTIMEDIA AND NAVIGATION SYSTEM

For those wanting best-in-segment best on-board infotainment, a new Mark Levinson? Premium system features a 10 channel, 300Watt amplifier, Dolby digital and DTS sound and 11 speakers. The system will also play MP3 and WMA files stored on an CD or DVD.

When installed in conjunction with the 7?, 32,000 colour range, LCD centre console display screen of the next generation Lexus Navigation System, the Mark Levinson? Premium System introduces Lexus owners to the unparalleled audio experience of discrete home theatre entertainment optimised for the playback of music, music videos and DVD films within the luxurious environment of the new RX 350 interior. Employing a DVD disc to store map information of the entire Western Europe, the next generation Lexus Navigation System?s speed of calculation has increased an impressive 65%, whilst the graphic draw performance is also three times faster. These enhancements offer substantially faster route calculation and map scrolling, areas in which the previous system was already a market benchmark.

The new Lexus Navigation System is equipped with 3-language voice activation, and voice guidance is available in 10 languages. The system is one of the few on the market to combine the advantages of both touch-screen and voice activation. A Search function that allows the user to search for the nearest Point of Interest using voice recognition has been incorporated, as well as a route tracing feature and lane guidance in major European cities. The voice recognition system responds to more than 200 spoken commands relating to the navigation, phone and audio functions in English, German and French.

A Bluetooth? phone, hands-free system is also integrated into the new Lexus Navigation System. It enables the user to make and receive hands-free phone calls by operating the touch-sensitive 7" LCD screen, or the steering pad switches. Moreover, the system can store all the contact numbers from a mobile phone or PDA SIM or USIM card.

Also available in the RX 350, the Lexus Parking Assist Monitor features a video camera mounted in the rear number plate surround that projects a full colour rear view of the surroundings onto the centre console display screen. Even greater manoeuvring accuracy is promoted by screen-generated guidelines which indicate the prospective path of the vehicle based on the current steering position, both for serial or parallel parking.