Lexus sharpens the NX for Shanghai
The 2017 Lexus NX (Lexus)
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017 12:54PM EDT
Toyota's luxury sub-brand has taken the wraps off a heavily refreshed NX crossover at the 2017 Auto Shanghai that ups the ante in terms of luxury, high-tech driving aids and visual aggression.
The current generation NX was already a visually imposing car thanks to its huge front grille, high waistline and pronounced rear haunches. Yet for its first refresh, the company has decided to take each of these key visual cues further still -- a brave decision considering how popular the compact luxury crossover has been around the world since its 2014 launch.
"Starting at the spindle grille, the way the front edges connect to the front fenders results in a much bolder expression than before, clearly highlighting the NX's style design architecture," said the NX's Exterior Designer, Shin Kamiura.
Some of the changes, such as widening the rear bumper and adding longer exhausts that are now integrated into the rear bumper, are aimed at making the car seem sportier and to highlight the fact that one of the biggest changes to the car will be the way it handles.
Lexus has retuned the suspension, added new shock absorbers and given the NX the same Adaptive Variable Suspension system currently only employed on its flagship sports coupé, the LC 500. The old NX offered 30 instantaneous compression and damping adjustments to cope with rougher terrain, unexpected potholes or confident cornering. Now it has 650 adjustments.
Inside, Lexus is attempting to treat materials such as leather in a manner akin to the most exclusive carmakers. So, much of the stitching is done via hand-operated machines to ensure straight seamlines, while elements such as gear levers, door handles and instrument switches get a satin metallic finish. "An acute attention to detail, such as the way the stitching of materials create a subtle pattern, can be felt spiritually to make a difference to the customer," said the car's chief engineer, Takeaki Kato.
As for high-tech toys, the NX will come as standard with the Lexus Safety System + suite of active driver aids including radar cruise control, land departure alert and automatic high beam headlights.
"We made bold refinements to the design, elevated its performance and added new features to enhance its comfort and convenience. The new NX still possesses the same elements that have made it popular in the past -- a sharp design, everyday convenience and driving pleasure that will satisfy all enthusiasts-but the vehicle as a whole has evolved dramatically," said Kato.