There is no question that rock’n’roll is great music, but the term means something much less fun when used to describe the quality of ride you get from your car. Lexus has designed and equipped its new RX to put an end to rocking and rolling, whether you are travelling on the highway, or driving on rougher off-road surfaces. The new luxury SUV offers Roll Skyhook Control, a system that takes active suspension performance to a higher level, securing a smoother and more stable ride and a more rewarding driving experience. The RX’s suspension has been updated and customers can also specify an Adaptive Variable Suspension system for sportier performance. Ride and handling have also been improved thanks to the engineering of a significantly more rigid vehicle body. The new Lexus RX is available with an active stabiliser system that minimises the amount of vehicle body roll, while at the same time keeping the car stable as you turn into a bend, and comfortable for everyone on board. The system – which was the first of its kind in the world – cancels out the roll, but stability can still be affected if you are driving over a bumpy surface or hit a pothole. This is where the new Roll Skyhook Control comes into play, adding a valuable new dimension to the performance of the active stabilisers. This highly responsive, electronic system calculates in an instant the virtual damping force that might occur and simultaneously creates a counter force. The sensation is like the vehicle being stabilised in mid-air – in effect “hooked in the sky”. The result is minimised body movement, so the driver can really enjoy steering the car through bends.
The new RX features an updated version of suspension system used in the current model: MacPherson struts at the front and a rear trailing arm and double wishbone set-up, with components fine-tuned for extra stability when cornering and improved handling overall. Changes include a larger front stabiliser bar, which gives both a crisper turning response and better ride quality. Sportier performance can be gained by specifying Lexus’s optional Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS). This automatically adjusts the damping force delivered by the shock absorbers at each wheel in response to the quality of the road surface and the driver’s inputs. For example, on rough roads, the system switches to a more compliant setting to maintain comfort. When driving through a bend, the damping force is firmer, to reduce body roll and give the RX more performance-focused, flatter cornering.
Building a more rigid body
As well as advanced suspension tuning and technology, the new RX reaps the benefits of having a more rigid body – a fundamental quality that has a positive impact on its handling, comfort and cabin quietness, as well as providing more robust crash protection. Lexus
has achieved this with innovative techniques, including a new ring-frame construction method to create stronger sections around the front and rear doors. Panel joints have been made stronger using high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding, and high tensile strength steel has been used at strategic points throughout, including the A and B-pillars and underbody crossmembers. Extra spot welds around the rear of the body also contribute to the car’s strength and handling stability.