The forthcoming Lexus NX mid-sized SUV is being previewed by a radical-looking concept vehicle before heading into production in 2014.
Japan’s long-awaited answer to the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque will be toned down from the aggressively styled LF-NX concept for the showroom version and will sit beneath Lexus’s other SUVs, the RX and LandCruiser-based LX570.
The Lexus NX will allow the company to price an SUV below the cheapest RX, the $69,045 RX270, to compete with its German and British rivals that are priced either just below or just over $60K.
It’s possible pricing will also target the smaller Q3 and X1 with the NX straddling the compact and mid-sized luxury SUV segments just like the RX straddles the mid-size and large luxury SUV categories.
Sources that correctly told CarAdvice that a hybrid concept of the NX SUV would be shown at Frankfurt have also said the production model will debut at November’s Tokyo motor show – with Lexus’s new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.
The Lexus LF-NX concept’s hybrid drivetrain is understood to be borrowed from the IS300h, which means it’s good for about 165kW of total power output. The concept is front-wheel drive but expect an all-wheel-drive variant to also be offered.
The showroom version will be called the Lexus NX300h while the petrol turbo model will adopt the Lexus NX200t badge.
Lexus International’s president, Kiyotaka Ise, told CarAdvice at the 2012 Paris motor show that strict emissions regulations meant the company had no choice but to build a more compact SUV.
But back to that daring exterior design of the concept. It’s arguably the most aggressive-looking model to come out of the Japanese luxury brand’s design studios. It shares styling cues with recent concepts such as the LF-CC that previewed the Lexus IS in two-door form (expected to be badged RC) and the LFA supercar.
The company’s now-signature spindle grille sits prominently at the front, but the number of outrageous angles and creases suggests Lexus designers have been admiring the latest Lamborghinis.
Inside, the concept-heavy cabin features yellow and black leather, and a driver-focused cockpit with a double-tier layout with an ‘upper display zone’ and ‘lower operation zone’.
The operational zone includes a new, Audi-inspired touch pad version of Lexus’s Remote Touch menu control system.
The Lexus LF-NX will be revealed in the metal to media including CarAdvice at the Frankfurt motor show on 10th September.
CarAdvice spies photographed the Lexus NX testing earlier this year using the body shell of a Lexus CT200h hatch.