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Car & Driver Review: The 1998 Lexus RX 300

Lexus RX 300 1998

Car & Driver has republished its original review of the 1998 Lexus RX 300, and it’s a trip through time. This passage in particular was an interesting insight:

The RX300 is motivated by Lexus’s new aluminum 24-valve, 3.0-liter V-6. Variable intake-valve timing (or VVT-i in Lexus parlance) helps it crank out an invig­orating 220 horsepower—five more than the ML320, with its 18-valve V-6. Working through a four-speed automatic of impeccable smoothness, it hauled our four-wheel-drive, 4020-pound RX300 to 60 mph in just 8.2 seconds. In the inevitable Rodeo Drive stoplight drag, the 4443-pound Mercedes, at 9.8 seconds to 60 mph, doesn’t stand a chance. On a roll, the Lexus outruns the Benz, too.

This engine is one of the best parts of the RX300. It revs eagerly, and with near­ sports-car-like smoothness. The result is a healthy dose of excitement in what is nor­mally a blasé driving experience.

LexsCTJill

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Interesting read. Is it really true the heated seats have to go on for both seats together? Sounds a bit odd
 
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I love the understated lines. Bring this back for the next generation. Take a tip from the Porsche Cayenne - you don't need to throw the baby out with the bath water every gen. When you have a great design, finesse it, don't get rid of it.
 
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Early to mid 2000's these models performed above most comparably priced competitors - LS 400, LS 430, SC 400, SC 430, RX 300, GS 430. Some of these models at the end of there long lifespan started to show their age though.
The early Lexus years is when I become a Lexus fan. Nowadays, however, I drive two BMWs. But I still follow Lexus hoping they return to their glory days.
 

LexsCTJill

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Early to mid 2000's these models performed above most comparably priced competitors - LS 400, LS 430, SC 400, SC 430, RX 300, GS 430. Some of these models at the end of there long lifespan started to show their age though.
The early Lexus years is when I become a Lexus fan. Nowadays, however, I drive two BMWs. But I still follow Lexus hoping they return to their glory days.
We have had multiple Lexus models from that era. We still have an LX450 which has 6 with just 212hp vs the big Escalade at the time that had a V8 and 255hp. We then had a LX470 which had a poor 235hp where the Escalade was 300hp plus. I also remember the Cadillac Northstar at some point make 325horse while the Lexus 4.3 of that era was stuck at 290hp. You had said specs so I was just giving you my opinion.
 
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Ah, I see. No, by "Spec" I mean a lot more than just HP. I actually rarely use HP as a spec when researching vehicles. I look at the actual performance specs. And not to bash Cadillac, but I think their competitor to the LS 430 was the Deville or DTS and the LS 430 was alway quicker then that model. And those Northstar V8s have about as good a reputation as most BMW V8s.
 
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That 3UZ-FE was probably one of my favorite engines. It had great low end torque, the power delivery was so linier and smooth, and the way it felt and sounded was sublime. I replaced it with an LS 460 and regretted it, even though the 1UR-FSE made about 100 hp more. I never really liked that engine.
 
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