Slated to bow at AutoChina in Beijing, the 2015 Lexus NX will be the luxury marque's entry in the growing premium compact crossover market. Remaining true to the spirit of the Lexus LF-NX Concept presented last fall in Frankfurt, the production model brings a new level of visual intensity to a category that includes the Audi Q3, BMW X3/X4, Mercedes GLA-Class and Range Rover Evoque. In addition to offering naturally aspirated and hybrid powertrain choices, the NX also offer the division's first turbocharged engine. Here in America, we'll see three distinct variations on the theme, the turbocharged NX 200t, the NX 300h Hybrid and the enthusiast-oriented NX 200t F Sport
The exterior styling of the Lexus NX displays an aggressively muscular character. The boldly proportioned spindle grille, dramatic body contours and sleekly swept roofline are set off with LED lighting front and rear while standard 17-inch or optional 18-inch alloy wheels fill its prominently flared fenderwells. Like other Lexus F Sport variants, the NX 200t F Sport steps up its basic in-your-face attitude with unique design flourishes to complement a performance-tuned suspension.
The richly-appointed leather-lined cabin shares a similar approach, mixing hard metallic accents highlighted by a prominent metal frame around the center stack with numerous soft-touch surfaces - including thoughtfully padded knee bolsters on the forward section of the console. Here, too the F Sport offers unique upholstery and trim bits. The seating position in all NX models features a relatively low hip point that eases entry/exit and affords more headroom. Lexus indicates the new NX also will have a good deal of easily reconfigurable space for cargo as well as people.
Two powertrain choices
Lexus also confirmed that U.S. versions of the NX will feature the same powerplants seen in the two previous LF-NX Concepts. The NX 200t/200t F Sport will be fitted with an all-new 2.0-liter/4-cylinder gasoline engine rumored to be making as much as 250 horsepower. The NX 300h is expected to pack the same 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder gas engine and electric motor setup used in the Lexus ES300h, a combo that should continue turn out about 200 horses.
Among the features promised in the NX are the division's first Wireless Charging Tray for mobile phones as well as a new Lexus Remote Touch Interface with a touch pad.
The 2015 Lexus NX 200t, 200t F Sport and 300h Hybrid are set to arrive in showrooms later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to their actual on-sale date.
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