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Lexus has launched the all-new NX SUV. The NX carries a fresh take on Lexus’ design language, and promises performance to match its sharp looks. A plug-in hybrid, Lexus’ first, will be among the myriad options available.
As with Lexus’ recent new vehicles, the NX cuts an eye-catching profile. The NX’s angular creases and character lines in the upper section complement the curves along its flanks. The brand’s signature spindle grille looks a bit menacing, particularly when rendered in all black for the F Sport. Daytime running lights draw out an L shape on either side. At the rear, for the first time, is the brand spelled out in full: LEXUS, rather than the previous inscribed L. The taillights form a full-width “blade” unit, with L-shaped lamp on the rear fender.
The target was to produce an athletic-looking vehicle, and based on the photos, the NX does look eager to get going. The new NX is 20mm longer and wider than the outgoing model, clocking in at 4660mm x 1865mm. Larger tires, a wider tread and shortened rear overhang help to communicate the dynamic intent.
Inside, you can’t miss the huge 14-inch touch screen. It’s the centerpiece of the new Lexus Interface, along with the 7-inch digital multi-instrument display and 10-inch head-up display. The system will allow over-the-air updates and wireless smart phone connectivity. The arrangement of the controls follows the Tazuna Concept, or “reins” controlling a horse. This allows one to concentrate on driving while still operating the secondary controls intuitively. Ambient lighting in a choice of 14 themes and 64 colors allows you to set the mood inside the NX. Trim choices include Black Open Pore wood, and Black Prism, a fractal-textured Piano Black that’s carved more densely toward the rear. A panoramic moonroof is available.
Headroom and legroom are increased; there’s better rear headroom thanks to a lower rear hip point. The 30mm longer wheelbase does allow for more luggage space, despite the shortened overhangs. The cargo area is now 40mm longer.  
Powering the NX will be a choice of gasoline and gasoline-electric hybrid systems. The highlight is the plug-in hybrid system in the NX 450h+. A high-capacity lithium-battery allows an all-electric range of 57km (manufacturer estimate). The gasoline engine kicks in to drive the car directly and recharge the battery when needed. On EV power alone, the performance is equal to a 2.0-liter engine. When gasoline and electric drive are combined, acceleration to 100kph is a tick over 6 seconds. The operation of the hybrid system uses Predictive Efficient Drive. The system can eventually predict when the car is likely to slow down or stop, and will be ready to recapture energy when the driver releases the accelerator. Charging time for the battery is 4.5 hours with the on-board charger, or just 2.5 hours with the optional Expedited Onboard Charger.
The NX350 will pack a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine paired with 8-speed automatic transmission. Lexus promises this will give the vehicle the feel of a performance vehicle. 0-100kph is just over 6.8 seconds.
The base engine will be a 2.5-liter inline-four with 8-speed automatic, mated to front or all-wheel drive. There will also be a hybrid version of the 2.5-liter model with a combined 241 ps output. The NX 350h cleverly uses a second electric motor at the rear wheels to provide an all-wheel drive system without transfer gears and a driveshaft from the engine.
The various power options aim to deliver a linear driving feel. The new NX uses the Lexus GA-K platform, which delivers a lighter, more rigid body and a lower center of gravity. The F Sport model will have adaptive variable suspension, and front and rear performance dampers. Wheels go up to 20 inches from the standard 18.
Takeaki Kato, Chief engineer, Lexus International, states: “The development of the new NX was a series of new challenges for Lexus. We implemented “digital development” to ensure quality by evaluating the well-thought-out design structure under various conditions using computer models to check productivity. In terms of driving, professional racing drivers conducted an evaluation test drive at the Shimoyama test course to thoroughly train the car’s body structure and control the driving force to inherit and evolve the Lexus driving flavor.”
NX has on board the Lexus Safety System+.  This includes pre-crash safety to help avoid collisions—it can trigger an alarm and activate the brakes. There’s also radar cruise control, lane departure alert, and lane tracing assist. There’s also a new door switch that’s electrically activated, inspired by Japan’s ubiquitious sliding doors. This Digital Latch system communicates with the safety systems to help prevent ill-timed door opening that can cause collisions with vehicles and cyclists.
Colors will include Redline, Cloudburst Gray and Grecian Water. Colors exclusive to F Sport will include Ultra White, Obsidian and Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0.

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