Lexus NX Canada Drive

The Lexus NX, previewed at IGEM 2014 this morning, is pretty close to its Malaysian launch. Estimated prices for the SUV have been released by Lexus Malaysia, showing a line-up with two engine options, five variants and seven exterior/cabin colour combos, in total.

The Lexus NX is the luxury brand’s entry into the compact premium SUV segment, one that has been dominated by the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, and of late, the Range Rover Evoque. Porsche’s Macan also wants a piece of this lucrative pie.

First shocking the world as the LF-NX Concept in 2013, the Lexus NX has morphed from beastly showcar into a less divisive, but still striking piece of kit, debuting at Auto China in April 2014. The NX sits below the RX in Lexus’ SUV family.

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Two powertrains will be available for the Malaysian market – the 200t and the 300h. We’ll focus on the former, which comes in four variants and is expected to take the lion’s share of NX sales.

Powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine with 235 hp and 350 Nm of torque at 1,650-4,000 rpm, the NX 200t does 0-100 km/h in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 200 km/h. The fresh four-pot, which has VVT-iW (intake) and VVT-i (exhaust), is mated to a new six-speed (conventional, torque converter) automatic gearbox. Dynamic Torque Control AWD manages drive to the tarmac.

It’s not a Lexus if it doesn’t come with a hybrid option, and the NX 300h is here to please the eco-conscious. It combines a 153 hp/210 Nm 2.5 litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with a 141 hp/270 Nm electric motor juiced by a nickel–metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack.

There’s also another smaller 67 hp/139 Nm motor on the rear axle for the E-Four AWD system. Total system output is 197 PS. The 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 9.2 seconds while top speed is 180 km/h.

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Click to enlarge spec sheet

As mentioned, four variants of the NX 200t – Standard, Premium, Luxury, F-Sport – will be available along with a single NX 300h. Click on the brochure scan above to view the differences between each trim level. Six exterior colours are available for all variants except for the F-Sport, which has five options including the F-Sport exclusive Exceed Blue Metallic. Each variant also comes with a unique interior colour combo.

Priced from RM300k to RM390k, the CBU from Japan Lexus NX is well equipped to challenge the establishment. To give you an idea of the battleground, the latest CKD X3 facelift is priced from RM329k to RM349k, while the ageing Q5 2.0 TFSI retails for RM328k. The Evoque is a RM400k fashion accessory, while RM420k buys you a very basic Porsche Macan.

The Lexus NX is a breath of fresh air for a brand that, CT 200h apart, has been selling cars with big naturally-aspirated engines. Now armed with a 2.0 turbo, Lexus, starting with the NX, has the tool it needs to properly challenge the Germans. As you might have guessed from the lead shot, we’ve driven it already, so stay tuned for the test drive report. Like what you see so far?

Thai-spec Lexus NX 300h on display at IGEM 2014, KLCC