Lexus RX 350
From Lexus press: Lexus introduced the next generation V-6 powered RX 350, a benchmark in the luxury utility vehicle segment, for 2010. Lexus inaugurated the luxury crossover category with the original RX 300 model in 1998 and introduced the first-ever luxury hybrid in 2005. More than one million Lexus RX models have been sold worldwide, making it the most successful luxury utility vehicle. The all-new trendsetting RX350, which went on sale February 2009, once again raises the bar for design, engineering and luxury innovation in the segment.
The 2010 Lexus RX 350 teams a revised 3.5-liter V6 engine with an all-new six-speed Multi-Mode Automatic Transmission. New intake and exhaust manifolds improve engine breathing for enhanced performance and fuel economy. Horsepower is increased to 275 at 6,200 rpm from 270, while Lexus maximized the torque output to better meet the needs of luxury crossover drivers. Ninety percent or more of the 256 lb.-ft. of peak torque is available from 2,300 to 6,100 rpm, an optimal range where torque is most utilized. An insulated engine cover, styled in the shape of two cylinder banks, conceals the new V6 to help ensure a quiet cabin; easy-access points facilitate routine service.
Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) is used to control both intake and exhaust camshafts independently, optimizing engine performance at all speeds and loads. Refinements to the valvetrain, including roller rocker arms and slimmer valve stems, reduce friction and weight to improve fuel economy. Also helping to enhance torque is the improved Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS), which varies the intake runner length in response to engine speed and throttle position. The ETCS-i (Electronic Throttle Control System-intelligent) softens throttle response during initial acceleration for smoother takeoff and to help reduce wheel spin.
The 2010 RX 350’s new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous five-speed. Using miniature high-flow linear solenoids to control transmission-fluid line-pressure, the transmission yields quicker shifting response. The torque converter uses a new low-speed lockup damper to enable lock-up from second to sixth gear to help improve the fuel economy.
When applying the accelerator pedal rapidly during kick-down, the new direct-downshift control allows the transmission to directly shift from sixth to third or fifth to second, skipping the intermediate gears to achieve the quickest response. Under normal kick-down pedal application, downshift control uses the intermediate gears to ensure the smoothest shift is attained. “Shift shock,” which was already commendably low in the previous model’s five-speed transmission, is further reduced.
The Multi-Mode Automatic Transmission allows the driver to shift manually when desired by first moving the gated shift lever to the “S” slot and then pushing it forward ("+") to up shift and backward ("-") to downshift. An Artificial Intelligence shifting (AI-SHIFT) control, new to RX, sets shift patterns based on the vehicle speed and throttle position and estimates road conditions and driver input to automatically control the shift pattern. For example, when driving in hilly areas, AI-SHIFT can prevent unnecessary shifting. When descending inclines, the transmission prevents up shifts to achieve more engine braking.