Lexus has updated the contemporary design, enjoyable driving dynamics and luxury features of its best-selling model, the luxury NX.
Bold new exterior designs evolve the popular SUV’s sporty, dynamic styling while the interior delivers a true driver’s environment with added convenience including a 10.3-inch display screen and improved remote touch controller.
Under the skin, extensive suspension improvements result in sharper handling performance and a smoother overall ride while adaptive variable suspension on higher grades delivers enhanced control and stability.
This system is also linked to the introduction of a custom setting for the Drive Mode Select, providing the driver with the ability to set their preferred powertrain, chassis and air-conditioning settings.
The strong appeal of NX has been further enhanced by the expansion across the range of the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) – a suite of advanced technologies that can prevent accidents or reduce their impact.
A pre-collision safety system1, now standard on all grades, has been upgraded to detect pedestrians, not just vehicles, on the road ahead.
Other LSS+ technologies – previously on top-of-the-line Sports Luxury and now standard on Luxury and F Sport – are autonomous emergency braking, all-speed active cruise control and lane departure warning1 with steering assist.
All models now receive a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, trailer sway control1 and the ability to select a wider field of vision from the reversing camera.
Bi-LED headlamps and automatic high beam are new to Luxury grade. F Sport and Sports Luxury gain an adaptive high-beam system that automatically adjusts light distribution from 11 independent LED chips in each headlight.
This allows NX drivers to have maximum, safe use of high beam to improve their field of vision without the risk of dazzling other road users.
Lexus has also added two-wheel-drive variants to the F Sport for consumers who want the aggressive styling and sportier tuning with a more affordable entry point.
Lexus chief executive Peter McGregor said the comprehensive NX updates reflect the focus by Lexus on design, craftsmanship, quality and technology.
“Improvements to the NX styling and dynamics will enhance its appeal by projecting a sportier character from what is already one of the sharpest luxury SUVs on the road,” Mr McGregor said.
“New and expanded features will be appreciated by consumers for enhancing ease of use, convenience and comfort while delivering an even more luxurious feel,” he said.
All the additional features outweigh prices changes for the new range, which starts at $54,800 for the Luxury NX 300 – the new name for the turbo-powered cars. F Sport NX 300 is from $60,800 and Sports Luxury NX 300 from $73,800. Across the range, the hybrid drivetrain adds $2,500 and all-wheel drive $4,500.
Enhancement packs for the Luxury and F Sport grades add a moonroof for $2,500 or the moonroof plus 14-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, head-up display and smart key card for $6,000. These features are standard on Sports Luxury.
Other standard NX features include satellite navigation, reversing camera, power tailgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, smart entry and start, 10-speaker audio with digital radio4, Enform connected mobility2, tyre pressure warning sensors, 60:40 rear-fold seats and a spare wheel.
F Sport, in addition to Luxury, is equipped with a 360-degree panoramic view monitor that now has a “see through” mode, wireless phone charger, paddle shifters, performance dampers, unique exterior and interior styling and 10-way power seats (cooled and heated) with driver memory function.
Sports Luxury standard features include a leather-accented interior, full-colour head-up display, Mark Levinson 14-speaker premium audio, moonroof and woodgrain-look ornamentation.
Lexus has preserved the strong exterior design essence of NX and focused on details that enhance its visual impact.
For Luxury and Sports Luxury, the signature spindle grille has a powerful new look with horizontal bars, aligning it more closely with the Lexus RX and LX SUVs.
The performance-minded NX F Sport is distinguished by its pronounced mesh grille that features a new vertical interwoven pattern and visual links to the RX F Sport and RC F.
A new 18-inch alloy wheel design for Sports Luxury models stands out with its striking combination of bright machined and dark metallic finishes.
Inside, the climate-control panel – nestled below the new 10.3-inch display screen – is more ergonomically efficient with four easy-to-operate toggle switches featuring the Lexus L motif.
The central analogue clock is larger, with a clearer face and a more pronounced outer ring, making it easier to read. It also has GPS control to adjust for time zones.
The Lexus remote touch interface is the latest generation, easier to operate due being larger and offering better support from the reshaped palm rest.
The wireless charging tray is wider and longer to accommodate larger smartphones.
New interior colour options are Dark Rose, Ochre, Rich Cream and Black/Alabaster for Luxury and Sports Luxury grades, together with the established White/White and Black. Luxury customers can now choose from six interior trims – the same number as Sports Luxury. Sports Luxury gains heated rear seats.
For the NX F Sport models, F Sport Flare Red, F Sport Black/Tuscan Sun and F Sport White join the perennial favourite, F Sport Black. Takumi craftsmanship is displayed by the use of Naguri-style ornamentation in place of Wedge Metal.
Two powertrains maximises the potential of the NX Line’s stiff platform and all-wheel drive or two-wheel drive driveline. Under the NX 300 bonnet is a powerful and fuel-efficient turbocharged 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder engine, putting out 175kW and 350Nm.
Fuel economy is 7.7 litres/100km with 2WD and 7.9 litres/100km with Dynamic Torque Control AWD5.
The hybrid drivetrain for the NX 300h is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine combined with one (2WD) or two (AWD) electric motors, offering total output of 147kW and using just 5.6-litres of fuel per 100km (2WD) and 5.7 litres/100km (AWD)5.
A sophisticated Dynamic Torque Control AWD further enhances vehicle handling stability and optimises fuel economy. It uses an electronically controlled coupling on the rear differential housing to control front/rear torque split from 100:0 to 50:50.
The system controls the torque split according to driver intention, vehicle condition and available traction, using information on vehicle speed, engine revolutions, throttle opening angle, shift position, steering angle and brake application, and from two G sensors and a yaw-rate sensor.
As befitting a luxury SUV, the NX also features reduced noise, vibration and harshness, thanks to a combination of suspension tuning and the addition of strategically placed sound deadening.
Since its launch three years ago, the NX has broken sales forecasts around the world. It is the top-selling Lexus model in Australia, selling at record pace in 2017 and accounting for more than one-third of local Lexus sales.
Image: 2017 Lexus NX Line – (left to right) NX 300 F Sport, NX 300h Sports Luxury and NX 300h Luxury. Image courtesy of Lexus.