Luxury With An Edge: The 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT

Front 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT
The 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT.
The Lexus RX was the world's first luxury crossover, and for most of its life, it has been a vehicle that, without apologies, targeted middle-aged women of means, with, as Michael once wrote, shock absorbers filled with whipped cream and styling like a well-used bar of soap.

So why does the new RX 350 look like a fighter jet?

Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT
2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT
Well, as I noted in my review of the hybrid RX, the RX 450h, Lexus' new design language emphasizes emotion and performance.  All the RX models are sporting newly aggressive styling for 2016.  But one model----the F SPORT---backs up the looks with some performance equipment not found on the regular RX 350.

When you spend $49,125 for an RX 350 F SPORT,  you get all the standard features found in an RX 350, but there's more...much of it designed to make the RX 350 a higher performance car.  Not in terms of power---it shares the 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters found in all RX models (EPA estimate 19 city/26 highway)---but in terms of handling.  That means F SPORT tuned suspension with front and rear performance dampers, which virtually eliminate body lean and roll in corners.  It is a cliche, but the RX 350 F SPORT handles like a slot car. It simply goes where you point it, with no drama.  You would swear you are at the wheel of a sport sedan, not a rather tall crossover. Switch the variable suspension to Sport+ and you will carve canyons with the best of them.

Interior view of 2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT
2016 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT interior.
Inside, the RX's new for 2016 instrument panel is complemented by F SPORT exclusive leather interior trim with aluminum shift knob, pedals and meters as well as heated and ventilated F SPORT front seats. Outside, the F SPORT models get chrome dual exhaust and unique exterior trim.

As virtually always, the vehicle we tested had extra-cost options as well:

  • Blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert ($500)
  • Color heads-up display ($600)
  • Lexus safety system with triple-beam LED headlights ($2,250)
  • Touch-free power rear door ($200)
  • 12.3-inch navigation system/15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio package ($3,260)
  • Intuitive parking assist ($500)
  • Moonroof ($1,100)
  • F SPORT steering wheel ($50)
With $940 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price came to $58,525.  Yes, that is a lot of money.  But there is no other crossover in or out of its price range that combines luxury and sports-car handling the way the RX 350 F SPORT does.