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Lexus unveils new-gen NX, here November

New engines, new looks, more tech and possible PHEV powertrain for new Lexus NX SUV

14 Jun 2021

LEXUS has unveiled its new-generation NX mid-sized luxury SUV, promising to offer buyers more style, more performance and more features over its predecessor when it arrives here in November alongside the smaller and all-electric UX300e.


As usual for a new model, the NX flaunts a heap of new and updated styling cues over the outgoing version, headlined by the debut of a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and the eventual emergence of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain.


The new force-fed mill is so new that Lexus is yet to share any of its key specifications, although there is little doubt it will generate more power and torque than the outgoing NX300 (175kW/350Nm) that utilises a smaller turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol.


Transmission duties are left solely to an eight-speed automatic.


Lexus remains tight-lipped about the rest of the powertrain line-up in terms of power outputs or fuel consumption, including the updated hybrid system set to reside under the bonnet of the NX350h.


Still based around a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, it is expected is that the NX350h’s powertrain will be the same one as found in the updated ES sedan, developing a combined 160kW of power and managed by an electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT).


Both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations will reportedly be offered.


A similar rule of thumb can be applied to the entry-level NX250 that will feature a similar 2.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine to the hybrid but without the electrification and the eight-speed automatic instead of a CVT.


Looking again to the ES, the front-wheel-drive range opener is expected to produce the same 152kW/243Nm as the ES250 and Toyota Camry – the original donor of this particular engine.


While still unconfirmed for Australia, that same engine will also serve as the basis for the NX450h+ PHEV and be paired with two electric motors supported by an 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery – power and torque are tipped to be the most potent in the range although no official figure has been mentioned.


Compared to the current model, the new NX is 20mm longer (4660mm), 20mm wider (1865mm), 5mm taller (1640mm) and rides on a 30mm-longer wheelbase (2690mm) courtesy of its new TNGA-based GA-K platform.


Under the skin, the new model rides on MacPherson strut front suspension and a double-wishbone set-up at the rear with newly developed shock absorbers in all four corners.


F Sport variants will up the ride and handling ante considerably thanks to their standard ‘Adaptive Variable Suspension’ while all variants score a new variable-ratio steering system.


Inside the cabin is a particularly driver-focused interior and dash layout with everything oriented toward the driver, including the 14-inch infotainment touchscreen.


As expected from a modern luxury vehicle, the infotainment system is packed with the latest toys and compatibilities including Wi-Fi-based wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, ‘Hey Lexus’ voice recognition and command as well as a 10-speaker Lexus premium sound system.


Behind the steering wheel resides a new-generation digital cockpit and configurable head-up display while the steering wheel itself has been redesigned to “improve the sporty feel”.


Other global standard equipment highlights include 64-colour ambient lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, electronic door handles and satellite navigation – local pricing and specifications will be revealed closer to launch.


In terms of safety, safe exit assist has been added to the Lexus Safety System+ suite with expanded functions such as pre-collision safety that can now detect turning vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, as can the front cross-traffic alert system.


The adaptive cruise control can now monitor the traffic flow in other lanes and adjust the speed accordingly when the driver signals to change lane, the curve speed control is now more accurate and proactive in its speed adjustment and the lane trace/lane keep assist systems are said to have been made more intuitive.


Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson said the new-generation NX represented a leap forward for the luxury lifestyle brand given the NX is its most successful offering in our market.


“The all-new Lexus NX is an extensive leap forward for design, performance and technology, with its athletic exterior matched by a dynamic new cockpit concept, advanced powertrains, plus engaging steering and handling,” he said.


“When these attributes combine with trademark-Lexus quality and luxury, ride comfort and refinement, we are confident the all-new NX will create a new luxury medium SUV benchmark when it arrives in November.”


Lexus has sold 1515 NXs so far this year ending May, accounting for 11.7 per cent of the $60,000-plus medium SUV segment which is currently being ruled by the BMW X3 (1799/13.9%) and Audi Q5 (1762/13.6%).

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