All-new Lexus NX detailed, plenty of new technologies and horsepower

The all-new Lexus NX has been launched over the weekend and while it looks like the current generation, it shares nothing with it.

Built on the new GA-K platform that also underpins the Lexus ES 250, the all-new NX is about an inch larger in all dimensions except height which is increased by just 5 mm. Lexus seems to have paid particular attention to the rear axle though, as the rear track is now 59 mm wider than before, promising better handling and stability.

The F Sport variant will gain different bumpers, spindle grille design and coloured wheel arches. At the rear, the taillamp runs across the width of the car joined by large L-shaped lamps, a design that first appeared in the smaller Lexus UX.  

Inside, the second-generation Lexus NX has its dashboard layout based on the Tazuna concept that was used in the Lexus LF-30 Concept car of 2019. Unlike the growing number of one-piece curved displays, Lexus is employing the traditional meter hood and separated infotainment display, measuring a whopping 14 inches in size.

Lexus has applied an anti-reflective coating to the windshield as well as glare-reducing technology in the display screen plus a processor 3.6 times faster than the outgoing unit for the clearest images in all lighting conditions. Air-conditioning control is also placed in the large display, with rather fancy looking temperature dial-switches.

The new infotainment system called Lexus Link now functions more like a smartphone, with voice recognition, over-the-air updates (OTA) as well as cloud navigation via the data communication module. The also means the removal of the Lexus trace-pad controller, uncreatively turned into large cupholders in the lower console of the new Lexus NX.

Another new technology in the Lexus NX is the e-latch electronic door release system, in which the humble interior door handle has been changed to an electronic switch. Lexus has also paired this with the Safe Exit Assist, where the opening of doors is being monitored by the Blind-Spot Monitoring system, to ensure occupants do no open the door into oncoming vehicles including bicycles.

At launch, the all-new Lexus NX will be available in four different powertrain options, none of them carried over from the previous generation. The NX 250 will be powered by a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine delivering 199 hp that is also currently serving the Lexus ES 250.

The ‘8AR’ turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine has been replaced by a new 2.4-litre unit, with outputs of 279 hp and 430 Nm of torque. Both of these non-electrified engines will be paired with a new Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission.

A new all-wheel drive with different torque split for the two engine outputs will also be available, with the turbocharged engine gaining a ‘full-time’ AWD system that has a default front-to-rear split of 75:25.

Lexus has also focused more on the electrified variants of the all-new NX due to strong demand. The Lexus NX 350h features the fourth-generation Lexus hybrid system that combines the new 2.5-litre Dynamic Force engine and more powerful and efficient electric motors.

Power is up 22% from the old 2AR unit, escalating to 242 hp and improving 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time to 7.7 seconds. Headlining the all-new NX is Lexus’ first plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) model, the NX 450h+.

The powertrain of the NX 450h+ combines an upgraded version of the naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre engine from the hybrid model with a significant amount of punch from two electric motors and a large lithium-ion battery. With the total system output of 306 hp, it sends the Lexus NX 450h+ from 0 to 100 km/h in just over six seconds.

Thanks to an 18.1 kWh battery pack, the electric driving range is 63 km and able return a fuel economy of under 3 L/100 km under WLTP standards. All these figures sound rather similar as Toyota launched the RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid with the same powertrain early last year in the US and Europe.

Lexus says, thanks to the usage of the highly efficient hybrid engine, the NX 450h+ is expected to be as much as 20% better fuel consumption than competitors when the lithium-ion battery pack is depleted.  

Similar to the new Lexus IS, the subjective aspect of driving operation has been fined tuned and honed at the new Lexus Shimoyama Proving Ground.

Gone are the days where the new technology is only made available in the flagship LS limousine. For the safety systems, the new Lexus NX will be the first model to feature the third generation of Lexus Safety System+. Pre-Collision System is now capable of detecting solid objects such as trees, walls and utility poles in the car’s path.

Emergency Steering Assist will intervene if a high risk of collision is detected with oncoming traffic or crossing pedestrians when making a right turn at a junction. Front Cross-Traffic Alert meanwhile assist to notify the driver of approaching vehicles where visibility at the junction is hindered such as narrow back lanes.

Users in Japan, the US and China will also be able to use their smartphone as a digital smart key for the new NX, which can be extended to be a remote control to park the car (in tight spaces) while standing outside.






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