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The refreshed 2018 Lexus NX makes it global premiere in Shanghai today, revealing tweaked looks, revised dynamics and upgraded equipment.

Lexus Australia communications manager Nick Raman told CarAdvice today the 2018 NX SUV line-up will debut locally in the first half of next year, although exact timing is still to be confirmed.

Interestingly, among its other changes, Lexus has dropped the 200t naming for the 2.0-litre turbocharged entry model, rechristening it NX300 – not to be confused with the largely unrelated 2.5-litre petrol-electric NX300h hybrid.

The company says it will make the same change to other turbocharged model lines in the near future, so we can expect the GS200t, IS200t, RC200t and RX200t to adopt ‘300’ badges soon.

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On the styling front, the NX’s standout styling change at the front end is a re-shaped fascia, focused largely around the corner ports, fog light bezels and lower edge.

The headlight internals and grille patterning have been lightly revised, too, while the rear gets subtly redesigned tail lamps – now extending further into the tailgate – and a reshaped lower bumper section.

New wheel designs round out the obvious exterior changes, while the Lexus promises a “slightly reworked” cabin with a leaning towards sportiness and luxury both.

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There’s a larger display, growing from 7 inches to 10.3, and the heating/cooling controls have also been changed with new toggle switches replacing the buttons of the previous model.

The analogue clock gets an updated design with a more pronounced outer ring, better readability, and satellite-connected automatic time updates.

There’s a new metallic satin finish to most of the interior controls and switches, including the drive mode selector, shift knob and door handles. The audio knob and window switches likewise get a metallic coating.

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Above: 2018 Lexus NX300 (top), 2017 Lexus NX200t (bottom)

In the centre console, there’s an enlarged and redesigned touchpad, ahead of a more ergonomic palm rest. The wireless phone charger tray has also been enlarged to accommodate increasingly bigger devices. That’s joined by a higher amperage to the USB ports for faster charging of devices not capable of wireless charging.

The F Sport cabin adds ‘Naguri’ aluminium highlights, along with combination white/black seating. Separate readouts for turbo boost and G forces, in the head-up display, are also featured.

Away from design and luxury, the 2018 NX also benefits from upgraded handling and safety, although power and fuel figures across the range are unchanged.

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Lexus says it has made significant improvements to ride and handling, through changes to the springs, stabiliser bars and bushings of all models, while new shock absorbers also feature.

More, the NX now benefits from chassis changes, inspired by the Adaptive Variable Suspension system of the flagship LC500 coupe. Where the outgoing NX would offer 30 instant compression and damping adjustments on the fly, this latest upgrade boosts that to a huge 650.

A combination of new suspension tuning and more sound deadening within the body also promises an improvement to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

On the safety front, the NX now includes the Lexus Safety System +, integrating Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System, Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Automatic High Beam (AHB), and Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS).

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Australia

The NX has sold in good numbers locally, with 3308 finding new homes last year.

Although it finished fifth out of 11 in the medium SUV over $60,000 category, behind the Mercedes-Benz GLC (4454), Land Rover Discovery Sport (3824), BMW X3 (3824) and Audi Q5 (3599), it more than held its own against its European competition.

It also outsold its larger sibling, the RX, by 1396 units. Together the two crossovers accounted for almost 58 per cent of Lexus sales in Australia in 2016.

Watch for the updated NX range to touch down in Australia, next year.

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