Updated: Apr 1, 2022
I've alluded to it before, but black trim and black wheels are now officially a thing. Understand it or not, like it or not, when the Lexus RX 350, the machine once known as the unofficial vehicle of the ladies who lunch, launches a murdered-out trim level, it's here and there's no fighting the zeitgeist.
The black wheels and black trim add a bit of menace to the performance-minded F SPORT.
There are no changes under the hood from other gasoline powered RX 350s---it's the same time-tested 3.5-liter V6 with 295 horsepower on tap. There's an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and 60 miles an hour comes up from a standing start in the low-seven-second range. Not shabby at all. EPA fuel economy estimate is 20 city/27 highway.
In fact, apart from a special F SPORT tuned suspension with front and rear performance dampers, which contributes a firmer ride and slightly better handling, the pieces that make up the F SPORT package are cosmetic...20-inch alloy wheels, F SPORT steering wheel, shift knob, badges, bumpers, grille, seats, gauges and scuff plates, aluminum trim, LED ambient illumination, memory for the steering wheel, outside mirrors and driver's seat and stainless steel rear door garnish.
The base price of the 2021 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT is $48,550. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are rain-sensing wipers, a nine-speaker multimedia system with six USB ports and an eight-inch touchscreen and automatic dual-zone climate control.
Our tester had several extra-cost options. The Black Line package is among them, bringing a black grille surround and body side graphic, black 20-inch wheels, a blue-stitch interior, and a Zero Halliburton Edge two-piece lightweight luggage set for $685. There was also $200 for a wireless phone charger, $600 for a color head-up display, $640 for heated and ventilated front seats, $1,675 for triple-beam LED headlamps, cornering lamps and LED turn signals, $3,365 for a 15-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system with an upgraded 12.3 inch navigation system, $150 for a touch-free rear liftgate with kick sensor, $1,365 for a panoramic view monitor with intuitive parking assist and rear cross-traffic braking, and $1,350 for a power tilt/slide moonroof with aluminum roof rails.
With $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Lexus RX 350 F SPORT Black Line is $59,605.
And that strikes me as an absolutely on-target price for a loaded Lexus RX---F SPORT or not, Black Line or not. An aesthetic traditionalist like me would probably pass on both of those trims (and more than likely spring for the RX 450h L hybrid), but Lexus is covering all the bases and it's hard to argue with that.