New York 2012: Sporty 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport Debuts, Uses 8-Speed Automatic

Lexus says luxury crossover customers have been asking for an edgier RX and, with the new 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport, the automaker hopes it has answered the call. The sporty SUV had its U.S. unveiling today at the New York auto show, and features more than just a face-lift.

“This is NOT just an appearance package,” said Mark Templin, Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus Division, Toyota Motor Sales at the auto show. “It’s a full-fledged performance package that has F-Sport suspension tuning, an eight-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters . . . making it faster from 0-to-60 than the base RX and it has better fuel economy.”

The new eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters backs the 270-hp 3.5-liter V-6, Lexus says the new transmission has quicker shift responses. Lexus’ Active Torque Control all-wheel-drive system uses an electronically controlled coupling ahead of the rear differential to vary front-to-rear torque distribution. During heavy acceleration or low traction driving, as much as 50 percent of the power can be sent to the rear wheels.

The automaker expects the 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport to earn EPA ratings of 19/25 mpg city/highway. That’s up 1 mpg city/highway compared to a 2012 Lexus RX 350 with all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission.

F Sport suspension upgrades include firmer shocks and springs for a lower ride height and a new lateral performance damper system. The new hardware may enhance the driving experience by reducing body vibrations, increasing steering feel, and improving ride quality. The 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport rides on exclusive 19-inch split five-spoke wheels wrapped in 235/55 tires.

Cosmetic updates include a massaged grille for more aggressive look, new front bumper with mesh design and fog lamps, and F Sport exterior badges. Perforated black leather seats have white perforation holes and white stitching adorns the seats, center console, and armrests. Ebony Bird’s Eye Maple trim is exclusive to the F Sport. An “F” logo on the steering wheel and aluminum pedals round out the interior changes.

For more on the 2012 New York International Auto Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our New York Show homepagr.

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