Fast lane – Lexus’ lux­ury SUV

Lexus is en­ter­ing the small SUV mar­ket and is set to make a splash with the launch of its NX model.

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Lexus has re­leased the first de­tails of its all-new, lux­ury com­pact cross­over ahead of its un­veil­ing at the 2014 Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Auto Show. Con­ceived un­der the de­vel­op­ment con­cept of “Pre­mium Ur­ban Sports Gear”, all-new NX com­bines strik­ing de­sign with ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies.

Lexus Aus­tralia Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Sean Han­ley said that the NX pre­sents an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for the lux­ury mar­que.

“Lexus Aus­tralia is very ea­ger to se­cure the NX SUV and we be­lieve it would com­ple­ment our ex­ist­ing SUV line-up, pro­vid­ing a gate­way ve­hi­cle to other SUVs and our ex­pan­sive hy­brid ve­hi­cle range.

“We are now ne­go­ti­at­ing with Lexus in Ja­pan and ex­pect a de­ci­sion to be made very soon – it’s a very ex­cit­ing time for us.”

Ex­te­rior de­sign

The NX has been de­signed to em­body an ag­gres­sive form com­bined with seg­ment-leading func­tion­al­ity.

From the spin­dle grille back, the NX ap­pears to have been chis­elled from a sin­gle piece of steel – with wide flared guards hous­ing 17 or 18-inch wheels that add to the over­all mus­cu­lar stance of the ve­hi­cle.

In­no­va­tive LED head­lamps and sep­a­rate day­time run­ning lamps flank the spin­dle grille and firmly ex­press Lexus’ bold cor­po­rate styling.

The side pro­file is ac­cen­tu­ated by a roofline peak set to­wards the back of the ve­hi­cle to pro­vide am­ple head­room for rear seat oc­cu­pants while cre­at­ing a tight sil­hou­ette.

An in­no­va­tive outer mir­ror and a world-first door han­dle mech­a­nism (with a hid­den key bar­rel and in­te­grated light­ing) add to the lux­ury ap­pear­ance.

The rear is punc­tu­ated by Lexus’ sig­na­ture ‘L’ shaped com­bi­na­tion lamps, each with seam­less LED light­ing, while the body­work echoes the spin­dle grille de­sign at the front.

In­te­rior de­sign

The in­te­rior of the NX brings a sense of ex­cite­ment to the cabin at­mos­phere that di­rectly evokes a feel­ing of “Pre­mium Ur­ban Sports Gear”.

The core idea was to com­bine the struc­tural beauty of a high-per­for­mance ma­chine with a ma­te­rial feel that max­imises func­tion­al­ity.

A sil­ver frame flags the in­stru­ment panel and sym­bol­ises the strength of the cross­over ve­hi­cle, while kneepads lo­cated on both sides of the cen­tre con­sole firmly sup­port the driver and pas­sen­ger.

The in­tu­itive in­ter­ac­tion with hu­man ma­chine in­ter­face (HMI) tech­nol­ogy is lo­cated be­tween the kneepads and cre­ates an air of in­no­va­tion within the cabin.

The NX builds on Lexus’ unique dis­play and oper­a­tion zone con­cept.

In­te­rior space played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the cabin de­sign, and seat­ing was a ma­jor fo­cus.

The NX fea­tures the low­est hip point in the seg­ment, adding to the con­nec­tion of the driver to the ve­hi­cle and in­creas­ing over­all head room.

NX also boasts the long­est lug­gage load length of its com­peti­tors and of­fers gen­er­ous front-to-rear cou­ple dis­tance.

Tech­nol­ogy

Avail­able in selected mar­kets glob­ally, the all-new NX of­fers the choice of up to three driv­e­trains: a highly ef­fi­cient hy­brid in NX 300h, an in­no­va­tive all-new 2.0-litre gaso­line turbo in NX 200t and a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine in NX 200 with the choice of front and all-wheel drive.

In ad­di­tion, Lexus’ first Stop and Start sys­tem for a petrol driv­e­train is avail­able, pro­vid­ing additional fuel sav­ings.

NX will also of­fer an ar­ray of in­no­va­tive on-board tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing a Lexus-first Wire­less Charg­ing Tray to en­able charg­ing of por­ta­ble de­vices, the first ap­pli­ca­tion of a new Lexus Re­mote Touch In­ter­face with a touch-pad, Panoramic View Mon­i­tor and a com­pre­hen­sive Multi-in­for­ma­tion Dis­play (in­clud­ing a Lexus-first G sen­sor and boost me­ter), Heads-Up Dis­play, All­speed Dy­namic Radar Cruise Con­trol, Blind Spot Mon­i­tor and Rear Cross Traf­fic Alert.

Chief en­gi­neer Takeaki Kato said the NX was de­vel­oped as a ve­hi­cle that suits an ur­ban life­style.

“Much like high qual­ity sports watches, bikes and fash­ion, the NX rep­re­sents the ul­ti­mate in pre­mium ur­ban sports gear,” he said.

“Through­out all de­vel­op­ment phases we were de­ter­mined to ap­proach the NX from the per­spec­tive of young, ur­ban, lux­ury driv­ers.”

The NX 300h is ex­pected to bor­row the same petrol-elec­tric pow­er­train from the IS300h sedan, which teams a 2.5-litre nat­u­rally-as­pi­rated four cylin­der with an elec­tric mo­tor and CVT au­to­matic to pro­duce a com­bined out­put 164kW and claimed aver­age fuel con­sump­tion of 4.9L/100km.

The NX 200t F Sport will de­but the com­pany’s 2.0-litre turbo charged four cylin­der that is be­lieved to pro­duce in ex­cess of 200kW and of­fer more than 350Nm of pulling power. The en­gine is ex­pected to make its way into other Lexus vari­ants, such as the IS and GS sedans and the larger RX SUV.

The NX was un­veiled at the 2014 Bei­jing Auto Show on April 20.

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