Lexus AWD Cars

Lexus cars with an AWD setup are so much more than just luxury vehicles, they are also versatile driving machines that can handle uneasy conditions.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Nov 28, 2022
If you thought
was solely a luxury brand that only belongs under big city lights, think again! Their innovative all-wheel-drive (AWD) setups and associated traction technologies give these vehicles the capacity to handle a variety of terrestrial and weather conditions.
Mud, dirt, rain, snow, uneven surfaces, bumpy roads, unexpected driving conditions—you name it, a properly equipped Lexus can handle it. This isn’t your grandparent’s cut-and-dry luxury sedan anymore, these are versatile driving machines!
For further elaboration, the
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car insurance
, have curated this guide to everything you need to know about Lexus AWD models and why drivetrain matters. So buckle up, and let’s get started!
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How do Lexus AWD models work?

In a nutshell, all-wheel-drive vehicles are able to appropriately distribute power across all four tires to meet the demands of the current driving conditions. While many car brands have their own version of this driving technology with varying capacity and capabilities, Lexus brings a high level of innovation to their AWD setups.
Before we get into the details of which Lexus models have AWD, let’s define some of the technical features that you’ll come across:
  • Dynamic Torque Control: This comes standard in the Lexus AWD setup. Models with this feature can control torque distribution across the axles from 30/70 to 50/50 if needed. This sensing technology immediately provides appropriate traction in real time.
  • Torque Vectoring Differential: This enhanced feature is an electronic control that actively 'transfers' torque independently across wheels for improved steering and handling.
  • Torsen® limited-slip center differential: This ultimate performance feature operates with similar fundamentals to the previous two but can expertly maintain engine power in the process of traction distribution.
  • Multi-Terrain Select: These automatic driving modes adjust the demands of the AWD setup to match the appropriate driving conditions.
Now, let’s introduce you to the 2022 Lexus AWD lineup!

Which Lexus models have AWD?

Lexus IS

Starting price: $42,200
Body style: Base-level sedan
Engine type: 3.5 L V6
IS 300
IS 350 F Sport
have innovative drivetrain setups that allow these models to distribute power across the axles from 30/70 to 50/50 if needed. As a result, you’ll get enhanced traction that can handle a wide variety of road conditions. 

Lexus ES

Starting price: $42,025
Body style: Midsize sedan
Engine type: I-4
ES 250
ES 350
offer the same AWD capabilities and technology as the IS lineup but feature more trim levels: Base, F Sport, Luxury, and Ultra Luxury. Basically, the ES lineup gives you the option of bringing a little more comfort and sparkle to the dirt road.

Lexus LS

Starting price: $80,425
Body style: Full-size sedan
Engine type: Twin-turbo V6
The LS lineup takes Lexus’ sedan drivetrain technology to the next level. You’ll find the LS 500, LS 500 F Sport, and LS 500h equipped with Torsen® limited-slip center differential—this helps optimize traction, handling, and control in the most demanding road conditions.

Lexus RC-F

Starting price: $67,295
Body style: Coupe
Engine type: 5.0 L V8
is the luxury automaker's pride and joy of performance. With Torque Vectoring Differential, this race track speedster can dynamically distribute more torque to the outside rear wheels, allowing it to make sharper turns at higher speeds. If the base trim isn’t enough, you can pay an extra $35,000 for the insanely impressive Fuji Speedway Edition.

Lexus UX

Starting price: $36,825
Body style: Small hybrid SUV
Engine type: I-4 with Lexus Hybrid Drive
When it comes to the
UX 250h
(hybrid), its AWD setup is more about efficiency than tackling tricky road conditions—even though it does that too! Its exclusive drivetrain technology is the lightest and smallest to ever be in a Lexus. And it works like a charm—no corners cut here!

Lexus NX

Starting price: $42,625
Body style: Compact crossover SUV
Engine type: I-4
The NX 350, NX 350h, and
NX 450h
are all trusted to handle any sort of weather conditions or uneven terrains. This is primarily thanks to the dynamically-balanced design of crossover SUVs and, of course, their innovative AWD torque control system.
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Lexus RX

Starting price: $48,395
Body style: Full-size SUV
Engine type: 3.5L V6
Available with Dynamic Torque Control, the
RX 350
RX 450h
can be your trusty SUV to scale the rough terrain on your way to your remote camping destination. In style, of course—it is a Lexus, after all!

Lexus GX

Starting price: $57,200
Body style: Full-size SUV
Engine type: 4.6 L V8
Okay, the
GX 460
is the epitome of an off-road glamping experience machine. Its standard full-time AWD setup can be equipped with an optional Off-Road Package, which includes Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Adaptive Variable Suspension, Torsen® limited-slip center differential, and more. These features speak for themselves—this luxury full-size SUV is seriously the complete package.

Lexus LX

Starting price: $88,245
Body style: Full-size SUV
Engine type: Twin-turbo V6
Remember how awesome the GX 460 sounded in the previous paragraph? Well, the LX 600 has all the same AWD features, but with more power! This full-size SUV is equipped with an authoritative twin-turbo V6 engine that pumps out 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. No off-road trail stands a chance against this beast!

What are the benefits of having AWD?

All-wheel-drive is all about performance and safety. Not only does the inherently-improved traction control let you test steep inclines and unpaved surfaces, but it also helps your vehicle instantaneously react to inclement weather conditions. 
As a result, this drivetrain is enjoyed by both adventurous weekend warriors and safety-conscious soccer moms.

Differences between AWD and 4WD

While AWD and 4WD are often used interchangeably in casual conversation, they have subtle differences that impact performance and driving capabilities. So let’s break it down.
AWD (all-wheel-drive) sends engine torque to all four wheels individually. This system is fully automatic and more common in on-road vehicles. The biggest advantages of AWD are that it adds traction in bad weather and it’s more fuel-efficient than 4WD.
4WD (four-wheel-drive) sends engine torque to all four wheels equally. This system is traditionally activated manually and is more common in off-road vehicles. The biggest advantages of 4WD are that it can handle more extreme terrain and it improves towing capacity. 
Key Takeaway Cars with AWD are typically more expensive than cars with 4WD, so it’s important to run a cost/benefit analysis on which drivetrain is more suitable for your needs.

Do I need AWD?

When asking yourself whether or not you need AWD, you’ll have to look at the pros and cons based on your everyday driving demands—let us assist you with some probing questions:
  • How often do you take the road less traveled?
  • Does your driving environment regularly have inclement weather?
  • Is fuel efficiency a priority for you?
  • Do you want to spend $2,000 to $3,000 more for an AWD Lexus model?
Obviously, the answers to these questions are entirely subjective. But everyone can probably agree on the fact that having more control over your vehicle is a good thing.

How to save money on car insurance

Unfortunately, as nice as a Lexus is, it does have its downsides. Due to the heightened value of these luxury vehicles, insurance companies are forced to raise their premiums to compensate for the possibility of fronting the replacement cost after an accident.
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