Lexus hooks up turbo power in the new NX small crossover
By C.C. Weiss
April 24, 2014
Lexus has revealed the production version of its NX crossover at this week's Beijing Auto Show. The small CUV has lost much of the crazy-eyed flair that it had in LF-NX concept form, but it does pack the marque's first gas turbo engine under its hood. Lexus will also offer a hybrid version when it launches the NX later this year.
"Positioned below the RX, the new NX model will provide an exciting entry point into the Lexus crossover and luxury utility vehicle family," explains Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "Its expressive design and turbocharged performance embody the technology and design focused direction customers can expect from Lexus."
That expressive design language manifested itself in a few choice four-letter words in the sliced and sculpted LF-NX concept, which Lexus showed at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show. In the production NX, the language has been toned down to a more family friendly level. Even the aggressive F Sport trim, and its mesh grille insert, "bold" front bumper and machined-finish wheels, looks much more mild-mannered than its concept sibling.
Though the 182.3-in long (4.63 m) NX has been suitably civilized, some basic design cues from the LF-NX do shine through. These include the vertical inlets below the headlamps, large spindle grille, sharp, hockey-stick daytime running lamps, and crescent-shaped wheel arches. The crossover rides on 17- or optional 18-in wheels, and the rear wheels are accentuated by 3-dimensional haunches that step up from the lower side sculpts. The door handles include hidden key barrels and integrated lighting.
Lexus showed the LF-NX as a hybrid in Frankfurt and later as a turbo in Tokyo. Both driveline styles carry over to production. The 200t trim, including the 200t F Sport, is built around a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with twin-scroll turbocharger. That engine sends output through a six-speed automatic transmission that uses torque-demand control logic to maximize torque for quick response and sporty feel. The second trim that will be offered in the US and other markets is the 300h. This model uses a hybrid system built around a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine, motor, generator and battery pack.
Both the 200t and 300h variants will be offered in front-wheel drive and "all-weather" drive. Lexus has not yet released output figures or performance specs, but they'll have to come soon, considering the planned launch is just a few months away.
The NX interior was built around comfortable, ergonomic seats and includes the interplay of soft and hard elements. A low hip point helps to optimize driver position and increase headroom, while varying cushion thicknesses add support and comfort. Center stack kneepads offer cornering support for the driver and front passenger. Technologies include a Lexus Remote Touch Interface with touch pad, an optional Qi wireless charging tray, and a Multi-information Display with available G sensor and boost meter.
Lexus plans to launch the NX in US and global markets beginning in the second half of 2014. It will be available in Russia and China with a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine.