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by Tim Beissmann

Images of the Lexus NX have leaked online, revealing the production model’s interior and exterior styling for the first time days out from its official unveiling.

The leaked car – scanned from the pages of L’automobile Magazine – is a Lexus NX300h F Sport: a hybrid variant of the Japanese manufacturer’s all-new mid-sized SUV fitted with the performance-themed styling kit.

Though grainy, the front three-quarter image gives us a clear look at the NX’s design, which, as expected, is toned down from the radically styled Lexus LF-NX concept on which it’s based. It retains much of the show car’s sharpness, however, featuring a more refined version of Lexus’ now-signature ‘spindle’ grille, and separate L-shaped LED daytime running lights.

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The high-definition photograph of the back reveals the production car’s rear styling for the first time, uncovering its heavily raked rear window, boomerang-shaped LED tail-lights, and angular tailgate contours.

Distinctive F Sport enhancements include its diamond mesh front grille, polished grey alloy wheels, and gloss black lower splitter, side skirts, mirror caps, rear spoiler and diffuser.

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The cabin of the Lexus NX retains the basic shape of the concept, though trades its futuristic touchscreen surfaces for conventional buttons and dials on the centre stack. Red leather sports seats, contrast stitching and metal pedals continue the F Sport theme inside.

The Lexus NX300h is expected to borrow its hybrid drivetrain from the IS300h sedan, meaning it should deliver about 165kW from its 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor combination.

It will be joined in showrooms by the NX200t, which will be powered by the brand’s first turbocharged engine, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit tipped to produce about 220kW and 350Nm.

The Lexus NX will debut at the Beijing auto show on April 20 before reaching Australian showrooms either late this year or early in 2015 to take on the likes of the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque.




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