Review and photos by Lesley Wimbush
“I have often wished to be human. I study people carefully, in order to more closely approximate human behaviour.”Lt. Commander Data,
Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Hero Worship (#5.11)”, 1992.
Although the highly sophisticated android Data was capable of tasks far beyond human capability, he was still lacking that ineffable quality of the most humble members of humanity: a soul. It’s not perfection that gives life to a culture, a creature, or an art form, but the endearing flaws that lend a character that we’re drawn to in the first step towards connection. “I am superior in so many ways… but I would gladly give it up to be human” he once said to Commander Riker. (“Encounter at Farpoint”).
I’m reminded of this whenever I get behind the wheel of a Lexus product.
Beautifully engineered, technologically innovative and always boasting fine craftsmanship, the typical Lexus is nonetheless, ultimately soulless. Impeccably rendered, they’re the equivalent of automotive androids.
But it really boils down to personal taste, doesn’t it? Those trendy boutique hotels – whose slick décor and androgynous staff may be incredibly compelling for the hip – leave me vaguely out of sorts, longing for a more rustic charm. Same goes for music – the electronic perfection of auto-tuned pop just cannot stir the soul like the ragged passion of a live blues performance.
For those aspiring to a stature in life removed from distastefully mundane realities, such as driving, a finely engineered status symbol like a Lexus crossover is just the ticket to provide the luxurious yet insulated setting so richly deserved.
2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport. Click image to enlarge
The Lexus RX 350 has long reigned supreme over the high-end luxury crossover segment – a category it virtually established when introduced almost 15 years ago. Though it may be the bestselling nameplate in the Lexus portfolio, the very attributes that made the RX 350 such a success are the same ones that, unfortunately, hold very little appeal for most male buyers. Not to mention that the luxury ute market has since exploded – with vehicles from some of the finest premium manufacturers in the business upping the competition ante.
But what if you want all that – with just a flicker of potency to satisfy the last vestiges of rebel enthusiast lurking in your corporate soul?
Like Data’s “emotion chip” transplant, the F Sport badge represents Lexus’s quest to inject some passion into the driving experience.
Introduced this year, the 2013 RX 350 F Sport has a hint of testosterone in its sculpted sheet metal, finned taillights and gunmetal 19-inch rims. Under its taut hood is the same 3.5L V6 as the lesser RX 350, producing 270 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque.
But it’s mated to a new eight-speed transmission with paddle shifters, and the F Sport variants feature a much firmer suspension setup.