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Lexus NX 200t F Sport first look

Fri, 11 Apr 2014

We got an early look at the Lexus NX 200t F Sport in production trim 10 days ahead of its world debut at the Beijing auto show April 20. The luxury compact crossover will also be on display at the New York auto show but only during the public days.

The Lexus NX 200t is a slightly less racy looking version of the LF-NX Turbo concept shown at Tokyo. Dimensions are about the same as the RAV4, making the NX fit into the Lexus line just under the popular RX. It's clearly aimed at small luxury crossovers like the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA and Audi Q3, all of which will have beat it to the market by the time the Lexus NX CUVs debut in late-November or early December in the U.S.

So far, we know that the NX will be available in two models in the U.S.:

The NX 200t will feature Lexus' first turbo engine, a 2.0-liter four with VVT-iW. Yes, that W is new. It signifies advance and retard of the intake cam. At low loads and rpm it can operate as an Atkinson cycle engine for greater efficiency and lower pumping losses. At higher engine speeds and greater loads it switches to the more standard Otto cycle. Kind of cool, we think. The turbo is a twin-scroll for even more efficiency while the intercooler is an air-to-water-to-air unit. Output is said to be “over 200 hp.” It will be mated to a six-speed ECT automatic transmission which has been engineered for smooth transfer of power and seamless, linear acceleration, according to Lexus.

The NX 300h will get a 2.5-liter four with Lexus Hybrid Drive and a CVT transmission. Since it has a hybrid drive, its 2.5-liter gasoline engine operates in the Atkinson cycle all the time. Total system horsepower for the hybrid will be “comparable to the ES 300h,” which is to say, about 200 hp.

Both will ride on standard 225/60 tires wrapped around your choice of 17- or 18-inch rims.

It appears at this point that the naturally-aspirated 2.0 will be offered in other markets but not here.

Inside the NX 200t F Sport we saw there was full Lexus luxo-packaging, with padded leather throughout the cabin, joined by contrasting red stitching. A knob on the center console adjusted throttle, transmission shifting, suspension and steering inputs to either Eco, Normal or Sport settings. Just below that was a touchpad to control the functions displayed on the fixed navi screen above the dash. The RTI remote touch interface offered a pinch and pull function for the NAV screen. Another neat feature under the center armrest was a wireless phone charger. While there will be an audio system, there will be no Mark Levinson audio offered.

With the segment growing, and with the Toyota RAV4 platform just sitting there waiting to be tarted up into a Lexus, it's a wonder what took these guys so long to offer the NX crossovers.

By Mark Vaughn