The 2022 Lexus NX has made its early (and unexpected) debut online, courtesy of a leaked promotional video shared on forum platform Reddit.
The video – which was first published to YouTube, but later deleted – showcases the new mid-size Lexus SUV inside and out, revealing an updated exterior design clothing an overhauled cabin headlined by a pair of screens and the deletion of the current NX's controversial touchpad infotainment controller.
On the outside, the new NX opts for evolution over revolution, with an interpretation of Lexus' familiar spindle grille flanked by slimmer, single-piece LED headlights with integrated daytime-running lights.
At the rear, a full-width lighting signature features, with slim LED tail-lights split by an elevated LED light strip running across the width of the tailgate.
Along the side, the new model's rear haunches are noticeably more sculpted than those of the current NX, while the German licence plate fitted to the car in the video indicates we're looking at a European-market version of the new-generation SUV.
Inside, changes over the current, first-generation NX are far more significant, where the outgoing model's analog-based instruments and tablet-style infotainment display have been replaced by a large, fully-digital instrument cluster and a circa-12-inch infotainment touchscreen integrated into the dashboard.
Critics of the current NX will be pleased to see the controversial touchpad infotainment controller will be ditched for the new model, with the display now incorporating touch functionality within an infotainment system that appears to be all-new, with a different user interface and layout to those of Lexus' most recent models.
Other interior highlights of note include the transfer of fan speed and seat heating controls to the infotainment system (though physical dials for temperature control have been retained), a cleaner centre console layout, a new steering wheel, a head-up display and a large wireless charging pad located beneath the infotainment screen.
To this writer's eye, there's more than a hint of the Toyota Mirai hydrogen sedan in the overall shape of the dashboard and how the two displays have been integrated into one flowing panel.
The final seconds of the video confirm at least two powertrains will be offered: an NX350h hybrid, and a NX450h+ plug-in hybrid – the lattermost a first for the nameplate, with the outgoing model limited to 'self-charging' hybrid technology only since its launch in 2014.
While specific details of the electrified powertrains remain unconfirmed, the new NX's expected Toyota RAV4-derived TNGA-K underpinnings means the latter 450h+ plug-in hybrid should share its mechanicals with the not-for Australia RAV4 Prime, combining a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder paired to a set of electric motors for around 225kW.
It's unclear what would power the 350h hybrid, as its nameplate indicates it is a step up in performance over Lexus' latest 300h-badged hybrid models, which pair a 2.5-litre four-cylinder with an electric motor to develop around 160kW.
The larger Toyota Kluger’s 2.5-litre hybrid system – which produces around 180kW, the exact figure depending on if front- or all-wheel-drive is selected – could be a possible option for the NX350h, given it also rides on the Lexus’ TNGA-K platform.
Look closely at the tailgate and you'll spot an 'NX 200' badge – indicating a new entry-level model could be in the works for European markets which, if overseas-market versions of the related ES sedan is any guide, could be powered by a 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder producing approximately 126kW.
Japanese publication Best Car reports a 220kW 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine will also be offered, likely as a replacement for the current NX300's 175kW 2.0-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder.
According to the Japanese outlet, the 2022 Lexus NX will launch in Japan in May 2021 – though the emergence of the promo video suggests official details could be imminent.