Five note-worthy features we discovered in the Lexus NX350 F Sport AWD

Lexus Malaysia has officially put the all-new Lexus NX on sale in Malaysia, after opening its order books at the end of April. The Lexus NX is available in two variants; the NX250 Luxury from RM370,888 and the NX350 F Sport from RM389,888. Both prices are on-the-road without insurance, excluding SST exemptions.

In its press release, Lexus highlighted that the all-new SUV consists of 95% new components, and since we’ve seen it (only the NX350 F Sport) in person, here are some of the highlights of the new SUV we thought are worth sharing.

Engine and Transmission

The NX350 F Sport model gets a more powerful 2.4-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine compared to the 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine in the NX250 Luxury. Both may come with AWD and an 8-speed automatic but the NX350 produces far more power, with 275 hp and 430 Nm compared to the 204 hp and 243 Nm in the NX250 Luxury.

At the Sepang International Circuit, where we got to test mainly the SUV’s performance and cornering stability, it was clear how different the Lexus NX was in terms of acceleration compared to its German competitors.

Unlike the German SUVs fitted with turbocharged engines, with a (potent) forward surge when the turbo kicks in, the Lexus NX350 F Sport accelerated in a more progressive fashion even though it had far more torque than most 2.0-litre turbocharged German SUVs. The way it delivered its power felt more like an SUV with a big displacement, non-turbocharged engine…you almost can’t feel the turbo kicking in and that was what Lexus was aiming to deliver.

Electronically Controlled Full-Time AWD

Of the two variants, only the NX350 F-Sport comes with an electronically controlled all-wheel drive system that can distribute power between the front and rear wheels from 75:25 to 50:50 to offer different driving sensations and assurance depending on the road condition. Also, only the NX350 F Sport comes with Sport+ mode which sharpens the SUV even more; mainly the suspension and throttle response.

Adaptive Variable Suspension

Another item reserved only for the F Sport variant is the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system that offers sharper handling, and better stability with reduced body roll, which is especially obvious through the corners. The suspension setup varies according to the drive mode selected and has had a significant effect on the NX350’s driving feel when we drove the SUV through a slalom course at the Sepang Circuit.

In Comfort mode, body roll was more apparent but at the same speed, in Sport Mode, there was noticeably less body roll while the steering and throttle felt more responsive and engaging.

F-Sport goodies

With the striking new design of the Lexus NX – with more pronounced creases and arches than before – we thought the F Sport trim really allowed the SUV to pop. Opting for the NX350 F Sport allows you to stand out further with an F Sport Spindle grille with interlocking L-mesh design, Jet Black side mirrors, and roof rails, along with body-coloured wheel arch trims.

Inside, you’d first be greeted with F Sport seats which are not only pleasing to look at but were also very supportive as we have experienced when driving the SUV around the bends of Sepang Circuit. Other F Sport-specific items include the pedals, door sills, and an F Sport steering wheel. Also available exclusively in the F-Sport variant is the progressive rev meter upon selecting Sport+ mode.

L-shaped Daytime Running Lights

While we may not have considered the previous NX to be an eye-sore, it would take some convincing to call it good-looking. With the new NX, they’ve sharpened everything up and now, it’s extremely hard to not go “Wow!” but that’s not all.

Exterior design and F Sport items aside, Lexus has also taught the daytime running lights a new trick to give the SUV a little more character. Now, the DRLs get brighter upon acceleration and dims down when the SUV slows down, giving a sense of the Lexus NX ‘coming to life’.

e-Latch door opening system

The Lexus NX debuts the new e-Latch door opening system that eliminates the conventional 2-step motion of unlocking and opening the doors. Instead of pulling the door handle from the inside or out to unlock the door, and subsequently pushing/pulling the doors open, the new system incorporates a switch on both ends of the door handles to unlock and open the doors in a single motion. The e-Latch system is also supported by a manual door lever mechanism to open the doors in case the e-Latch system fails.

More images of the Lexus NX350 F Sport AWD here!


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