First Look at the Upcoming Lexus NX Premium CUV

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Regular readers will remember when we first got official confirmation that Lexus would be producing a new premium CUV about two months ago. According to an inside official, this new compact crossover would slot in just below Lexus’ smallest currently available SUV, the Lexus RX. This new extra-compact crossover would be a direct competitor to similar offerings from other luxury brands, specifically the BMW X1, the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA, and the Audi Q3.

At the time, we speculated that this new compact crossover would be named the Lexus NX because Lexus trademarked the names NX 200t and NX 300h. These two names point to offerings with a 2.0L turbocharged engine and 2.5L hybrid, respectively. We also anticipated this new CUV to be built on the same platform as the Toyota Camry, RAV4 and Lexus RX, just to name a few.

Why are we reminding you about the Lexus NX now?

Because earlier this week, spy shots were unleashed onto the web of the NX making laps around Nürburgring, albeit in heavy Lexus CT 200 disguise. The car seen in the pictures is a mule – the shell of a Lexus CT 200h hatchback that’s been heavily modified to fit the mechanical requirements of the new CUV. If you can look past the zebra-stripe coating and use your imagination a little bit, you’ll find a reasonably accurate picture of the newest vehicle from Lexus.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Lexus NX

An Aesthetic Examination of the Lexus NX

What can be learned from these pictures? What design themes can we expect from the Lexus NX?

While it’s difficult to tell because this is, after all, a Lexus CT200h shell, everything we know tells us that the Lexus NX will basically be a shrunken RX. However, it looks like the NX will include several design elements that more closely tie back to the Japanese luxury brand’s recent sedans and hatchbacks than their SUVs.

For example, clearly the car is getting nice large tires fitting for a CUV. The wheels are actually the singular dead-giveaway that inform us these spy shots aren’t simply some future version of the CT 200h. Lexus very much wants this car to drive like an SUV, which would also explain the need for rigorous testing on Nürburgring.

However, looking at the headlights, taillights, grill and fenders, you can start to see several aesthetic differences between the future Lexus NX and the current RX or the CT 200h shell it currently inhabits. The NX mule has a very distinct trapezoidal grill that slants directly into the headlights, different from both the RX and the CT 200h. In addition, the headlights have been squished down and made more bulbous, which seems to be a hot trend in Europe right now. Moving to the rear of the car, you can see that the Lexus NX gets a relatively larger butt with a squared-off taillight configuration.

Let’s finish up this blog post the same way we started – with a reminder. You can expect to see a Lexus NX Concept as early as the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show later this year. Then, the car is rumored to go on sale late in 2014, heralded by a production model at the Geneva Motor Show in March of next year. Definitely a car to look forward to!

Sources: Car Scoops, Autoblog, TopSpeed

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