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2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance review (video)

It’s hard to believe the Lexus RX is now in its fifth-generation. The Japanese luxury automaker is often credited with creating the luxury crossover segment, having debuted the first-generation RX all the way back in 1997 – some 27 years ago.

Lexus was also the first in the segment with a hybrid, with the 2003 Lexus RX 400h, so it’s only fitting we are driving its spiritual successor today in the form of the 2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport. This is the more performance-focused option, with a more affordable 2.5-litre, naturally aspirated hybrid powertrain available in the form of the RX 350h (5L/100km in 2WD or 5.4L/100km for AWD).

Plug-in hybrid models are available overseas, but not presently in the Australian lineup. Nevertheless, 345 units have found homes in the first two months of 2024, placing it fourth in the SUV Large over $80,000 category, behind the Kia EV6, BMW X5 and Land Rover Defender.

Riding atop a Lexified version of the TNGA-K platform, we sampled this oriental luxo-cruiser to see whether it still has the magic that saw it become a runaway hit all those years ago.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-rear

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance: Specifications

Engine: 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder
Electrical: 1.44kWh battery, 2 x electric generators
Output (combined): 273kW
Gearbox: Six-speed  auto
Drive type: All-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 21×8.0, 235/50
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 2120kg
Power-to-weight: 7.76:1 (kg:kW)
Official consumption: 6.5L/100km
Our consumption: 9.9L/100km
Fuel tank/Fuel type: 65L/95 RON
Power efficiency: 42kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.24 seconds*
0-100km/h: 6.54 seconds*
60-110km/h: 4.51 seconds*
1/4 mile: 14.85 seconds at 152.4km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.856g*
100-0km/h braking: 40.45m in 3.23 seconds*
Max deceleration: -1.239g*
Decibel at idle: 45*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 84*
Starting price: $124,675

*Figures as tested by Driving Enthusiast on the day. Manufacturers’ claims may be different

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance: How much does it cost?

The RX 500h F Sport Performance is priced from $124,675 before on-road costs, positioning it firmly in the luxury segment. It’s backed by a service interval schedule of one year or 15,000km – whichever comes first – with a five-year/75,000km capped-price service program at $695 per visit. This pricing and servicing package is supported by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty and thre years of roadside assistance, in addition to the peace of mind that comes with owning any Lexus or Toyota product.

If that’s too big of an ask, the $86,904 RX 350h Luxury opens the range, or the non-hybrid RX 350 turbo F Sport from $98,370 .

Being an F Sport gives you hulking great 21-inch alloys, four wheel steering, adaptive damping, sunroof, and impressive six-piston brake calipers. Internally, there are sporting accoutrements, with beautifully crafted aluminium inserts atop the vents, pedals and steering wheel. While our test vehicle featured a black interior theme, the available red leather would be more befitting of the F Sport package, in our opinion. Stylistically, it looks like a mish-mash between the outgoing RX, infused with elements of the all-electric Lexus RZ in our view, and it works very well.

There’s no seven seater variant now – the previous RX L had useless rear seats anyway. Seven seater duties will now be handled by the TX internationally or the upcoming, Prado-based GX when it lands in Australia later this year.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-length

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance: Interior & packaging

Stepping inside the RX 500h reveals a precision-crafted interior with double-glaze glass and a level of solidity and isolation that makes a bank vault feel tinny. Its cabin boasts luxurious touches like suede on the doors, a high-quality Mark Levinson sound system, and unique Lexus signatures including a power-adjustable steering column, Alcantara finishes, and climate controls with digital displays within the dials.

The interior is further complemented by a brilliantly-presented 14-inch media screen and instrument panel, automatic parking assist, easily accessible camera view buttons, and a dash and HUD of outstanding clarity. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integrate superbly with Lexus’s proprietary software.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-interior

There’s precious little to complain about, except perhaps the adoption of electronic door handles (albeit with mechanical redundancy) and just a few Toyota-esque controls. Additionally, the sporting flavour seems at odds with the serene and luxurious philosophy of this vehicle and its key demographic.

On a personal note, I’d liked to see Lexus go the extra mile and add the cool steering yoke available in the Lexus RZ – but considering this is subject to ADR approval, there’s probably little chance of this wish being fulfilled. We hate to say it, but the Genesis GV80 just eclipses the RX for sheer luxury and comfort in our opinion.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-rear seats

Dimensions and weight underscore the vehicle’s substantial presence and luxury, measuring 4890mm long, 1920mm wide, and 1695mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2850mm and a kerb weight of 2160kg. The RX 500h offers a versatile boot space ranging from 612L to 1678L with the seats folded, a 1500kg braked towing capacity, and 188mm of ground clearance, enhancing its practicality and versatility.

Other areas we have to give props to Lexus for include four interior grab handles, over-the-air updates and the outstanding, 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. Truth be told, this did cut out at maximum volume with high bpm music, but this was just a momentary loss of bass and a few graphical elements.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-boot

How safe is the 2024 Lexus RX? As you would expect, all conceivable ADAS systems are superbly integrated with an ANCAP five star rating well earned.

Numerical scores are; 90 per cent for adult occupant protection, 89 per cent for child occupant protection, 89 per cent for vulnerable road user and 93 per cent for safety assist – we can attest to the latter with every single system in the RX augmenting rather than annoying the driver. The only criticism might be an overzealous driver attention monitoring system.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance: Powertrain & handling

The RX 500h is powered by a hybrid drivetrain combining a 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, delivering a total system output of 273kW. This setup is designed to provide a balance of power and efficiency, with a focus on acceleration rather than maximising fuel economy.

The absence of a ‘B’ mode on the gear selector and the lack of a battery level indicator suggest a shift in focus, with the battery system playing a less supportive role than in previous Lexus hybrids. More eco-conscious buyers might prefer the option of one-pedal driving and configurable re-gen modes.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-wheels

Driving dynamics are a highlight, with the vehicle demonstrating exceptional high-speed stability and a ride quality that balances comfort and responsiveness – despite the 21-inch alloys and low profile rubber. The chassis deserves special mention for its planted feel and direct steering, offering ample feedback to the driver, but superbly damped in that typical Lexus manner. Four-wheel steering makes parking manoeuvres an absolute delight, aided by the brilliant 360-degree camera system.

Despite a noticeable gap in gear changes from the six-speed auto that can interrupt momentum, the electric motors ensure a strong surge for overtaking and off-the-line response. Even under hard driving, fuel consumption remains below 9.9L/100km, although it’s not as efficient as some might expect from a hybrid.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-corner

It’s hard to fault the 500h. The chassis is outstanding in its ability. It might not take outright driver’s car honours for the class, but that’s not the most important thing to buyers in this segment. It offers up-to-the-minute infotainment system with OTA updates, transcendent attention to detail and craftsmanship and the superlative refinement that Lexus became instantly renowned for when it created the first LS 400 in 1989.

This is not a Toyota in drag. This is a sophisticated and highly accomplished intercontinental missile that can rub shoulders with the big boys in any conditions – be they an Australian freeway or German autobahn.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance-touchscreen

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance: Key attractions/reasons to buy

  • Innovative hybrid performance: The RX 500h introduces a performance-oriented hybrid system that redefines the driving experience without a one-dimensional focus on efficiency.
  • Luxurious interior with advanced tech: From electronic door openers to the Mark Levinson sound system, the cabin is true Lexus’s luxury pedigree.
  • Driving dynamics: The vehicle’s chassis and handling set a new standard for Lexus, offering high-speed stability and agility – even if its not the outright favourite driver’s car for the segment.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance: Key considerations before you buy

  • Shift away from efficiency: The new hybrid system’s focus on performance might disappoint those seeking traditional hybrid fuel economy. They might be better served with the more frugal RX 350h, at the expense of outright performance.
  • Complex interior electronics: The move to electronic actuation for traditional controls such as door opening may not appeal to all, despite the presence of mechanical redundancies.

2024 Lexus RX 500h F Sport Performance: Video

How does it rate against its rivals?
  • Price
  • Quality look & feel
  • Interior tech
  • Powertrain performance
  • Ride & handling
  • X factor (does it stand out in its class?)

Final word

It’s great that Lexus has blended its future-thinking hybrid engine technology with the dwindling F Sport sub-brand, because, in this, you really do get the best of both worlds. We love that Lexus has incorporated a totally unique powertrain in the RX 500h as well. This is genuinely interesting and hopefully a sign of things to come from the brand.

Mitchell Jones

Eccentric car nut and just as enthused by roasting an egg on the air cleaner of an old Hemi as he is hunting the horizon in a space-age electric supercar, Mitchell's passion for motoring started at a young age. He soon developed a meticulous automotive obsession for obscure facts. He joins Driving Enthusiast as a features writer and car reviewer, following a near 10-year stint at PerformanceDrive.

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