The exterior design team responsible for the Lexus RX luxury SUV had a clear mandate to give the SUV a unique identity with proportions to match its dynamic driving quality. The “Next Chapter” design, which was introduced in the Lexus NX, is a further development in which styling of the luxury SUV communicates directly with the car’s performance and driving experience.
Being the world’s first premium recreational SUV as well as the first luxury offering of a hybrid-electric model in the segment, the RX design team had to protect the quality of Lexus as a luxury brand globally whilst retaining a recognizable RX appearance. Nozomi Hirai, exterior design lead and her team, found the RX’s side profile to be of quite some importance. Nozomi says: “The first thing we wanted to express was a bold appearance and stance with a low centre of gravity and a solidly planted feel. To do this, we established a horizontal front-to-rear posture… by raising the front of the bonnet and lowering the bottom edge of the rear window, compared to the current RX. By lowering the belt line, we compressed the area above the wheels, creating a solid, low centre of gravity and well-grounded look.”
Although the new Lexus RX measures in overall similar length to the current model, the bonnet has been elongated with the front pillars pushed backwards. Furthermore, the wheelbase has been extended by 6mm. These changes give off the effect of the cabin appearing to be resting on the rear wheels, with a sense of powerful traction given off by sculpted door panels, flared rear wings and large 21-inch wheels.
Up front, the RX features a brand-new appearance with the “Next Chapter” design taking the spindle shape from signature Lexus grille, ultimately creating a new “spindle body” effect. The grille is now reinterpreted as one seamless unit and integrates into the body as part of visually expressing the RX’s electrified power. Flanking the grille is a set of new slim headlights and a 50mm wider front track.
The rear sees the retention of the “floating roof” effect which is achieved by a blackened rear pillar but with a stronger three-dimensional look. A coupe-like silhouette is created thanks to a 10mm lower roofline A shorter rear overhang and sweeping transition from the wings to the taillights heighten the look of a powerful rear-end. Heightening the wider look even further are the rear combination taillights housed in a light bar that spans the entire width of the RX whilst wrapping around the corners.
The local arm of the luxury brand will announce more specification, availability, and pricing details closer to the launch date. Lexus South Africa plans to introduce the new model to Mzansi in line with its global release in early 2023.