Lexus Malaysia couldn’t wait to share with the rest of the country just how beautiful and desirable the new Lexus NX is, so much so that they decided to give the media fraternity and sorority a taste of what was to come on 29 January 2015 when everything you ever wanted to know about the NX would be revealed on that day. Held at a nondescript and quiet stretch of parking space just outside the Setia City Convention Center in Setia Alam, the media adjourned into the main hall of an air-conditioned makeshift tent, we were greeted by Igino Quattrucci from Lexus Asia Pacific, an Italian residing in Australia. Quattrucci was at one time, a top Lexus car dealer in Australia, before his astute salesmanship and eye for detail caught the attention of Lexus’ top brass who decided to take him on as a spokesperson for the brand in the Asia-Oceania region.
The new NX, as explained by Mr Igino, sits right below the marque’s other luxury offering in the SUV market, the super luxurious Lexus RX, effectively putting paid to any misconception that the NX was here to replace the RX. Touted more as a compact luxury SUV, the new NX bears many of Lexus’ famous hallmarks, right from the design philosophy stage right down to every last nut and bolt, and is slated to compete for middle class attention among the likes of potential owners of SUVs in its class, namely the Audi Q5, VW Tiguan, Porsche Macan among others of its ilk, effectively placing the NX in a comfortable position to take on its rivals head on.
Putting a new “spin”dle on things, the new NX features an aggressive front end that carries the brand’s ubiquitous corporate identity, the ever famous spindle grill. In the past, two distinct camps arose out of each iteration of a new Lexus, with one camp waxing lyrical about the forceful looking spindle grill while the (possibly) older generation of beholders just couldn’t stand it. On the NX, the spindle grill effect without a doubt helps to bridge the gap between the aye and nay camps, as it looks positively striking when viewed from almost every angle, but especially so from the front. The loud, open-mouthed spindle grill design fits the car almost to a T, as if Lexus planned the grill specifically for the NX way back when the first model featuring this mouth wide open stance was first unveiled to the world.
2015 Lexus NX: A New Heart
A first for Lexus but not for parent company Toyota, the new NX comes in two distinct flavors; a newly developed 2.o-liter twin-scroll turbocharged mill putting out 235hp and 350Nm on tap in the NX 200t/NX 200t F Sport and a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-pot mated to an electric motor specced at 196hp (combined) in the eco-friendly hybrid Lexus NX 300h. Both engine types are harnessed to a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic tranny with Sport G AI-Shift allowing precise control over driving dynamics. Performance numbers are 7.1s and 200km/h for the NX 200t while the hybrid 300h dispenses with the century sprint in 9.2s on to a top speed of around 180km/h. The numbers aren’t too shabby, especially in the case of the blown NX 200t which would attract most buyers owing to an archaic road tax system that rewards owners of 2.0-liter cars and below with subsidized rates. All versions of the new Lexus NX are equipped with a real time 4WD system that automatically sends torque to where it is needed most, i.e., seamless 2WD/ 4WD performance on the go without having to stop by the road shoulder to switch driving modes. With so much at stake, a real-time 4WD system is the bees’ knees and a perfect match for a powerful engine in both variants.
Igino, the Lexus AsiaPac spokesperson, stressed that these days, buyers weren’t overly concerned with how things worked, so long as they worked. Even so, it was very fascinating to learn about how Lexus employed sound-deadening steel in the construction of the NX, right down to having trained technicians armed with hammers knocking on the chassis of the car to detect unusual sounds that invariably meant sending the failed car back to the start of the production line to be remedied. Especially mind-boggling was the fact that with the NX, Lexus introduces a new chassis with “Microscopic Force Control” which effectively reduces or eliminates small forces acting upon the car, so that you wouldn’t feel the car vibrate with every stroke of the windscreen wipers, or feel the car sway on its side when a vehicle passes it by, or, get this, “small changes to vehicle geometry due to changes in tire tread”. How’s that for immaculate engineering?
Adding to the profound obsession with perfection is the fact that craftsmen working on the leather in every Lexus start each day folding an origami cat with geometrically perfect pointed ears, with, get this, one hand! We were each given the exact piece of paper used by the Takumi craftsmen and asked to replicate the complex and deft folding technique which by the way is accomplished within 90 bloody seconds. My cat looked more like a mangy alley cat with droopy, asymmetrical ears. Enough said.
And you know how it is for most cars that have their rear combination lights split up between the rear fender and trunk? Well, Lexus thought about that too. In the gap between the rear door and fender, Lexus designed a tiny red light that illuminates the gap so when seen from the rear, you would see a continuous band of light from the fender to the trunk. You don’t even see this in a Rolls Royce for heaven’s sake!
The new Lexus NX introduces a new Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) that comes with a sensitive touch pad that features a smartphone style touchpad that is way easier to use than the previously designed joystick system in the past. True enough, it worked very intuitively, responding intimately with each and every finger gesture just like how a smartphone would. Another interesting nugget comes in the form of wireless “Qi” charging of compatible smartphones. A compartment within the center armrest has an indent that allows you to place a Qi enabled smartphone on it for effortless and wireless charging as and when required. If you don’t already own a smartphone with this feature built in, don’t worry as many smartphones are able to be modified to accept wireless charging, either through a Qi charging case or by simply adding a Qi interface within the phone’s housing.
Available Now Before GST
As of today, you can walk in to any Lexus showroom to check the car out for yourself and be amazed by the sheer engineering of it all. Available between RM300,000 to 390,200 without insurance, the new Lexus NX can be had in 5 variants and in no less than 7 exquisite colors to suit your lifestyle. Sonic Quartz, Sonic Titanium, Starlight Black Glass Flake, Red Mica Crystal Shine, Platinum Silver, Fire Agate Mica Metallic and Exceed Blue Metallic; no matter which color you pick, the new fully imported NX will be a handsome new addition to your garage, and with such a modest asking price for an SUV that clears the century sprint in 7 seconds? Need we say more?
Here’s the price listings for the Lexus NX in the Peninsular:
NX 200t – RM 299,873.80
NX 200t Premium – RM 331,679.80
NX 200t Luxury – RM 352,199.80
NX 200t F Sport – RM 378,875.80
NX 300h – RM 385,063.50
Launch of the new Lexus NX