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Lexus's first compact crossover, the 2015 NX, has finally been revealed. First previewed in concept form a year ago, the production version of the NX will make its debut on the world stage at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show next week before sailing into showrooms in the fall. Key rivals for the NX will be the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 as well as the upcoming Lincoln MKC and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.
Three versions of the NX have been announced, although only two of these will make it to U.S. shores. Earmarked for local sale is a hybrid model designated the NX 300h and a turbocharged model dubbed the NX 200t. The latter packs Lexus’s first turbocharged engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit, and it will be offered with a stylish F Sport package. The third variant is the NX 200, which is aimed at global markets and likely packs a naturally aspirated version of the NX 200t’s engine.
Lexus hasn’t released specs for the powertrains yet, but we do have some clues. The NX 300h hybrid model should have a similar setup to that of Lexus’s 2015 RC 300h. That would mean a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 176 horsepower and an electric motor adding an extra 105 kilowatts (140 horsepower). It’s not clear how much power the turbocharged NX 200t will have, but we do know that Lexus has used a twin scroll turbo with an active wastegate valve. Lexus says the engine offers fast throttle response and strong performance while returning great fuel economy.
Underpinning the NX is a modified version of the platform found in the Toyota RAV4, and like the Toyota the Lexus comes with front-wheel drive as standard and all-wheel drive as an option.
In terms of styling, Lexus designers have managed to maintain the aggressive lines of the previous NX concepts but have softened them up significantly. This has resulted in a relatively handsome design that should see the NX stand out from the burgeoning crowd of luxury compact crossovers. As with all Lexus vehicles, the aggressive exterior starts with the spindle grille. It is then carried rearward thanks to a low profile and sculpted flanks. At the rear, we find bodywork that echoes the spindle grille design. Subtle, details include door handles with hidden key barrels and integrated lighting. Lexus says 17-inch wheels will be fitted as standard (available 18-inch wheels pictured).
Moving inside, we see that the dash of the NX is divided into two distinct sections. The upper zone houses the instrument panel and a seven-inch navigation screen while a layered center console integrates Lexus’s new Remote Touch input device. There are five seats in total, with a split-fold design for the rear bench. A number of tech goodies are also featured, either as standard or available. In addition to the aforementioned Remote Touch feature, the NX also comes with a wireless charging tray for mobile devices, a G sensor, boost gauge (NX 200t only), head-up display, active cruise control, and blind spot and rear cross traffic warning systems.
Stay tuned for more details as we approach the 2015 Lexus NX crossover's showroom arrival in the fall. In the meantime, click here to see what else will be on show at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show, which gets underway April 20.