10 / 11 / 2017
THE UPDATED LEXUS NX 300h
THE UPDATED LEXUS NX 300h
Lexus evolves the sophisticated sporty styling of the NX crossover
Introduction of new spindle grille, revised front bumper and new alloy wheel designs
LED headlights redesigned internally for Adaptive High-beam System and new-look LED rear lamp clusters, both with sequential turn indicators
Interior changes include new colour options, revised switchgear and controls and an increase in size for the central multimedia screen from seven to eight or 10.3 inches
Detailed suspension adjustments and revised Adaptive Variable Suspension with new continuously variable control enhance ride comfort and vehicle stability
Lexus Safety System + introduced to the NX range
Since its launch in 2014, the NX crossover has quickly established itself as a key player in the Lexus range accounting for more than 30 per cent of Lexus European sales since its launch. It has been successfully attracting customers – many of them new to the brand – with its combination of luxury, cool and contemporary design, intelligent packaging and enjoyable driving dynamics. Its sales success has been further supported by a choice of petrol-electric self-charging hybrid and petrol powertrains, plus front and all-wheel drive options.
Its performance has been stronger than even Lexus anticipated, breaking sales forecasts in all the world markets where it is available, including Europe. To build on that momentum and maintain the NX’s strong appeal, Lexus has initiated a package of revisions and improvements, covering exterior and interior styling, safety, driving dynamics and equipment features. The new NX made its European debut at the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) and will reach European retailers from November.
Exterior styling refinements
The strong design essence of the NX has been preserved, but given stronger visual impact with a number of detailed changes including a new-look spindle grille, reshaped front bumper and LED headlamp units with sequential LED turn indicators. At the rear, there are adjustments to the form and finish of the lower rear bumper and new lamp clusters. New alloy wheel designs have also been produced.
Interior: an authentic driver’s environment with added convenience
The NX’s cabin has been given a sportier and more luxurious feel, while a reappraisal of some of the equipment features, including larger multimedia displays and a revised air conditioning control panel, deliver improved ease of use and a smarter appearance.
New interior colour options
There are new colour options for the NX, with the addition of Rich Cream and Ochre upholstery and trim, together with the established White Ochre, Black and Dark Rose. Flare Red and Mustard Yellow are both new for the NX F SPORT models.
Power rear door
The new NX gains the convenience of a power rear door with “no-touch” opening and closing function. When you approach the vehicle with the key on your person, all you need to do to open the door is move your foot beneath the rear bumper, where the motion will be picked up by a sensor. The tailgate can be closed with a similar action. A lock reserve button next to the tailgate grab handle automatically locks the vehicle.
Lexus Safety System +
Lexus Safety System + is introduced to the new NX, available across the full model range either as standard equipment or as an affordable option. The provision of these active safety and driver assistance features is in line with Lexus’ commitment to making useful advanced technologies accessible to as many customers as possible.
For the new NX, Lexus Safety System + provides a Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive High-beam System, Lane Keeping Assist with Sway Warning and Road Sign Assist. Intelligent Parking Sensors are also available. More information can be found in the separate Lexus Safety System + chapter.
DESIGN AND packaging
Muscular and edgy exterior design demonstrating a strong SUV character
Bold yet luxurious interior design with driver-focused cockpit
Ample interior space, combining SUV functionality with Lexus luxury and comfort
The NX combines a low roofline with a strong, cab-forward silhouette. Powerfully flared front and rear wings are fused to a diamond-shaped body, with defining lines generated from the spindle grille.
These fundamental elements have been preserved in the new NX, but changes have been made to amplify the qualities that have helped make the vehicle so popular with customers. Most notably the spindle grille has a new look that aligns it more closely with other Lexus SUVs – the RX and LX. This introduces a series of horizontal bars that extend down to the grille’s lower edge. Those below the central pinch-point in the spindle are spaced wider apart, which emphasises the car’s width and adds visual strength to its frontal styling. The effect is heightened by the addition of new, deeply recessed and angled lateral air intakes.
Internal changes have been made to the LED headlamps to accommodate the new Adaptive High-beam System that is part of the new NX’s Lexus Safety System + package.
The upper part of the front bumper has been reshaped so its line blends better with the styling of the hood and front doors. The result is an overall sleeker shape with better aerodynamics.
The sleek side profile is accentuated by a roofline which falls towards the back of the vehicle. The flared wheel arches, housing 17 or 18-inch wheels, give the car a crouching, muscular stance.
Echoing the spindle grille design of the front, the rear of the NX features L-shaped combination lamps with seamless LED lighting.
The NX achieves an ideal balance of aerodynamics and design, having a 0.32 Cd coefficient of drag. Using a rear spoiler creates a smooth airflow from the back of the vehicle, helped by the trailing edge of the fin being given a slightly upturned lip.
Lights and lamps
Low energy consumption LED lights play a central role in defining the NX’s design.
Each headlamp cluster has up to six high-brightness LEDs, including three L-shape low beam lamps. There are 23 LEDs in the daytime running lights and another 16 in each sequential turn indicator.
Higher grade models feature adaptive low-speed cornering LED fog lights: when the turn indicators are operated, two LED lamps automatically adjust to give better illumination of the bend or junction ahead.
The NX has a unique rear lamp signature, an uninterrupted flow of light crossing seamlessly from the tailgate to the body.
New wheel designs
The NX benefits from two new 18-inch alloy wheel designs created for Luxury and F SPORT models, both with a striking combination of bright machined and dark metallic finishes. All models in the range are fitted with cast alloys, 17 or 18-inch diameter according to grade.
In the cabin, the cockpit is designed to help keep the driver alert and comfortable, supported by HMI technology that minimises distraction by making switches and controls fast and simple to use.
The centre console has a prominent silver frame that’s embedded in the instrument panel and flanked by contrasting soft and supportive leather kneepads. High grade models feature wood inserts, while carbon fibre-look and aluminium trims are used in the F SPORT.
The new NX provides a wider choice of colour options for the interior, adding Rich Cream and Ochre upholstery and trim finishes to the existing White Ochre, Black and Dark Rose shades. The NX F SPORT models are newly available with Flare Red and Mustard Yellow interiors.
The NX provides ample room for everyone, with best-in-segment space in critical areas. The high roofline gives exceptional head clearance and rear knee-room is even greater than in some larger SUV models.
Luggage space is generous and practical, wide enough for golf bags to be stowed sideways. The load capacity (VDA measurement) is 475 litres. Convenience is also catered for with the option of power-folding rear seats that can extend the load space with a flat floor in just 10 seconds.
Ease of loading has been further improved with the introduction of a power back door on the new NX, together with a “no-touch” opening and closing function. When you approach the vehicle with the key on your person, all you need to do to open the door is move your foot beneath the rear bumper, where the motion will be picked up by a sensor. The tailgate can be closed with a similar action. A lock reserve button next to the tailgate grab handle automatically locks the vehicle.
Meters and switches
Lexus has made some detail changes to the new NX’s switchgear and controls to improve their ergonomic quality.
The most prominent change is an increase in size for the central multimedia display. In the case of the Lexus Premium Navigation, the screen has grown from seven to 10.3 inches, while for the Lexus Display Audio the increase is from 7 to 8 inches.
The climate control panel in the centre console has been rationalised with several of the buttons being replaced by a series of four toggle switches, finished with a tactile pattern of small, metallic Lexus “L” motifs.
The analogue clock in the centre of the dashboard has been made larger and given a clearer face. As well as being easier to read, it now has a GPS control that automatically adjusts the time displayed as the vehicle passes through different world time zones.
The hybrid system indicator shows power output and regeneration in real time, with the dial switching automatically to a tachometer when SPORT mode is selected.
An Eco Driving Indicator supports environmentally efficient driving, by showing the range of acceleration for Eco driving and the status of acceleration in real time.
The 4.2-inch TFT LCD full-colour multi-information display is centrally positioned in the instrument cluster, with ambient illumination linked to the Drive Mode Select switch, changing colour for each mode. The NX also has electrostatic touch switches in the headlining to operate the interior lights.
A welcoming light sequence is all part of the attention to detail: when you approach the NX carrying the key, the door handles are automatically illuminated, along with the Remote Touch Interface inside the car.
Wireless charging tray increased in size to accommodate new-generation smartphones
360-degree Panoramic View Monitor
6.2-inch Head-Up Display, seamlessly integrated into the instrument panel
Improved Remote Touch Interface with touchpad
Mark Levinson Surround Sound system with Clari-Fi
The Lexus NX has many new technology features that make life on board easier, better informed and more enjoyable.
NX owners can recharge their smartphones and other compatible items simply by placing them in a dedicated charging tray located handily between the front seats, with no need for a cable connection. In the new NX the tray has been made larger, so that new-generation handsets can be accommodated.
To improve connectivity the USB ports on the new NX have been moved to handier central position and have a higher amperage so that devices can be charged more quickly.
Customers can also specify a 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor which helps the driver gain an all-round view of the vehicle when making low-speed manoeuvres or when driving off-road at slow pace. The monitor lets the driver see obstacles that would remain concealed in blind spots when using conventional front and rear-view cameras; it also works in conjunction with the NX’s parking assist system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
High grade models are fitted with a 6.2-inch Head-Up Display, which projects a range of information on to the bottom part of the windscreen, including vehicle speed, engine rpm, navigation guidance and audio settings. On the new NX the unit is seamlessly integrated into the top of the dashboard.
The new NX benefits from an all-new Lexus Remote Touch Interface touchpad (included with the Lexus Premium Navigation package), a design introduced earlier this year in the new Lexus LS and LC flagship models. The pad surface has been made larger so that it is easier to use and the palm rest has been reprofiled so that it provides better wrist support.
Two audio systems are available in the NX: a 10-speaker Pioneer Premium sound system and a 14-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system. The Mark Levinson audio, designed specifically for the vehicle, uses advanced Clari-Fi technology which improves the playback sound quality of compressed digital music files.
Detailed suspension adjustments to achieve higher rigidity for enhanced vehicle stability and responsiveness
Adaptive Variable Suspension features new continuously variable control, increasing the number of control levels from 30 to 650 for smooth, precise control, reduced roll and greater ride comfort
High body rigidity and suspension characteristics deliver stability, agility, responsive handlingand ride comfort
Drive Mode Select lets the driver adjust vehicle behaviour to suit road conditions and driving style
The NX has been designed to deliver an engaging and agile drive, and a high level of ride comfort. Detailed changes have been made to the suspension, primarily to achieve greater rigidity, helping deliver even better vehicle stability and responsiveness. The Adaptive Variable Suspension system has been upgraded, benefiting from new continuously variable control to provide higher levels of controllability and ride comfort with reduced roll.
Lexus has made a thorough re-assessment of the new NX’s suspension, introducing detailed adjustments to the spring rates, bushing material and component mounts to optimise performance and achieve even higher stability, both in straight-line driving and cornering.
The rear stabiliser bar has been revised, with spring rate increased by 22 per cent. The roll angle has been suppressed to secure an excellent turning posture, while optimising front and rear roll distribution has resulted in improved line traceability, so the vehicle responding faithfully to the driver’s inputs.
In pursuit of the most comfortable ride, even the oil and oil seals in the front shock absorbers have been change to reduce friction, eliminating fine vibrations provoked by the road surface.
The NX has MacPherson strut front suspension and a trailing arm double wishbone system at the rear, optimised for agility, stability and ride comfort. By separating the rear coil springs and dampers, intrusion into the luggage compartment has been minimised, also allowing for a low loadspace floor.
Chassis rigidity is key to suspension performance, and hence, agility. Thanks to the particularly high rigidity of the NX’s bodyshell, it has been possible to increase the spring rate of the front upper support bushings, above the level that would have been possible with a softer platform, further optimising the suspension for agility.
Even the rigidity of the steering column installation goes beyond normal parameters. Friction between the dampers’ moving parts has been minimised to overcome the feeling of road shock when cornering.
Adaptive Variable Suspension
Lexus has comprehensively upgraded the Adaptive Variable Suspension, available for the new NX F SPORT and Luxury grades.
By introducing a new continuously variable control, the system’s control levels have been increased from 30 to 650, helping secure smooth and precise vehicle control. Excellent damping force control response has been achieved, which contributes to even better ride comfort and a reassuring driving feel with reduced roll.
The AVS controls shock absorber damping force on all four wheels in response to the way the vehicle is being driven and road surface conditions. For example, when travelling on a rough surface, a lower damper rating is set to maintain a comfortable ride. Damping force is controlled when the vehicle is cornering, to optimise its posture and maintain stability.
The system provides control in five distinct areas: -
Vehicle Speed-sensing Control, adjusting control in line with vehicle speed to enhance comfort at low speed and stability at high speed.
Roll Attitude Control, maintaining the optimum vehicle attitude when cornering through control of damping force on all four wheels.
Anti-dive Control, maintaining a higher damping force in line with brake master cylinder pressure, to moderate the speed at which the vehicle pitches forward under braking.
Anti-squat Control, reducing the change in vehicle attitude under acceleration to maintain comfort and stability.
Rebound control, providing fine control of damping force on all four wheels, based on signals from a vertical G-sensor to provide smooth and natural damping of even small amount of vehicle sway.
High body rigidity
The NX’s bodyshell is both highly rigid and light, making extensive use of high tensile strength sheet steel, combined with aluminium.
Advanced production techniques, in particular body adhesives, laser screw welding and additional spot welds, have been used to strengthen the panel joints. Laser screw welding around the door apertures is supplemented by body adhesive techniques and reinforcements in key areas.
Drive Mode Select
Lexus Drive Mode Select gives drivers the choice of Normal, ECO and SPORT driving modes, selected using a dial control on the centre console. A button next to the dial lets the driver engage an additional EV all-electric mode.
In each mode, throttle action is adjusted according to whether economy or performance is prioritised. Drive Mode Select also simultaneously modifies the power steering assistance and suspension damping force setting.
When Adaptive Variable Suspension is specified as an option on the NX F SPORT models, an additional SPORT+ mode is added to the system.
Engine & Powertrain
Lexus NX 300h available with front or all-wheel drive
Petrol-electric self-charging hybrid system features 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine and an electric motor – plus an additional electric motor for AWD capability
The NX 300h uses a proven Lexus Hybrid Drive system featuring a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine, a generator, electric motor and hybrid battery with a sophisticated HV control unit developed specially for the model. Both front and all-wheel drive versions are available.
Total system output is 197 DIN hp/145kW; combined cycle fuel consumption is from 5.0l/100km and CO2 emissions are from as low as 116g/km.
Fine-tuning of the engine has produced greater responsiveness and fuel efficiency. Upgrades include a water-to-oil cooler for the electric drive motor and a revised front drive reduction ratio, improving fuel economy and hill-climbing capability.
The HV transaxle provides a kick-down function for sharper acceleration. The unit comprises an electric motor generator and an electric drive motor, linked by a double set of planetary gears.
The NX has a unique torque control to reduce pitching motion when driving on an uneven road surface. The pre-loaded front differential is also featured as part of the NX 300h’s E-Four AWD system.
New HV control software minimises engine flare during acceleration, increasing the sensation of linear acceleration. Engine speed has been increased relative to the accelerator pedal angle, creating the feeling of a downshift. The NX adjusts to the target engine speed and to the G-force applied to the vehicle, giving a more natural feeling of acceleration, without excessive adjustment of the engine speed and gear ratio.
Lexus’ E-Four system uses an additional electric motor to drive the rear axle, while the front axle is propelled by power from the petrol engine, electric motor, or a combination of both.
The sophisticated system varies torque distribution to the rear wheels, according to driving dynamics and road conditions, providing the kind of stability when pulling away and acceleration performance on slippery roads that are appropriate for an AWD vehicle.
E-Four saves energy and fuel, as all-wheel drive is only engaged when needed. When the system detects a loss of traction to the front wheels, it reduces the electricity supply to the traction motor in the transaxle and increases the supply to the rear axle motor. The rear motor also acts as a generator when the vehicle in regenerative braking mode, increasing the amount of kinetic energy that can be recovered.
The NX 300h’s engine mounts are tuned to suppress engine vibration at start up, reducing fuel consumption and contributing to ride comfort. The mounts allow for only 10 per cent of conventional deviation from the engine’s normal axis away from its centre of gravity – the cause of vibration.
LEXUS SAFETY SYSTEM +
The benefits of Lexus’ advanced safety technologies have been extended to the refreshed NX range.
This comprehensive upgrade of the cars’ safety provisions means that almost all new Lexus models sold in Europe now benefit from Lexus Safety System +. This is true to Lexus’ “democratisation” strategy to make these safety technologies available to a greater number of customers, at an affordable price. It also reflects the brand’s commitment to improving road safety for all – driver, vehicle occupants, pedestrians and other road users alike – with ultimate aim of eliminating traffic accidents.
The Lexus Safety System + introduced to the NX includes features which monitor the car’s surroundings and the driver’s responses, recognising certain collision risks and providing support to help prevent a collision happening, or lessening the consequences should an impact be unavoidable.
Lexus’ Pre-Collision system (PCS) can help the driver avoid a collision, or lessen the consequences of an impact, even at high speed.
PCS uses a millimetre-wave radar and camera mounted on the front of the car to scan the road ahead to detect obstacles or hazards. It functions both when driving straight ahead and when cornering. It also computes data collected from sensors around the car monitoring factors such as vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate inputs. This information helps the PCS determine the risk of a rear-end collision with a vehicle ahead.
If it calculates a high risk of an impact, it will trigger a warning buzzer and light up a “BRAKE” command in the multi-information display to alert the driver to take action. The moment the brake pedal is pressed, the system initiates a Pre-Collision Brake to provide optimum braking force. This can achieve deceleration of up to 40km/h, slowing the vehicle to reduce the severity of any impact, or potentially bringing the car to a stop before an impact occurs.
If the driver fails to respond to the alerts and does not apply the brakes, the Pre-Collision Brake will automatically deploy to reduce the vehicle’s speed.
PCS also provides a pedestrian protection function. If a pedestrian is detected in the vehicle’s path, automatic braking will be activated. This operates when the Lexus is travelling at between 10 and 80km/h.
Adaptive Cruise Control
The PCS’ radar is also used to provide Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which helps the driver maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. On the new NX it will operate down to very low speeds and standstill.
Once the way ahead is clear, the ACC will automatically and smoothly accelerate the vehicle back to its pre-selected cruising speed. If the car has been brought to a halt, the driver simply has to press the accelerator briefly for the system to be reactivated.
The ACC can operate in two modes: constant speed control, like a conventional cruise control system, or vehicle-to-vehicle distance control. With the latter mode, the driver can set long, medium or short vehicle-to-vehicle distances, according to preference or traffic conditions. The control settings selected are shown on the multi-information display.
Lane Keeping Assist
Lane Keeping Assist uses the PCS camera, mounted on the windscreen behind the rear-view mirror, to track the vehicle’s course between lane markings painted on the road surface. If it detects that car is moving out of its lane without the turn indicators being used, it will light up a warning on the multi-information display and sound a buzzer, prompting the driver to steer back to the correct path. In addition to the alert function, the system will also apply force to the steering in order to assist the driver in avoiding lane departure.
Lane Keeping Assist also provides a Sway Warning function. This monitors the car’s position in its lane on the highway and the driver’s steering inputs. If it detects degrees of vehicle swaying, caused by driver distraction or drowsiness, it will sound an alert and display a warning on the multi-information display, recommending the driver takes a break.
Adaptive High-beam System
On the new NX, an adjustable LED Adaptive High-beam System (AHS) maximises illumination in night-time driving. Eleven independent LED chips in each headlight are enabled or disabled to give precise control of the illuminated and non-illuminated areas in front of the vehicle. This means the driver can enjoy maximum, safe use of high beam lighting, improving their field of vision without the risk of dazzling other road users.
Road Sign Assist
Road Sign Assist recognises traffic signs using the windscreen-mounted camera, repeating the information on the multi-information display. This helps prevent the risk of the driver failing to notice important warnings or commands on major routes, including speed limits and lane closures. The system can detect signs that are designed according to the international standards of the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.