Lexus set a design brief in the last few years to make less-boring cars and SUVs. One of the big ways that Lexus is doing that is through its Lexus F SPORT packages that add extra trim and, critically, active suspension and other handling upgrades. BMW has its M line, Audi the S, Hyundai the N, and Lexus picked F. It’s been a staple of Lexus’s cars, but this Lexus trim could F upgrade SUV, too.
Is the F SPORT package worth getting?
The F SPORT package comes in two flavors, Design and Handling on most SUVs. The Design package adds fancy trim and leather. The one we like is the SPORT version that enhances handling with a variety of options based on the model that offer tighter-fitting seats, paddle shifters, and better brakes. Not every SUV gets it, but the Active Variable Suspension is key to many F SUVs, and it uses G-force and yaw sensors to significantly improve body roll and traction that you can feel. It works off-road too by reducing the damping to help smooth out rough surfaces.
Not all of Lexus’s SUVs get the special SPORT treatment. The GX, for example, is more off-road focused and instead of a sport package it gets the Multi-Terrain Select feature that preps it for dirt roads.
What does F SPORT add to the RX?
Lexus did a lot to reduce the weight, and thus the handling capability of the new-for-2023 RX. The new SUV weighs 200 pounds less, yet its platform is stiffer, and it has a longer wheelbase for stability. The RX 500h F SPORT Performance version is the top dog, and it includes the 2.4-liter turbocharged engine with a hybrid booster designed to take on BMWs. In the RX’s case, the F SPORT package adds more stopping power, from six-piston brakes, and 21-inch wheels. It should be quick, too, with 367 horsepower.
The RX SPORT also gets a new version of Lexus’s hybrid system that adds all-wheel drive that supplies extra power to the rear wheels. Pricing has not been released.
The big LX 600 skips the active suspension
The F SPORT on the big LX doesn’t get the adaptive suspension but instead gets improved front and rear dampers, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and a stabilizer. Though those upgrades will help the massive LX handle the pavement a bit better, the first F SPORT package on it really focuses on new seats, a new black grille, and textured grippy leather surfaces. For 2022, it starts at $103,345 for the F SPORT version.
What does F SPORT mean on the Lexus NX?
For 2022 Lexus added the F SPORT Handling package to the NX SUV. It adds the AVS suspension and front and rear performance dampers. It comes with dark graphite aluminum trim, bolstered sport seats, and a new steering wheel and aluminum pedals. The upgraded package on the NX is only available on the NX 350 and NX 450h+, where it also adds the 14-inch touchscreen. The NX 350 starts at $46,625 and the 450h+ starts at $56,635
The UX is a performance hybrid with the F
The UX is only available as a five-passenger hybrid that is designed to tackle the urban jungle, not the real jungle. Lexus UXs always handled well, but Lexus says it beefed up the UX with 20 new spot welds on the body to increase structural rigidity and also recalibrated the electronic power steering and shock absorbers. But the F SPORT Design and Handling packages do add a bit more. On the design side, you get different wheels, a new grille, a black roof, a moonroof, and more. The Handling package adds performance dampers and the Active Variable Suspension, which adds comfort, and quietness, and critically keeps the UX flat which will help you keep pace on back roads.
The US250h stars at $35,850. The F SPORT Design appearance package starts at $38,310, while the handling package is an additional $4,970. All-wheel drive is a $1,400 option on either.