Lexus NX - the luxury of choice

The all-new NX opens a whole new chapter for Lexus, heralding new directions in design, powertrains and dynamic handling that deliver a more rewarding and connected driving experience. Next-generation multimedia and connectivity coupled with the application of advanced technologies for higher levels of safety, comfort and convenience further confirm the VIP status of this new mid-size luxury SUV in the Lexus line-up.

It replaces a model that has been very successful for Lexus. To build on this achievement and deliver a compelling new product to customers who today expect much more from their vehicle, Lexus has carried out a total reinvention of the NX. Its ambition and commitment are demonstrated by the major advances in performance, handling and efficiency – this is also reflected in the fact that 95 per cent of the vehicle’s parts are new.

All of this has been achieved while maintaining Lexus’ essential human-centred approach to vehicle development. On top of this, to give the newcomer the broadest possible appeal, Lexus offers the NX with no less than three different powertrains along with a choice of three grades including an F SPORT option on the Hybrid model for the very first time.

A New Design Direction

The new NX marks a significant evolution of Lexus design, developing the avant garde appeal of the original model but expressing a more sophisticated, dynamic and mature appearance, while at the same time conveying a muscular demeanor.

The aim was “functional beauty,” to meet increasingly diverse customer requirements and preferences. The new NX displays balanced, strong proportions with a road-gripping stance. Overall length has increased by 20mm, the wheelbase by 30mm, the width by 20mm and the height by 5mm – dimensions which ensure optimum packaging, notably with more usable space for rear seat passengers.

At the front, the Lexus spindle grille is set more upright and is more subtly framed. Wider front and rear tracks contribute to the more agile and powerful look, with a long, sleek bonnet, short overhangs and wheel arches that can accommodate the large-diametre, 20-inch ‘footwear’. At the rear the distinctive new features include Lexus blade lighting that spans the width of the tailgate and the first use of the “LEXUS” name in place of the “L” emblem, creating a more modern and simpler look.

New Tazuna Cockpit Design

The NX is the first model to feature Lexus’ Tazuna cockpit design. Taking its name from a Japanese word describing a rider’s use of the reins to control a horse, it is focused on giving the driver direct, intuitive vehicle control, following the principle of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.”

The cockpit space curves round from the driver’s door to the centre console, with information sources – multimedia screen, multi-information display, combimeter and Heads Up display (Grade dependent) – grouped in a unified area so they can be read with minimal eye and head movement. Similarly controls such as the starter button, shift lever, air conditioning controls and drive mode selector are set on the same plane, so reach and operation are simple and intuitive.

The new NX is the first Lexus model to be fitted with the e-latch electronic door release system (SE & F SPORT grades). This replaces the familiar internal door handle with a push-button switch next to the arm rest in the door panel, operated in a single, smooth movement. Safe Exit Assist links the e-latch to the NX’s Blind Spot Monitor, providing a warning if there is a risk of opening a door into the path of a vehicle or cyclist approaching from the rear and cancelling the action if necessary to avoid a collision. Lexus believes this can help prevent 95 per cent of the accidents caused by door opening.

Powertrains and Performance

Lexus has drawn on more than 15 years of hybrid electric technology expertise to produce the new NX 350h which employs the brand’s fourth-generation hybrid technology. It pairs two electric motors (and an all-new lithium-ion battery pack) with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder for a combined output of 179kW. Power is up by 19 per cent compared to the outgoing model, improving the 0-100km/h dash by 15 percent to 7.7 seconds and reaching a governed top speed of 200 km/h. At the same time, CO2 emissions fall by 23 percent (114 grams per km). All-important fuel-sipping credentials come in at 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres. The NX Hybrid is kitted with the latest version of Lexus E-CVT, an intelligent continuously variable transmission that has an infinite number of gear ratios at its disposal. By constantly analysing vehicle speed, road conditions, engine power and driver input, it selects the optimal (most efficient) gear ratio for that precise moment. Without the constraining effect of fixed gear ratios, the engine can be operated at its most efficient speed to either propel the car or charge the batteries. And if the computer decides that the petrol motor is not needed for a time, it can be shut down and the twin-input E-CVT used to direct propulsion from the electric motors to the wheels instead. Of course, the driver can also use the paddle shifts to select an appropriate ‘gear’ via one of the car’s onboard computers to jump to another spot in the powerband and continue accelerating.

This is the pivotal engine choice in the NX repertoire as it focuses on Lexus’ Carbon Neutral direction and reinforces a model line-up with the most comprehensive range of hybrid vehicles in the country. Without a doubt, hybrid remains the default green choice for the South African consumer given our current glaring challenges on the electricity front. That said, Lexus South Africa is looking at augmenting its line-up of vehicles with Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) as well as full Battery Electric models (BEVs) when the time is right. Keep watching this space…

Flanking the key hybrid models is the entry NX250 model at the one end and the virile NX350 on the other side of the performance spectrum – both come with an eight-speed automatic box. The NX250 is equipped with a smooth, direct-injected 2.5-liter four-cylinder pushing out a responsive 152kW and a complementary 243Nm of torque. This endows the most affordable NX with a light and agile Lexus luxury medium SUV experience. The obligatory 0-100 sprint is dispatched in a respectable 9.1 seconds, while the combined fuel cycle is pegged at a very modest 7,1 litres per 100km.

The decidedly raunchier NX350 is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder mill and pumps out a hefty 205kW with a concomitant 430Nm of torque resulting in a relatively snappy 0-100km/h acceleration time of 7 seconds. This model consumes 8,1 litres per 100km in the combined cycle.

Driving Dynamics

Development of the new NX’s dynamic performance focused on delivering the Lexus Driving Signature – an ideal combination of ride comfort with steering, throttle and braking performance that is faithful to the driver’s intentions at every moment, generating confidence and a rewarding sense of connection with the car.

Central to achieving this is the use of Lexus’ Global Architecture K (GA-K) platform. This secures a lower centre of gravity (-20mm), an increase in the front and rear tracks and an improved front/rear weight balance, all of which benefit the car’s improved handling and the driving experience. The new suspension design features front MacPherson struts and rear double wishbones with trailing arms.

Beyond that, a much more rigid body has been designed using innovative lightweight materials to add strength and allow for the weight of extra bracing and reinforcements.

For the NX range in South Africa, all models come standard with the motor-driven AWD E-Four system which has been incorporated on the rear transaxle. This system aids with improved torque delivery to the rear wheels, thus providing excellent performance off the line and improved overall drivability as well as fuel economy. This also lends a modicum of off-roading ability to the NX.

Exciting New Tech

The new NX features a completely new Lexus multimedia platform that meets customer priorities for fast, intuitive on-board connectivity such as the “Hey Lexus” assistant, which responds to natural voice commands, as if you are conversing with the car.

The system features a 14-inch display – one of the largest in its class. The high-definition screen presents clear graphics in all lighting conditions, while the speed of CPU (central processing unit) is 3.6 times faster than the outgoing system.

The NX also becomes the beneficiary of the latest safety technologies including several firsts such as Intersection Turn Assist (ITA) and Emergency Steering Assist (ESA); plus a Pre-Collision system with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, alongside Parking Support Brake (PKSB) with obstacle and vehicle detection, Blind-spot Monitor* (BSM) and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA).

In short, these safety enhancements are a further development of the Pre-Collision System’s capabilities so that motorcycles and some solid objects in the car’s path, such as trees, walls and utility poles, can be more readily detected. It also gains a new function that identifies collision risks with oncoming traffic or crossing pedestrians when making a turn at a junction. Its detection response is quicker and the ability to avoid an impact is increased with the addition of Emergency Steering Assist. With these developments, the Pre-Collision System can recognise and help to avoid 36 per cent more accident scenarios than previously.

*SE and F SPORT models only

Grade walk

In keeping with its premium SUV status, all models in the new Lexus NX are very well endowed. Engine and grade options are optimised to provide the customer with the ‘perfect fit’. The entry-level 2.5 is therefore exclusively offered in EX grade only, while the sport-biased 2.4 Turbo is available in the range-topping F SPORT guise. The Hybrid option is appropriately offered in all three grades – EX, SE (more luxury focused) and now also F SPORT for the first time with this engine.

Here are some of the highlights (grade differentials are in italics):

Convenience Features

- Adaptive Cruise Control

- Auto Dual-Zone Climate Control

- 10-speaker Lexus Premium audio system (EX) / 17-speaker Mark Levison (SE & F SPORT)

- Reverse camera (EX) / With Panoramic View Monitor (SE & F SPORT)

- Front power heated & ventilated seats with driver memory (EX & F SPORT) / Plus heated rear seats (SE)

- Navigation system

- Wireless charger

- AppleCarplay / Android Auto

- Heads Up Display (SE & F SPORT)

Driver Support & Passive Safety Systems

- Tyre Pressure Monitor

- Park Distance Control (Intelligent Clearance Sonar linked to Rear Cross Traffic Alert)

- Four-setting Drive Mode Select (EX & SE) / Five-setting Drive Mode Select to accommodate Adaptive Variable Suspension (F SPORT)

- Blind Spot Monitor in conjunction with Rear Cross Traffic Alert & Safe Exit Assist connected to e-latch (SE & F SPORT)

- ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Hill Assist, Traction Control, VSC, Trailer Sway Control, Downhill Assist, Lane Keeping System (steering vibration + Lane Trace Assist), Active Cornering Assist

- Pre-crash system (brake synchronised)

- Full suite of airbags including driver knee

- LED Auto High Beam (EX) / LED Adaptive High Beam System (SE & F SPORT)

- Power rear door (EX) / With hands-free function (SE & F SPORT)

- Electrochromatic power, heated side mirrors (EX) / With Blind Spot Monitor & auto-tilt function when reversing (SE & FSPORT)

- Rain sensor

- Electrochromatic rear-view mirror (EX) / Digital rear-view mirror (SE & F SPORT)

- Water-repellent front side glass (EX) / + special acoustic functionality (SE & F SPORT)

- Headlamp cleaner (SE & F SPORT)

- Cornering Lamps (SE & F SPORT)


- Roof spoiler

- Roof rails

- Panoramic roof (SE & F SPORT)

- 18-inch multi-spoke alloys (EX) / Grade-specific 20-inch alloys (SE & F SPORT)

- F SPORT* style & dynamic package


- Synthesised leather (EX) / Leather (SE) / Sports Trim (F SPORT)

- Digital speedometer (EX & SE) / LFA-inspired movable ring (F SPORT)

- Steering Wheel controls / with touch-capacitive capability (SE & F SPORT)

*In addition to the supplemental equipment that the higher-grade models receive, F SPORT models are treated to a unique styling package comprising 20-inch gloss-black alloy wheels, three projector bi-beam LED headlamps, as well as a sportier front and rear courtesy of dark chrome exterior details, a unique F Sport design mesh grille as well as restyled front and rear bumper designs with larger side vents cut into the front bumper. The interior is racier too thanks to the sports seats on top of the aforementioned niceties like HUD and the LFA-inspired instrument cluster. Unique trim upholstery and ornamentation finished with F Sport elements such as the scuff plates, perforated leather steering wheel and gear shifter, as well as alloy pedals round off this package. Under the skin, the major change is the Adaptive Suspension featuring performance dampers with firmer bracing. To fully exploit the dynamic prowess of the F SPORT, one simply dials the Drive Mode Select to “Sport S+” and then choose from a myriad of customisable driving style options.

The new NX is available in eight colours: White Quartz, Sonic Titanium, Sonic Chrome, Graphite Black, Terrane Khaki, Celestial Blue, Blazing Carnelian, Black and Madder Red. F SPORT variants may be ordered exclusively in Poseidon Blue or White Nova.

Two trim upholstery colours - Hazel and Black & Rich Cream, Dark Rose and Black. F SPORT grades are exclusively available in F SPORT Black, F SPORT White and the newly released F SPORT Flare Red.

Lexus NX pricing

Model   Price
Lexus NX 250 EX  R968 000
Lexus NX 350 EX R1 000 100
Lexus NX 350 SE  R1 172 900
Lexus NX 350h F SPORT R1 200 800
Lexus NX 350 F SPORT  R1 211 900

Every Lexus NX is delivered with the Lexus Warranty Experience featuring an industry leading seven years/105 000km and for NX 350h a leading eight years/195 000 km battery warranty.

In addition, all Lexus owners can sign up online for a personal MyLexus profile. This platform allows owners to quickly and conveniently access all information and services related to their vehicle(s). Additionally, all new Lexus (and Toyota) vehicles are fitted with a device that opens up a whole new world of features. Simply opt in and you have access to WiFi capability (first 15 megs free) along with a host of supplementary Connect services.