The all-new Lexus NX has been unveiled at the Beijing motor show. The sharply styled model that marks the company’s entry into the fast-growing premium compact crossover market. Its edgy design is a key element in its intended appeal to new Lexus customers who lead urban, active lifestyles.
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According to market, the Lexus NX will be available with three powertrains: a highly efficient hybrid in the NX 300h; a new, Lexus-developed 2.0-litre petrol turbo unit in the NX 200t; and naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine in the NX 200. Front and all-wheel drive versions will be available, together with Lexus’s quick-response stop and start system. Details and specifications of powertrains to be offered in the UK will be confirmed at a later date.
The NX also benefits from an array of innovative technology, including a Lexus-first wireless charging tray for easy charging of mobile phones and other devices and the first application of a new Lexus Remote Touch Interface with a touchpad control. Further features include a new Panoramic View Monitor, a comprehensive multi-information display (incorporating for the first time a G-sensor and boost meter), head-up display, blind spot monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Following the established Lexus template, the range will include a distinctive F Sport version, with sportier design and dedicated styling elements, including an exclusive rendering of the Lexus spindle grille, a lowered front bumper, specific alloy wheel designs, sports seats and bespoke interior trims.
Takeaki Kato, the NX Chief Engineer, said: “The NX is a premium crossover, combining performance, numerous on-board technologies and alluring design. Much like high quality sports watches, bikes and fashion accessories, the NX can be likened to the ultimate in premium sports gear.
“Luxury is epitomised by small but important details, as can be witnessed in the attention to detail in areas such as the feel of the switchgear, the arrangement of the courtesy lights, the metallic finishes for the wheels and other innovations that will set the standards for future Lexus models.
“Luxury touches apart, the NX was designed both to complement daily life and support active lifestyles at the weekend.”
The NX has been designed to look as though it is has been cast from a single piece of metal. Strong, flared wheel arches house 17 or 18-inch wheels, giving the car a crouching, muscular stance. Lexus’s signature spindle grille is the central focus of the NX’s angular shape, reinforced by LED headlamps and daytime running lights. The grille blends seamlessly into a sculpted bonnet, creating strongly contrasting surfacing that projects a sense of depth.
The side profile is instantly recognisable as a Lexus, accentuated by a roofline that’s set towards the rear of the vehicle to give maximum visual impact. Details include an innovative door mirror design and a world-first door handle mechanism with a concealed key barrel and integrated lighting. These features enhance the overall premium look by creating a smooth finish along the side of the car.
The rear is punctuated by Lexus’s L-shape combination lamps, fitted with seamless LED lighting. The bodywork design echoes the spindle grille treatment at the front.
Lexus’s ambition for the NX’s cabin was to produce a design that is more like a sports car interior, complimenting the angular bodywork, while using materials and textures that amplify the vehicle’s premium quality.
The car’s SUV strengths are expressed in details such as a thick-rimmed steering wheel, a central silver frame embedded in the instrument panel and robust knee pads for driver and front passenger. Contrasting textures around the cabin and the use of a quilted seat upholstery pattern reference the NX’s status as a crossover vehicle.
Lexus has also focused on interior space and seating, ensuring ample overall headroom and a generous front-to-rear couple distance. The NX continues the development of Lexus’s display and operation zone dashboard design concept and provides the driver with easy, intuitive command of its advanced technology features using new and improved HMI controls.
The NX 300h uses a sophisticated hybrid system control specially developed for the model, using the proven Lexus 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine, generator, motor and battery. Total system output is 195bhp/145kW.
Features specific to the hybrid NX include sprung-weight damping control to increase ride comfort and handling stability by reducing pitching when driving on uneven surfaces.
The NX is the first model to use a new Lexus 2.0-litre petrol turbo engine, engineered for excellent fuel economy, agile performance and responsiveness. It is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission that has been specially tuned for the NX. Maximum power is 235bhp/175kW between 4,800 and 5,600rpm and maximum torque is 350 Nm, available from 1,650 to 4,000rpm.
The engine underwent more than one million kilometres of testing over different road conditions and in harsh driving environments. Its design features a world-first combination of water-cooled cylinder head, integrated exhaust manifold and twin-scroll turbocharger.
The automatic transmission uses a new torque-demand control logic, calculating and maximising the required engine torque to deliver quick response to throttle inputs and high fuel efficiency.
The naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine benefits from Lexus’s Valvematic technology to achieve high torque through a wider valve opening angle and an extended variable valve timing operating range.
The unit runs with a high compression ratio and uses diagonal fuel injectors, optimising the fuel mixture to produce strong power output across the full rev range. The engine works with a newly developed, electronically controlled S-CVT/Multidrive sequential shift transmission.
Chassis and suspension
The new NX has been engineered for agile driving, handling stability, body control and ride comfort, including yaw-rate response to steering inputs and stability over uneven surfaces.
At the heart of the design is a highly rigid body, with extensive reinforcements to the underbody, additional bulkheads and spot-welding, suspension braces and the use of Lexus’s body adhesive and laser screw welding technologies and a high-rigidity glass adhesive.
Some NX models are equipped with new-design dampers and Lexus’s new-generation Adaptive Variable Suspension. Linked to the vehicle’s Drive Mode Select system, this can change the level of damping force to improve comfort and reduce body roll.
The comprehensive safety package includes a new, full-range Panoramic View Monitor, all-speed Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. New cornering headlamps and a head-up display are also featured in the range.
The Panoramic View Monitor uses the highest resolution camera yet to be fitted to a Lexus. The all-speed Adaptive Cruise Control will be a first-in-segment feature, capable of matching the NX’s speed to the vehicle in front, down to a complete stop.
Lexus NX Dimensions
Overall length 4,630mm
Overall width: 1,845mm
Overall height: 1,645mm (with shark’s fin antenna); 1,630mm (without shark’s fin antenna)
Front track: 1,580mm (225mm tyre), 1,570mm (235 tyre)
Rear track: 1,580mm (225mm tyre), 1,570mm (235 tyre)
The NX will go on sale in world markets from the second half of 2014. Details of the UK launch date, model range and specifications will be announced later.