Lexus has just revealed a very important new generation model. No, it's not an all-new LS or all-new IS, but the second generation Lexus NX.
The new-generation Lexus NX is built on the new common platform for Toyota and Lexus models, otherwise known as Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), has a very thorough redesign inside and out; and features a new range of power unit options.
The all-new NX has a somewhat mild restyle on the outside, but Lexus fans would know that the new look appears to be more rounded than the model that was first launched in 2016. Lexus toned down some (not all) of creases and edges of the vehicle, most notably on the front end with smoother curves and rounded corners. The vehicle has a new version of the spindle grille, as well as a new headlight design similar to the one found on the IS.
If you examine the side, the NX appears to have a sleek look with that raked windscreen and a fastback look with the sloped rear glass. There appears to be more detailing with the door panels as Lexus plays around more liberally with a type of flame surfacing pioneered by BMW back in the day. There are some rather notable similarities with the way Mazda uses creases and curves to create unique visuals that, when hit by light, make for a rather interesting sight.
The rear of the vehicle has the new Lexus taillights with the L-shaped LEDs and the light bar that connects the two. Perhaps the more interesting detail is the absence of one important detail: the L badge. Instead of that, the company opted to spell out L E X U S on the tailgate.
The new generation NX has been extended in all respects, and now measures 4660mm long (+20mm), 1865mm wide (+20mm), and 1640mm tall (+5mm). The dimensions appear to have been optimized to enhance the driving experience as the vehicle's width has been increased more than the height; this should improve the track and minimizes the effect on the center of gravity. The wheelbase has been extended by 30mm to 2690mm which should improve stability at speed. Rolling stock options include a set 235/60/R18 or the larger 235/50/R20; if we're interpreting it correctly, the latter is reserved for the F-Sport models.
The interior has also largely been reworked, particularly the dashboard. Lexus has come up with a more driver-oriented, cockpit-style layout with a neatly outlined dashboard and a center stack that appears angled towards the driver. The photos released by Lexus show NX models that have only digital instrument clusters and a much larger entertainment screen system.
Just below the entertainment screen is the drive mode selector dial, the climate control panel, a few USB ports, and a wireless charging pad. Higher grade NX variants will have a Mark Levinson PurePlay audio and speaker system, while other variants will have Lexus Premium Sound System with 10 speakers.
Gone is the touchpad that has been a common sight on Lexus models, but Lexus opted (strangely) for touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel; we'll see how the reception of that feature is. Another new feature is an E-Latch door opening system that Lexus says is essentially an electronic door latch that makes for smoother door operation.
While Lexus has leveled up the safety (with new generation LSS features), the lighter and stronger platform, upgrades in luxury (new leather options, etc.), and more, what is key with the NX is the new range of power units. Lexus is doubling down on their hybrid powertrain and finally pushing forward with turbo engines.
The non-hybrid and non-turbo NX will have the 2.5-liter A25A-FKS engine with just over 200 PS. This engine is already familiar to the Toyota/Lexus family and will be paired with an 8-speed automatic with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The engine we're probably more excited about is the 2.4-liter direct-injection turbo that Lexus will debut in the NX: the T24A-FTS. This engine will have 279 PS and 430 Nm of torque. The NX 350 will be the first to use this engine, and will likely be reserved for the F-Sport model. The engine will be paired only with the electronically-controlled variable all-wheel-drive version of the 8-speed automatic.
In terms of hybrids, there will be four distinct versions. The more familiar versions will be the non-turbo 2.5-liter HEV which will be the more conventional hybrid; no plug-in system. We expect this to drive like a conventional Lexus hybrid, though there will be a version that has a rear motor for all-wheel drive. We also expect it to have NIMH batteries.
The more interesting hybrid model is the non-turbo 2.5L PHEV model. Like the standard HEV, this will have an option for the rear motor for all-wheel drive (which can be pure FWD or 20:80 rear-wheel-drive bias), but the difference is that this will have a plug-in option and use a lithium-ion battery pack under the floor.
The 2022 NX signals the new direction for the Lexus brand, and it's important for two reasons: the first is that it shows their new direction towards crossovers, as Lexus used their resources to focus on an all-new NX crossover and just updating the IS. It also shows their renewed drive to upgrade their hybrid options with plug-in models, as well as focus on smaller displacement turbo engines like their European competitors.
It is improbable that we will see the NX in the Philippines in 2021, so a 2022 launch is more likely.