After a good seven-year run keeping Continental rivals at bay, the NX is now being replaced by an all-new successor that features bolder styling as well as massive uptick in performance, smart tech and refinement.
Lexus says the new NX is ushering the brand’s “Vital x Tech Gear” concept that combines vital dynamism with advanced technology.
The second generation model will be offered locally in two variants of the 250 Luxury featuring a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine and the 350 F Sport with a new 2.4-litre turbocharged block.
The 250 Luxury’s A25A-FKS engine, is already used in the Lexus ES 250 sedan, delivers 204hp and 243Nm of torque, while the 350 F Sport’s T24A-FTS block is punchier with 275hp and 430Nm of torque.
With a Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive (AWD) and a top speed of 200kph in both variants, Lexus says the 250 Luxury can do the 0-100kph sprint in 9.1 seconds while the 350 F Sport is much quicker at 7 seconds.
Lexus Malaysia has started taking bookings for the 250 Luxury which has an on-the-road without insurance price of RM370,888, while the 350 F Sport arrives at RM389,888, in Peninsular Malaysia.
We managed to get a drive in the 350 F Sport organised by Lexus Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit last week.
Brandishing a larger F Sport exclusive spindle grille with interlocking L-mesh design in jet black and lower splitter in satin silver finish, the 350 F Sport looks fancier.
Adding to the new persona are redesigned ultra slim 3-Beam LED projector headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lights and Adaptive High-beam System.
The 350 F Sport appears more pumped-up this time with chiselled lines, flared wheel arches and 20-inch wheels in Super Gloss Black Metallic Finish.
At the rear, there is the long light bar that links up the L-styled LED tail lights to create a more eye-catching appearance.
Inside, our unit came with Flare Red leather upholstery that imparts a more adventurous feel.
There is no lack of space as the new NX is 20mm wider and has a 30mm longer wheelbase compared with the out-going model.
To make the NX more intuitive to drive, Lexus is banking on the ‘Tazuna Concept’ that draws on the symbiotic relationship between a jockey and his horse.
Multi-information display, multimedia screen, gauges and head-up display are grouped so they can be easily read at a glance.
The number of switchgears have also been reduced from 78 to 45 for easier operations.
The NX’s dashboard features a large 14-inch touchscreen multimedia system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via wireless or USB as well as having a built-in navigation system.
The door release latches are the electric e-Latch type that allows effortless opening of doors by the press of a button or lever.
Unlike typical performance SUVs that tend to unleash raw power at take-off, the 350 F Sport’s delivery is silky with muted exhaust note.
With the smooth Sepang track, the 350 F Sport’s driving civility and cabin quietness, there were times that we did not realised that we were actually going much faster than we had thought.
It also has five drive modes of Eco, Sport S, Sport S+, Normal or Custom for drivers to choose their preferred driving set-up.
The 350 F Sport also gets the Lexus-first electronically controlled full-time AWD that continuously varies driving force distribution between the front and rear axles from 75:25 to 50:50 depending on the situation.
Built on the Lexus Global Architecture K (GA-K) platform that offers 30% improvement in rigidity than previously, the NX has improved cornering control and dynamic handling.
The 350 F Sport exhibited surefootedness with minimal body roll as we charged around the twisty stretches of the Sepang track as well as a slalom course specially laid out for us.
Setting the 350 F Sport’s drive mode to Sport S+ amps up the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system and electric power steering for even better handling and thrills.
The NX has the latest generation of the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) that increases the level of active safety and driver assistance.
It even gets a new Road Sign Assist (RSA) that uses a camera to recognise speed limit signs and display the information on the head-up display and multi-information display.
With loads of improvements, the new NX looks set to continue the appeal of the previous model.
Lexus Malaysia will be holding a weekend event at all its showroom nationwide on May 21 and 22 where prospective buyers can test drive the NX and place a booking.