In this world of premier product offerings, certain levels of luxury and performance are a given and the NX stands its ground comfortably in this regard. However, where the NX is truly unique is in its styling. All premier SUVs offer loads of technology, but the NX offers lines that are bold and angular and, as its Lexus first offering in this category, the look is completely new.
To be able to compete with the likes of the Audi Q5 and BMW X4, the NX had to firstly deliver sufficiently on the performance front.
The NX 200t is available at launch in three model grades – E, EX and dramatic F-Sport apparel. It’s offered alongside the highly efficient NX 300h hybrid, which sports EX livery.
The front of the vehicle triumphantly displays the bold spindle grille between a new LED headlamp design and daytime running lamps (DRLs), the latter featuring the signature Lexus L-shape. The F-Sport model features a trio of angular LED lamps.
F-Sport differentiation comes in the form of a honeycomb-textured spindle grille, a deeper bumper with a metallic-coated lower section, the aforementioned frontal light treatment and exterior mirrors, which are clad in glossy black for a theatrical touch – E and EX derivatives go with a partial black gloss treatment. Rounding off the F-Sport ensemble are turbine-inspired, 18 inch alloys in a burnt metallic finish. The EX also gets 18-inch alloys, but with a dual-spoke design, while the E-grade model is shod with 17-inch multispoke alloys.
The NX 200t is the first Lexus model to use the company’s 175kW, 350Nm, 2.0-litre turbocharged direct injection petrol engine. Featuring a Lexus-designed cylinder head with integrated four-into-two exhaust manifold and twin-scroll turbocharger.
The cylinder head has integrated four-into-two exhaust manifold and twin-scroll turbocharge with liquid to air intercooling. It features the latest iteration of the Lexus intelligent variable valve timing system, known as VVT-iW (“W” for wide) and sees the first use of the Lexus Stop & Start engine technology. A wider range of inlet timing variation in the VVT-iW system means the new NX 200t engine can switch instantly from the more conventional Otto cycle to the high-expansion ratio, high-efficiency Atkinson cycle – depending on conditions.
Lexus NX 200t has a sequential-shift six-speed torque converter automatic transmission paired with a sophisticated electronically controlled proactive all-wheel drive system. Sequential shifting can be initiated via the gear lever or paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Another Lexus-first feature is the pre-loaded front differential.
Dynamic Torque Control AWD further enhances vehicle handling stability and optimises fuel economy. The system uses an electronically controlled coupling on the rear differential housing to finely control the front/rear torque split between 100:00 and 50:50.
When braking, the AWD function is cancelled to optimise brake effectiveness and the operation of the ABS and VSC systems.
The Lexus NX 300h hybrid features a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine and a multi-mode six-step electronically controlled all-gear continuously variable transmission (E-CVT) with sequential-shiftmatic change and a kick-down feature.
Lexus NX 300h has total system output of 145kW, from the combination of the petrol and electric motors. The petrol engine delivers 114kW and 210Nm and is linked to a CVT gearbox.
At start-up and at low speeds NX 300h can operate in EV mode and uses electric power exclusively to reverse.
E and EX models have a spring and damper suspension system, while the F-Sport grade uses a newly developed Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system.
Both systems feature a highly rigid MacPherson strut type suspension at the front, while the rear consists of compact trailing arm double-wishbone suspension.
The new NX has a comprehensive suite of active safety kit that includes daytime running lamps, reversing camera (all models except E grade) and front fog lamps.
It also boasts comprehensive electronic safety features – including electronically controlled braking, Emergency Brake Signal, vehicle stability control (VSC), traction control (TRC), ABS anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), as well as Hill-start Assist Control.
On the passive safety front, it comes with eight SRS airbags.
The NX features touch switches for the front dome and map interior LED lights. A microcomputer installed in the roof detects when a finger touches the lens surface and turns the lamps on or off. Power-saving LED lamps are installed throughout the cabin.
The Lexus NX EX and F-Sport grades come equipped with the third generation of the Lexus Remote Touch (LRT) system for convenient use of the vehicle’s multimedia system. LRT takes
advanced technology and combines it with effortless functionality inspired by today’s touch-screen smartphones.
The comprehensive NX navigation system includes Real Junction View, which provides a realistic graphic of upcoming road junctions to give the driver a better understanding of the approaching road situation. The 3D City View provides a three-dimensional map of surrounding buildings to give the driver an accurate impression of their surroundings when driving in urban areas.
When driving without marked roads (such as in forests and deserts), Route Trace Recognition registers the route being travelled, saves it and then redisplays it to help the driver retrace their path.