2015 Lexus NX200t and NX300h Are Ultra-Modern Inside and Out



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The 2015 Lexus NX200t and NX300h instantly make all other compact crossovers look 1000 years old. This is a seriously new and innovative take on the design of Lexus SUVs – and we love it.

The surfacing is the most-notable point, with interesting creases throughout that make light bounce around inside the door panels and fender flares. It is totally fresh in a way that a mainstream, or even luxury model, has not been in at least a decade.

Overstating things a bit?

Perhaps – but the NX200t is extremely good-looking. This is one car where the F Sport trim really makes sense – helping to eliminate some of the NX300h’s long-nose design (when viewed in profile).

This might actually be an NX300h element in itself; the RX450h has a slightly longer nose than the gasoline-powered version. Dimensions remain TBD from Lexus, as do pricing and arrival dates.

Besides this, however, almost all the juicy info buyers will need is included below.

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Quick highlights and recommendations?

The NX200t F Sport would be the one for me, in the new super-bright Lexus white paint color.

Why?

  • — 17-psi of boost gives a massive lump of engine torque throughout the rev band

  • — six-speed sequential automatic is an all-new design for the NX200t, versus a CVT in the hybrid model

Other quick points:

  • — Interiors look outstanding, with new tech features everywhere

  • — Both NX200t and NX300h are avaialble with front-drive or AWD layouts, but only the NX200t runs pure engine power to the back axle. The hybrid uses Lexus’s battery-powered rear diff setup, which is smooth and silent and unobtrusive, but not as helpful in deep snow or muddy areas.

We will circle back pronto with details on when the Lexus NX is arriving in dealerships, and at what price. But we would estimate base pricing of the NX200t and the NX300h to be very similar, at approximately $33,000 each. With options, AWD and the recommended F Sport package for the NX200t, out-the-door pricing is likely to crest $42,000.

In terms of arrival dates, we estimate the first cars will hit consumer dealerships as soon as August of 2014. Very soon, in other words!

Official Details from Lexus below.

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All-New Lexus NX Compact Luxury-Utility Combines Breakthrough Design and Choice of Turbo or Hybrid Power

WHISTLER, British Columbia (July 6, 2014) – Lexus created the luxury-utility crossover category with the original midsized RX model in 1998 and is now poised to disrupt the growing compact segment with the all-new 2015 NX. Inspired by performance vehicles, the 2015 NX unites the engineering input of racers with the impeccable touch of Lexus luxury in a design that steals the show.

Following in the tire tracks of the new-generation Lexus GS and IS sedans, the 2015 NX brings dramatic design to a segment populated by boxy offerings. The boldest interpretation yet of the signature Lexus spindle grille and L-finesse design envelops a platform engineered by a team that includes active racers.

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The 2015 Lexus NX debuts in two versions, the NX 200t with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and the NX 300h hybrid, which brings the brand’s number of hybrid offerings to six, the most among luxury brands. The hybrid offers a real driving kick, thanks to a new transmission with a kick-down function. The racers on the team insisted on splitting the hybrid battery into two separate pods for better weight distribution; with the benefit of more efficient use of cabin space.

Both NX models offer their own version of pro-active all-weather drive (AWD).

Looking more sports-car than sport-utility, the 2015 NX’s cabin is bristling with new, onboard, standard and available technology, including a Lexus-first Wireless Charging Tray for compatible phones and devices; the new Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) with a touch pad; and a comprehensive Multi-information Display that features a Lexus-first G-Force meter and boost gauge.

The F SPORT badge on a Lexus tells you to expect a special driving experience. That’s certainly the modus operandi of the NX F SPORT, which looks a bit sinister with its more aggressive grille and front lower bumper. Special wheels, black exterior mirrors and exclusive interior trim and front sport seats round out the package.

NX Development Team

If there’s an overt performance spirit permeating the 2015 Lexus NX, thank chief engineer Takeaki Kato. A racer himself, who won his class in a long distance race at the famed Fuji Speedway, Kato found kindred spirits in driving dynamics expert Keiichi Nishiyama, who races go-karts; product planning chief Hiroshi Inoue, who competes in club events, and powertrain specialist Sunao Ichihara, who played an important role in the Lexus LFA V10 engine program.

Kato combined experience with youth in his design team. Both interior designer Atsushi Narita and color and trim expert Momoko Okamoto are younger than 30 years old.

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Firsts For Lexus NX

The new Lexus NX features numerous firsts in a Lexus, among them:

  • The all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine has a combination water-cooled cylinder head, integrated exhaust manifold and twin-scroll turbocharger.
  • A kick-down switch in the hybrid, which, as in conventional vehicles, ensures maximum power is delivered when required.
  • The front axle adopts a pre-load differential to control differential torque. It assists turning on slippery roads and straight-line stability at high speed.
  • Standard energy-efficient LED headlights and taillights.
  • Touch-sensitive interior lamp switches in the headliner.

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POWERTRAINS AND DRIVELINES

The 2015 Lexus NX debuts with freedom of choice: two powertrain choices, each with front-wheel drive or all-weather drive:

(1) an all-new 2.0-liter, 235-horsepower turbo gasoline engine, the brand’s first turbo gasoline engine, is matched to a new six-speed automatic transmission.

(2) In the NX 300h hybrid, a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine has a new automatic transmission with a unique kick-down feature.

In the NX 200t, the available Dynamic Torque Control AWD system can instantly vary front and rear torque split between 50:50 and 100:0 for optimum traction and fuel economy. The NX 300h hybrid offers the Lexus E-Four AWD system with an electric motor to drive the rear axle when required.

In both models, a pre-loaded front differential (and yaw rate feedback control on AWD versions) ensures optimum grip, control and agility. The differential uses a plate spring between the side gear and side-gear washer to add pre-load, which limits torque split between the front wheels. Under light loads, and when there is a low speed difference between the left and right wheels during cornering, the pre-loaded differential ensures straight-line stability and acceleration performance. At higher speeds, it operates as an open differential.

NX 200t: Dynamic Torque Control AWD

The NX 200t with all-weather drive introduces Dynamic Torque Control AWD to provide maximum traction and cornering stability. The system continuously controls torque transfer between the front and rear wheels, using sensors for vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, throttle angle and yaw rate.

To conserve fuel, the system uses front-wheel drive during normal cruising. When required, it automatically engages AWD through an electromagnetically controlled coupling in the rear differential housing, directing up to 50 percent of available torque to the rear wheels. When the driver makes too wide of a turn, the Dynamic Torque Control AWD helps bring the vehicle back to the intended drive line.

NX 300h Hybrid: E-Four AWD

The efficient Lexus E-Four proactive all-weather drive system in NX 300h hybrid uses an electric motor to drive the rear axle, while the front axle is propelled by gasoline or electric power, or a mixture of both. The sophisticated E-Four system varies torque distribution to the rear wheels, depending on driving dynamics and road conditions, and provides some rear-wheel torque at start-off to minimize chance of wheel-spin under acceleration and on slippery road surfaces.

E-Four saves energy and fuel, because the vehicle only uses all-wheel drive when needed. When the system detects loss of traction of the front wheels it reduces the electricity supply to the traction motor in the transaxle and increases supply to the rear-axle motor. The rear motor acts as a generator when the NX is in regenerative braking mode, increasing the amount of kinetic energy recovered.

The Lexus E-Four AWD system has situation-specific control features similar to Dynamic Torque Control proactive AWD in the NX 200t AWD model, including a yaw-rate control system for enhanced driving performance.

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NX 200t: New Turbocharged Engine

For its first-ever turbocharged gasoline engine, Lexus created an all-new engine architecture. The 2.0-liter turbocharged port and direct-injection engine uses an advanced valve control system to switch between Atkinson cycle and Otto cycle operation to optimize performance and fuel efficiency.

To minimize turbo lag, the four-into-two exhaust manifold system pairs cylinders according to their expansion or compression stroke to reduce pumping losses and eliminate exhaust gas interference. This results in improved acceleration response and wide torque band. The turbo engine produces 235 hp at 5,600 rpm with 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,650-4,000 rpm and up to 17psi of boost at wide open throttle. A balance shaft enhances smoothness.

The combination of direct fuel injection and additional port fuel injectors, as used on some other Lexus models, ensures ample power and crisp responsiveness at all engine speeds.

Combining the cylinder head, exhaust manifold and intercooler with variable wastegate control enhances low speed torque fuel economy. Active wastegate control minimizes pumping losses by reducing backpressure during low engine load. The water-cooled intercooler, mounted directly to the engine, provides strong advantages in acceleration. A dual exhaust system reduces backpressure and noise.

The D-4S fuel injection system provides the optimum mixture to realize the highly efficient rapid combustion.

To keep the engine oil clean, the intake system creates a syphon which draws carbon vapors away from the crankcase allowing for 10,000 miles between oil changes similar to aspirated engines.

Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-iW) optimizes torque throughout the engine speed range and allows the engine to start in the Otto cycle and then run in the more fuel efficient Atkinson cycle. The late intake valve closing of the Atkinson cycle reduces pumping losses and boosts fuel economy.

The turbo engine was bench-tested for more than 10,000 hours before extensive on-road testing, covering more than 600,000 miles, began.

All-New Six-Speed Transmission

An all-new sequential six-speed automatic transmission networks with the turbo engine to achieve an ideal level of boost pressure for performance and fuel economy. Torque-demand control logic calculates required engine torque and maximizes it, delivering quick response and exhilarating acceleration feel with good fuel efficiency.

The G-force Artificial Intelligence (G-AI) system is also adopted for more spirited driving. G-AI automatically selects the optimum gear and downshift pattern in response to G force.

 

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About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine.He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.