The new Lexus RX 450h not only brings sophistication and refinement to the luxury SUV market, its full hybrid system delivers the kind of tax savings its rivals simply cannot match. For company car drivers, the model’s class leading 145g/km CO2 emissions attract a benefit-in-kind tax rating of 20 per cent, which means over a three-year period they will be paying thousands of pounds less than those who choose an equivalent BMW X5, Range Rover Sport or other premium brand model.

Lexus RX 450

Taking the new RX 450h Luxury as an example, the three-year tax bill for a 40 per cent tax payer is £12,173, whereas the driver of a Range Rover Sport SDV6 SE will pay £20,549 – an additional £8,376. The new RX 450h F Sport enjoys a similarly favourable tax position, too. Full details are shown in the tables below.

The financial advantages enjoyed by RX 450h drivers are just part of the picture. The new model delivers better performance, sharper styling and even higher equipment levels than before. Owners also benefit from customer service that has been acknowledged as the best in the business, most recently in an 11th consecutive top ranking in the annual Auto Express Driver Power dealer survey.

The Luxury model is newly equipped with dark-finish 19-inch alloy wheels, a new 12-speaker audio package with DAB digital tuner and DVD player, front and rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and an HDD satellite navigation system controlled by Lexus’s Remote Touch Interface, a system that is as simple and intuitive to use as a computer mouse. Other features include Eco EV, Snow and Sport selectable drive modes to maximise the efficiency of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, a powered tailgate and eight-way electrically adjustable and heated front seats with memory setting and perforated leather upholstery.

The new RX 450h F Sport is the first RX to adopt sportier styling and handling. It’s easily distinguished frrom the rest of the range with its stronger exterior styling, in particular the treatment of the new Lexus “spindle” grille design, and its 10-spoke F Sport alloys. Interior features include sports pedals, aluminium-effect trim inserts and scuff plates, smooth leather upholstery, an F Sport steering wheel, head-up display and a black roof lining. It also gains LED headlamps with Lexus’s I-AFS adaptive system, turning the light beam in line with the vehicle’s steering angle.

Entry point to the range is the RX 450h SE, with the Premier model completing the line-up, introducing elements such as more luxurious semi-aniline leather, a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system with six-DVD changer and a side view camera.

RX 450h competitor BIK tax comparisons

Model RX 450h Luxury BMW X5 xDrive 4.0d SE Auto ML 350 CDi BlueTec Special Edition Volvo XC90 D5 Executive Geartronic Audi Q7 3.0 TDi SE Tiptronic Range Rover Sport SDV6 SE
CO2 (g/km) 145 198 189 219 195 230
OTR price £48,495 £47,455 £43,990 £44,845 £45,170 £49,795
Employee benefit-in-kind rate 2012/13 20% 33% 31% 35% 33% 35%
Employee 3yr BIK 40% tax payer £12,173 £19,152 £16,694 £18,560 £18,219 £20,549
3yr tax position vs RX 450h +£6,979 +£4,522 +£6,388 +£6,046 +£8,376
Model RX 450h F SPORT BMW X5 xDrive 4.0d M Sport Auto ML 350 CDi BlueTec Sport Volvo XC90 D5 R-Design Geartronic Audi Q7 3.0 TDi S line Tiptronic Range Rover Sport SDV6HSE
CO2 g/km 145 198 189 219 195 230
OTR price £51,995 £51,880 £48,490 £41,295 £46,065 £57,095
Employee benefit-in-kind rate 2012/13 20% 33% 31% 35% 33% 35%
Employee 3yr BIK 40% tax payer £13,055 £20,957 £18,422 £17,069 £18,585 £23,615
3yr tax position vs RX 450h +£7,902 +£5,368 +£4,014 +£5,530 +10,560