X5 vs. RX: The 2023 Lexus RX F Falls Short of X5 M Performance

It looks like Lexus is trying to take on the X5 M50i with its new RX500h F SPORT PERFORMANCE version with more than just a similar name. In a hypothetical X5 vs. RX drag race, the X5 would walk away from the RX. The new RX is being presented as a harder-edged, sport-focused, version of Lexus’s best-selling midsize luxury SUV to take on the Bimmer. The marketing materials show the new RX on a racetrack, for example. But does the 2023 X5 M50i beat the RX500h?

2023 Lexus RX at the racetrack
The new 2023 Lexus RX F SPORT | Lexus

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The X5 in base trim has a 335-horsepower straight-six engine. BMW’s six-cylinders are smooth, torquey, and fun to rev. The Lexus’s base engine is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 275 horsepower.

The performance versions of the Lexus RX vs. the BMW X5, though, are what we’re looking at. In the BMW’s case, the M50i has a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 523 horsepower. BMW says the X5 M50i can hit 60 miles per hour in just 4.1 seconds. The hotrod motor in the RX500h version has just 367 horsepower, total. It comes with a model-specific six-speed automatic and can hit 60 in 5.9 seconds, according to Lexus. 1.8 seconds is a lifetime at a racetrack.  

The Lexus brings hybrid power to challenge BMW

A bronze colored Lexus RX350h
2023 Lexus 350h | Lexus

The Lexus makes its 367 horsepower in an entirely different way than the X5. The new RX500h is a hybrid, thus the “h” in the name, and it combines a turbocharged four-cylinder with powerful electric motors in the front and the back. Lexus calls it DIRECT4 AWD, but it’s a clever way of adding not just power to an SUV but making it AWD at the same time. Instead of, like in the X5, using a complicated transfer case and drive shaft to route power to all the wheels, Lexus simply puts an electric motor in the back, saving weight and complexity. So, in the real world X5 vs RX comparo, the BMW would presumably be stopping at more gas stations.

It’s not just X5 vs. RX, but M vs. F

The X5 vs RX battle is on with the F vs M models.
2020 BMW X5 M50i | BMW

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When you see the M on a BMW, you know it means business. The M versions of BMW’s vehicles come with handling prowess and hotter motors than the basic cars, after all, the M does stand for “Motorsport.” About a decade ago, Lexus launched its F trim, and its hallmark is the F SPORT HANDING package. In the Lexus RX500h, the F adds a special Adaptive Variable Suspension as well as four-wheel steering. Like in the M50i, the RX5000h also gets upgraded brakes and a lot of exterior trim to tell the world what you’re driving.

If you order a more basic RX, like the RX350, the F option is more of an appearance package with the special Adaptive Variable Suspension.

How much is the 2023 Lexus RX vs. BMW X5 M50i? A lot less.

2023 Lexus RX in white with a male model
2023 Lexus RX 500h F SPORT PERFORAMANCE | Lexus

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The Lexus may not be quicker, but it will have a huge price advantage over the X5. Lexus has not released pricing for the new 2023 RX, but the order guide is now online. The 2022 Lexus RX started at about $46,000. The 2023 RX comes in three different versions: The RX 350, the RX 350h, and the RX 500h F SPORT PERFORMANCE edition. The base 350 comes with 275 horsepower and is available in front- or all-wheel drive. The hybrid version, the 350h, has slightly less power, but the hybrid system uses Toyota’s clever all-wheel drive system that simply adds an electric motor in the back.

Consumer Reports recommends the 2022 X5. J.D. Power, however, gives it an average score for its reliability. BMW didn’t update the X5 for 2023, other than a few different options and a slight price increase. The 2022 BMW X5 comes in four versions: the X5 xDrive40i or sDrive40i, X5 xDrive45e, X5 M50i, and M. The sDrive model is rear-wheel drive, while the xDrive is all-wheel drive. The 2023 BMW X5 comes in five flavors: the $61,600 sDrive40i, the $63,900 xDrive40i, the $65,700 xDrive45e, the $85,400 M50i, and the hotrod M for $108,900.

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