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Next Generation Lexus Hybrid Drive Gives RX 450h All-Round Advantage

First in a series introducing key features of the new luxury crossover: the full hybrid powertrain.

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The new RX 450h luxury crossover introduces the second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive, a full hybrid system with advanced powertrain technology that delivers an unprecedented combination of fuel economy, low emissions and performance, well beyond the scope of any of its segment rivals.

All the full hybrid system’s components have been revised to achieve dramatically improved efficiency: fuel consumption is reduced by 28 per cent, while at the same time engine power is 10 per cent greater than in the RX 400h. The improvements Lexus has made also contribute to substantially lower emissions, quieter operation and greater driver satisfaction.

Total power output is 295bhp (299 DIN hp), enabling a top speed of 124mph and nought to 62mph acceleration in 7.9 seconds. This performance comes with 44.8mpg combined cycle fuel consumption and 148g/km CO2 emissions, a combination that cannot be matched in the RX 450h’s class, not even by smaller and less powerful 2.0-litre diesel models. This has a direct impact on running costs, for example in a 14 per cent benefit-in-kind company car tax rating – a level typically associated with more modest C-segment models, “eco” specials and other hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius.

The fuel efficiency and performance are both further improved by the provision of three new driving modes: ECO, EV and SNOW.

Linked to an indicator in the speedometer, the new ECO mode provides a modified, non-linear throttle action and air conditioning control to support fuel-efficient driving. The relationship between accelerator pedal movement and system output is automatically controlled to reduce throttle response to aggressive driver inputs, improving fuel economy and promoting smoother driving. The air conditioning load on the engine is also reduced sharply under acceleration, further adding to fuel efficiency.

The vehicle automatically runs in EV, electric motor-only mode on start-up, but it can also be selected by the driver using the multi-information switch on the steering wheel. In EV mode the vehicle can be driven around town with minimal noise and zero emissions, with driving range determined by the level of battery charge. As the petrol engine is switched off, the EV drive mode contributes to a significant reduction in overall fuel consumption.

SNOW mode, also selected using the multi-information switch, helps modulate use of the accelerator pedal and improve vehicle stability when pulling away on snow or other slippery road surfaces. Pedal inputs are automatically adjusted to reduce driving torque and minimise wheelspin; should there be any wheelspin, the rear electric motor engages to improve traction.