lexus nx launched

First seen on Malaysian soil at the 2014 IGEM convention and with order books opening in October last year, the Lexus NX has just received its official local debut. The compact SUV, CBU from Japan, represents the Japanese firm’s first assault on the likes of the BMW X3, Volvo XC60, Range Rover Evoque and Porsche Macan.

The Lexus NX lands with two engine options – a 200t and a 300h option. The former is offered in four different trim levels, starting with a base 200t and leading on to a 200t Premium, Luxury and F Sport, sequentially. The NX 300h, offered in only one trim, brings the grand total to five.

Though it may lack the perceived badge prestige of its European rivals, the NX more than makes up for it with its looks. Even with the relatively mild non-F-Sport treatment, the NX is bound to cut quite an image on the road, no doubt thanks to its distinctive combination of full LED head lamps (halogen high beams on the base 200t) and Nike-esque daytime running lights (DRL).

In terms of wheel/tyre combinations, the base 200t models receives ten-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in 225/65 tyres. The 300h along with the 200t Premium and Luxury get 18-inch designs, wrapped in 225/60 tyres. Finally, the 200t F Sport gets the combination of five, twin-spoke 18-inch alloys and wider 235/55 tyres.

The NX will have more than enough go to back up the show with its turbocharged 2.0 litre, inline four-cylinder mill, found on the 200t variants. The new engine features a combination of liquid-cooled cylinder heads, an integrated 4-to-2 exhaust manifold and a twin-scroll turbocharger – a world’s first, apparently.

As a result, the engine pumps out 235 hp at 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,650 to 4,000 rpm. A six-speed automatic gearbox transmits all that grunt to the road via an on-demand Dynamic Torque Control AWD system, resulting in a 0-100 km/h time of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 200 km/h – identical figures are quoted for all 200t models.

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On the Lexus NX 300h, a 2.5 litre, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine generating 153 hp and 210 Nm of torque is employed. The ‘hybrid’ part consists of front and rear electric motors, providing 141 hp and 67 hp, respectively – resulting in a combined power output of 194 hp. Torque output from the front motor is 270 Nm, the rear is 139 Nm of torque. The battery is of the nickel-metal hydride variety. In place of the six-speed automatic is an eCVT transmission that sends power to all four wheels. Top speed is 180 km/h with the century sprint done and dusted in 9.2 seconds.

It should be known that the NX is available in front-wheel drive configurations in other markets, but only the all-wheel drive variants are available here at launch. Lexus says that studies are being conducted to gauge market demand for the two-wheel drive models.

As for safety equipment, all five variants are fairly specced up with eight airbags – including a driver’s knee airbag and a front passenger cushion airbag – ABS, EBD, Brake Assist (BA) and vehicle stability control (VSC) included as standard. The Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems are included on all variants except for the base 200t.

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Standard kit count includes a memory function for the driver’s seat (with auto reset capabilities), heated and ventilated front seats, automatic wipers and LED fog lamps as well as cornering lamps on all variants except the base 200t. What is available on all five variants though, are touch control front interior lights, electric steering adjustment which includes both tilt and telescopic ranges and paddle shifters.

Beginning with the base 200t, its seats are wrapped in synthetic leather while the dash finishing consists of a leather/silver film combination. It gets the eight-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system which features AM/FM, MP3 and WMA capability. Keyless entry is standard on all variants but the base 200t loses out on the Smart Card Key (a credit card-like key) system.

The 60:40 folding rear seats are manually-operated. The rest of the range, bar the F Sport, gets powered folding rear seats instead. The tail gate on the base 200t variant is manually-operated while the rest of the range receives a powered boot.

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Moving up the range to both the 200t Premium and Luxury nets you an interior that features smooth leather upholstery. Wood dash trim makes an appearance here, along with a Qi wireless charging system inside the centre armrest.

The 200t Luxury adds on a 10-speaker Lexus Premium Audio sound system as opposed to the eight-speaker setup in lesser variants, as well as a sunroof with tilt and slide function – solely available on this variant. The multimedia system is also upgraded to Lexus’ Remote Touch Controller interface, which includes navigation and a panoramic camera (all-round view monitor, in place of a standard reverse camera).

As for the 200t F Sport, it features perforated leather upholstery with red contrast stitching on the seats and gear shifter. An exclusive F Sport instrument cluster layout with a turbo meter and aluminium pedals, along with scuff plates are present. The sound system has been upgraded to a 14-speaker Mark Levinson setup with Clari-Fi technology. Outside, further differences can be marked out from the inclusion of a full F Sport exterior dres-up kit with a mesh grille up front and a panoramic roof.

Not a mere aesthetic upgrade, the F Sport model also includes a sportier Adaptive Variable Suspension with so-called Performance Rods. A Sport+ drive mode is also exclusive to this variant. At launch, this model holds the largest majority of orders taken so far.

Finally, the NX 300h is differentiated by the inclusion of roof rails and the exclusion of visible tail pipes – the rest of the range has twin exhaust pipes. The 300h also has its exterior badges painted in a blueish hue. On the inside, the instrument cluster is the biggest giveaway to its eco-friendly intentions, while the engine start button is dressed in blue.

Prices for the base Lexus NX 200t begin at RM299,873.80, while the 200t Premium goes for RM331,679.80, and the Luxury at RM352,199.80. The 200t F Sport is priced at RM378,875.80, and the hybrid 300h at RM385,063.50. All prices are on-the-road with insurance, and every NX comes with a three-year/100,000 km (whichever comes first) warranty. For a more detailed breakdown of each variant, including all the exterior and interior colour options, head on over to Carbase.my. Also read our full test drive report.

Lexus NX 200t

Lexus NX 200t Luxury

Lexus NX 200t F Sport

Lexus NX 300h