Vijay Pattni23 May 2014

More details on the Lexus NX SUV

Petrol hybrid and a new four-pot turbo engine for Lexus’ brand new premium SUV

We've got more news on the Lexus NX, the firm's new premium SUV set to do battle with the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

Firstly, we know it'll look nothing like the controversial LF-NX concept, but instead like the one in the pictures above. In fact, exactly like the one in the pictures above because that's the production Lexus NX.

There's the huge Lexus face, flared arches, 17/18in wheels, L-shape combination rear lights and echoes of the spindle grille at the back, too. Distinctive, isn't it? It's certainly a more refreshing SUV to look at - you won't mistake this for any of the anodyne Germans.

Dimensions are those of the X3 and Q5 - it measures 4630mm long, 1845mm wide and 1645 high.

But the more important news is the announcement of a new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that will debut in the new NX. It features direct injection and variable valve timing with the ability to run on the efficient Akinson cycle at light load. At full bore, the water cooling of the integrated exhaust manifold also reduces consumption.

Power sits at 235bhp between 4,800rpm and 5,600rpm, while its peak torque figure of 258lb ft comes in low at 1,650rpm, tailing off at 4,000rpm.

There's no performance figures to hand as yet, but in the UK this engine will be paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox and a mechanical four-wheel-drive system, badged up as a NX 200t F Sport AWD.

Another version we'll see is the familiar hybrid one, using Lexus's 2.5-litre lump, a generator, motor and battery. This NX 300h will produce a total of 195bhp, though emissions will slip under 120g/km of CO2, and fuel economy is being targeted at 54.3mpg.

This hybrid version will also come with specific chassis settings, including new adaptive sprung-weight dampers for better ride quality.

Considering the X3 is sold only as a diesel SUV, Lexus makes no mention of a diesel in the NX line-up, but it doesn't see the point, considering the economy of this hybrid more or less tees up with the Germans, and boasts significantly lower CO2 emissions. Plus, the diesel market is a European thing, and this will be a global car.

Otherwise you get the choice of new adaptive dampers, along with a full-range panoramic monitor, and adaptive cruise control. There are other systems on board too, such as lane departure alert, a blind spot monitor and a head-up display.

The interior - complete with that thick-rimmed steering wheel, contrast textures and quilted seat upholstery - looks like a plush, pleasant environment too, and rear passenger head room's excellent. We know 'cause we've just sat in it. Luggage space for UK cars won't be as much as the 555 litres Lexus claims, but that's because in the UK people insist on a space-saver spare wheel not a tyre-fix kit.

There are no prices for the turbo, which comes a month or two later. But the 300h base model FWD is £29,495, the. AWD starts at £31,495, topping out at £42,995. All models get LED headlights as well as daytime running lights and adaptive cruise control.

So, what do you reckon? Being an SUV, it's tipped to take up a large chunk of Lexus sales, and the likelihood is this is the Lexus you'll see on the roads more than any other of their models. But would you consider one over the German efforts?

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