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                                                                          2006 Lexus RX 400h
                          IMAGE  CREDITS -Lexus

Lexus RX 400h 2006, World's First Luxury Hybrid SUV

2006 Lexus RX 400h, the world's first gas/electric hybrid-powered luxury vehicle. The 2006 Lexus RX 400h is a 4-door, 5-passenger luxury sport-utility. Based on the RX 330, the best-selling SUV in the luxury category, the Lexus RX 400h delivers greater performance, improved fuel efficiency and significantly reduces emissions while sacrificing none of its luxury or utility. It's hybrid engine that achieves 31-mpg in the city and 27-mpg on the highway.

The first luxury vehicle to feature hybrid technology, the Lexus RX 400h incorporates a new, advanced Hybrid Synergy Drive system that combines the 3.3-liter V6 engine powering 268 BHP with a high-torque electric drive motor-generator, plus a rear electric drive motor-generator to provide on-road all-wheel drive capability.              

      Engine                                      V6, 3.3L
      HP    268 BHP@ 5600 rpm
      Displacement     3300cc (201 cu. in.)
      Torque    212 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
      Weight lb (kg)    4365 (1980)
      Fuel Type    Gasoline - Petrol
      Acceleration 0-60  mph        7.3 Sec.
      Top speed    112 mph (180 Km/h)
      Driveline    FWD/AWD
      Price (approx)    $42,000

With a combined system output of approximately 268 horsepower, and more significantly, 3,500 lb.-ft. of axle torque at launch, the Lexus RX 400h delivers rapid acceleration with unexpected fuel efficiency. At 7.3 seconds, acceleration from zero to 60 mph is better than many V8-powered competitors. The Lexus RX 400h's EPA combined fuel economy rating of 29 mpg exceeds the average for new compact sedans. With a 31 mpg EPA rating in the city, it also exceeds most V8-equipped luxury SUVs by over 100 percent in everyday city driving.

'The 2006 Lexus RX 400h opens a new era in luxury vehicles, setting a new benchmark for luxury SUV performance and environmental compatibility,' said Bob Carter, Lexus group vice president and general manager. 'It's truly a breakthrough in terms of hybrid technology because, for the first time, it adds an enhanced performance dimension to the widely known hybrid advantages of increased fuel economy and low emissions.'

The new Lexus RX 400h is the premium model in the RX series, adding numerous standard features that are offered as options on the RX 330. The seamless power delivery of the hybrid powertrain is another plus for the RX 400h, because it feels even smoother than conventionally powered vehicles. The RX 400h is rated as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) in California (Tier 2 – Bin 3 in other states), emitting over 90 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than conventionally-powered vehicles.

Externally, the Lexus RX 400h differs in subtle ways from the RX 330. The RX 400h features a revised grille, a new front fascia with additional air intake, sporty round foglamps, unique 18-inch alloy wheels and Light Emitting Diode (LED) tail lamps. Inside, brushed aluminum accents replace wood trim, and a power meter replaces the tachometer. The Lexus RX 400h also includes struts with internal rebound springs and linear control valves and features specific suspension tuning for sportier handling.

Lexus RX 400h Other Specifications:
Airbags: Driver Passenger Side
Miles Per Gallon
    City: 31 MPG - 33 MPG
    Highway: 27 MPG - 28 MPG
Transmission: Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable

RX 400h Hybrid System
Electric Motor
Type: Permanent magnet electric motor
         Motor Generator 2 (MG2)
Power Output: 167 HP @ 4500.00 RPM
Torque:           247 Ft-Lbs @ 1500.00 RPM
Voltage: 650 V
Type: Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
Power: 45 kw
Voltage: 288V, Hybrid Battery Pack.

Lexus Hybrid Technology with New Electric AWD System

The Lexus RX 400h is defined as a 'full hybrid,' which means that it is capable of operating in electric-only or gas engine-only mode as well as a mode that combines the power of the gas engine and electric motor. In contrast, other hybrid technologies are not capable of running only on electrical power, but instead require constant gas engine operation.

The Lexus RX 400h uses a 3.3-liter V6 that is based on the engine in the RX 330 but with modifications to promote smooth integration with the hybrid system. These include revised calibrations to the Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) systems.

In making the transition to a hybrid powertrain, the alternator, power steering pump, water pump and AC compressor are no longer engine belt-driven. This is because the gas engine often shuts down—a fuel-saving benefit of the hybrid system—especially when the vehicle is stopped or driven slowly through traffic. With the exception of the alternator, which is replaced by motor-generators, all components are now electrically powered which means notably lower parasitic losses to the engine and improved fuel consumption.

The hybrid system uses a 288-volt DC Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack that fits neatly under the rear seat. The battery's power is directed through a 'boost converter' that efficiently raises voltage to 650V DC. An inverter changes this to 650V AC, providing its elevated power to a front-mounted 123-kW electric motor that turns as high as 12,400 rpm.