LEXUS has shrunk its RX crossover to come up with an edgier, sleeker, younger new model called the NX. Pitched as the brand’s foray into the luxury compact crossover segment, the NX was unveiled last week at Lexus’s Manila showroom.
Lexus aims its latest to a new set of buyers; those who lead urban and active lifestyles. Takeaki Kato, chief engineer of the NX, hypes the car as a “premium urban sports gear” and places it side by side with “high-quality sports watches, bikes and fashion.”
“Luxury is epitomized by small but important details,” Kato said, citing as examples the NX’s courtesy lights, metallic flakes on the wheel arches, and the feel of the car’s switches and other innovations. The NX is also lavished with Lexus’s on-board techie features like the new Remote Touch Interface with a touch pad and a multiinformation display that now has G sensors and a boost meter.
Along with these, Lexus’s vaunted Human Machine Interface and display and operation zone concepts have found their way into the NX. Lexus also makes a big deal out of its new model’s seating, saying the NX has the “lowest hip point in the segment,” which the carmaker said adds to the “connection of the driver to the vehicle.” Of course, doing so increases the cabin’s headroom.
To boost the NX’s crossover cred in the cabin, passengers get perched on quilted seats that have varied pad thicknesses. The usual metallic trim brightens up the car’s interior.
Debuting in Manila is the NX 300h, with the NX 200t and NX 200t F-Sport set to follow in January next year.
As its names suggest, the NX 300h gets a hybrid power plant while the NX 300t pair packs an all-new, Lexus-developed, 2.0-liter gasoline turbo-charged engine. The carmaker said this marks the first time in Lexus’s history that such a mill gets paired with an all-wheel drive model.
The 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle hybrid gasoline engine under the NX 300h’s creased hood is the largest in the NX stable, and is also paired with all-wheel drive. Lexus said the system has a “highly sophisticated HV control,” which was specifically developed for the NX. The hybrid power unit is rated to crank 194hp and 210Nm of torque from 4,200rpm to 4,400rpm.
Special features of the NX 300h include a power back door, power-folding rear seats and a sliding moonroof.
Lexus said its new 2.0-liter turbo mill was tested for more than a million kilometers, with the engine used in various road conditions and harsh environments. It boasts the world’s first combination of water-cooled cylinder head that integrates the exhaust manifold and the twin-scroll turbocharger. This 2.0-liter engine spins out 235hp and 350Nm from a low 1,650rpm all the way to 4,000rpm.
Bolting to this is an equally new six-speed automatic transmission that features torque-demand control logic. The system calculates required engine torque and maximizes it, guaranteeing quick response and acceleration while keeping tabs on fuel efficiency.
According to Lexus literature, the NX was designed for agile driving, handling stability, turning posture and ride comfort. The company’s engineers also fine-tuned the car’s yaw-rate response to steering input and its stability on uneven road surfaces. Underlying the suspension is a highly rigid body that was beefed up by extensive reinforcements, which include additional bulkheads and spot welding, suspension braces, and the use of Lexus’s body and glass adhesive, as well as laser-screw welding.
Depending on variant, the NX can come with newly developed dampers and Lexus’s new-generation, linear-solenoid-type Adaptive Variable Suspension. Linked to the drive-mode select system, it is able to change the level of damping force, enhance ride comfort and lessen body roll.
The NX takes off from Lexus’s LF-NX concept vehicle that was introduced in hybrid form at the Frankfurt and Tokyo motor shows last year. It retains much of the aggressive touches that hallmark the concept car, like its front and rear flares that, as Lexus put it, are fused to the diamond-shaped body. As a modern Lexus, the NX wears the corporate spindle grille. LED headlamps and daytime running lamps, as well as 18-inch wheels, scream out the brand’s design language.
Unique to the NX is a door handle mechanism that has a hidden key barrel and which integrates lighting. The car’s rear gets Lexus’s signature ‘L’ shape lamps that, of course, is lighted by LED jewelry.
In NX 300h guise, the car sells for P3.908 million. No prices have been announced for the upcoming turbo-charged pair. But surely, these will be worth the cost of owning some premium urban sports gear.