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Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD

Sanjay ยท Aug 18, 2023 09:00 AM

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 01

Primed to pull tycoons' gazes away from the likes of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, the 2023 Lexus RX 500h F Sport has just been launched in Malaysia, priced from RM 498,888, fully imported (CBU) from Japan.

Turbo-hybrid performance

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 02

Big headline figures for the RX 500h; a combined 371 PS and 550 Nm of torque comes off its 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine (T24A-FTS) and hybrid system, good enough to give the RX 500h a 0 to 100 km/h time of 6.2 seconds.

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As the h implies, there's electrification by way of a parallel hybrid system that employs an electric motor on the front and rear axles.

Also read: 17 photos to let you decide if the all-new 2023 Lexus RX 350 is worthy over the X5 or GLE

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 01

Containing all that power are high-performance brakes, with six-piston calipers clamping on aluminium monoblock ventilated discs.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 02

Drive-by-wire shifter

No CVT business here as well, as the powertrain is mated to a conventional torque-converter six-speed automatic. It's all-wheel drive (AWD), packing the Direct4 drivetrain that effectively balances torque delivery between front and rear axles.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 03

Fun fact: the rear axles are powered by the electric motor only, while the front one can be driven by either the motor or the engine. As such, there's no need for a propeller shaft or a mechanical differential.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 04

The RX 500h's suspension array

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 05

Sewn from the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) chassis, the RX 500h also features a suspension setup that's specific to it; featuring a Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS) system where the rear wheels can steer up to 4ยฐ either way depending on the speed of the vehicle.

Also read: All-new 2023 Lexus RX 350 debuts in Malaysia, from RM 468,888, 2.4L turbo, 279 PS and 430 Nm

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 06

In other words, when you're driving fast, the rears turn in phase with the front wheels to aid stability and handling; vice versa in low-speed conditions to make tackling tight corners and spaces easier.

F-Sport goodness inside and out

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 07

Decked out in F-Sport guise, the RX 500h comes with several features unique to it: the 21-inch light alloy wheels in matte black, wrapped in velvety Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV tyres are one of those.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 08

Up front there's a bespoke interpretation of the signature spindle grille โ€“ where chrome linings sat on the 'regular' RX 350's front-end, the one here are all black hexagonal details. There's changes to the front bumper too, with the fog- and clearance lamps now fitted on the lower edges of the bumper.

Also read: Review: Lexus ES 250 F Sport facelift โ€“ Sometimes more is less

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 09

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 10

The tri-beam LED headlights come with an updated version of Lexus' BladeScan technology, in which 12 LED chips work with a rotating mirror mechanism that spins at 6,000 rpm. Why such ferocity? It's because the tech uses blade-shaped mirrors that rotate to vary the shape and depth of the light beam, and with such milimetric precision, Lexus engineers say this achieves greater beam accuracy.

A fitting evolution for a carmaker that pioneered the use of LED headlights in production cars โ€“ way back in 2006 with the Lexus LS.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 11

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 12

Trivia aside, the rear of the RX 500h also sees slight differences; the Blade LED lightbar is par for the course of the range, while the bumper is a new unit with more aggressive enhancements.

Also read: 8 premium SUVs launching in Malaysia in 2023; from all-new Lexus RX to Ferrari Purosangue

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 13

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 14

Rounding off the exterior are Jet Black accents on the side mirror, roof rails, window moulds, and peppered on the bumper as well. Colour choices for the discerning customer are White Nova Glass, Sonic Iridium, Graphite Black Glass Flake and Sonic Copper.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 15

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 16

The leather in the RX 500h is dimpled; different to the smooth ones of the RX 350

Tweaks in the interior includes seats made with Ultrasuede, made out of plant-derived raw materials and more importantly, exclusive to the RX 500h.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 17

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 18

Dark Spin Aluminium finish is also unique to this variant. Handling infotainment duties is the brilliant 14-inch screen that comes with wrieless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto.

Also read: Carmakers don't know how to tune suspension properly nowadays

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 19

Rounding off the additions this variant gets is the 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and aluminium sports pedals.

Full ADAS and parking assistant

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 20

On the safety front the RX 500h comes with Lexus Safety System+, which features a suite of safety and pre-collision systems designed to alert drivers and activate preventive measures to avoid accidents in daily driving situations.

Priced from RM 498k, 2023 Lexus RX500h launched in Malaysia; turbo hybrid lux SUV with 371 PS/550Nm, Direct4 AWD 21

Employing the 12 ultrasonic sensors and four cameras, the new RX 500h F-Sport's Lexus Teammate Advanced Park system makes parking a cinch. Not only does it warn of near objects, it assists through automatic control of steering, shift operation and braking; it's practically automatic parking.

Bookings and aftersales

Bookings open today (18-August 2023). The Lexus RX 500h F-Sport comes with a five years/unlimited mileage warranty, while the battery pack is tacked on with an 8-year/unlimited mileage package; extendable for another two years as an option.

Its introduction here means there's now 2 Lexus RX variants, with the other being the RM 468,888 Lexus RX 350 that was launched back in May 2023.

Also read: Malaysia says Yes to 2023 Toyota Alphard / Vellfire, No to Lexus LM, at least for now

Sanjay

Senior Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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