Being ‘fashionably late’ is the art of being just late enough to show you’re busy, well-liked, and don’t need to worry about being on time. In some markets it’s sometimes the best entry-strategy, providing a second-mover advantage to learn from the mistakes of others, but sometimes it just means you’re late.. have missed the bell and failed to notice a significant trend.
Lexus are betting on the former, entering a market dominated by the likes of BMW’s X3, Audi’s Q5 and the Range Rover Evoque. The Japanese premium brand will need to offer something ‘new’ and more appealing which the others have yet to spot.
The new NX is the company’s new compact premium crossover, slotting in beneath the full-size RX which nowadays accounts for 40 per cent of Lexus sales.
‘NX’ stands for ‘nimble crossover’, which bodes well for its agile dynamics, while its sharp, edgy styling shows that it’s not afraid to make an entrance, even though the other contenders have already sat down at the table and are on their first or second courses. Getting it ‘right’ was more important to Lexus than being first.
The NX makes its world première at next week’s Beijing Motor Show, before going on sale towards the end of this year. At 4,640mm long it’s 1.7 centimetres shorter than a BMW X3 but almost 30 centimetres longer than a Range Rover Evoque, so Lexus are keen to ensure the NX matches the versatility of its peers.
It sits on 17 or 18-inch wheels, framed inside flared wheel arches, with Lexus’s signature spindle grille providing the central focus reinforced by LED headlamps and daytime running lights. Details include an innovative new door handle mechanism with a concealed key barrel and integrated lighting, while the rear is punctuated by Lexus’s L-shape combination lamps with LED lighting which echoes the spindle grille treatment at the front.
Beyond the NX’s aggressive styling, Lexus are keen to focus on the engineering beneath its exterior. To this end, the vehicle’s Chief Engineer, Takeaki Kato, will be taking to social media channels on 21st April to explain his philosophy and how that’s expressed throughout the new Lexus NX.
The tweetup hosted by @LexusInt will select 10 questions, tweeted in via the hashtag #LexusInBeijing and throughout the week answer 2 of them per day using Twitter and Vine. His answers will also be posted to a special Beijing Motor Show campaign page on the Lexus International website.
Lexus will offer the NX with a choice of three powertrains; the petrol-electric hybrid NX 300h, the 2.0-litre petrol turbo NX 200t, and the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre NX 200, each with a choice of either front or all-wheel drive. The UK market line-up will be confirmed at a later date, but we’d expect only the turbocharged models to go on sale with the NX 200t offered in front-wheel drive.