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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.