The week before the 2014 Detroit Motor Show earlier this month, automotive experts from all over the world gathered at the 26th Annual Society of Automotive Analysts’ Automotive Outlook Conference. Among the many intriguing presentations at the conference, one in particular sticks out as noteworthy. It was by Toyota NA CEO Jim Lentz; in the presentation we apparently got our first peek at the finalized version of the Lexus LF-NX Concept, to be known in production only as the Lexus NX.
It’s hard to tell whether or not these kinds of “whoopsy” debuts are intentional, but in this case, our guess is that it wasn’t. Especially because now, more than two weeks after the fact, we still don’t have any other photos of the Lexus NX other than the gritty, grainy one seen below:
In addition, Lexus has adamantly refused to comment on whether or not the leaked image is in fact the production NX. The brand’s silence implies that yes, it is.
If you kept up with Lexus last year, you’ll remember that we first saw the LF-NX in concept form at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Then, throughout 2013 we continued to see different iterations of the LF-NX Concept at just about every single major auto show, including the one in Tokyo at the end of November.
Now, briefly take a moment to compare the image above to the image below. This is the LF-NX Turbo Concept we saw at the 2014 Detroit Motor Show (remember, that would’ve been after Lentz’s presentation):
As you can see, there are several key differences between the alleged Lexus NX and the Lexus LF-NX Turbo Concept. To sum up the differences, the production model has been predictably toned down from the original, cutting-edge concept. It now looks more like the type of vehicle we’d expect to see in Lexus’ lineup, although that’s not to say that the compact SUV’s edginess has been removed… It hasn’t. In fact, one could argue that the NX forgoes edginess in favor of sleekness.
Also, do keep in mind that the vehicle Lentz previewed is likely to be the most basic model of the Lexus NX. We know that Toyota has already trademarked the “NX200t” moniker, so it’s safe to assume there will be at least two iterations of the crossover.
While inadvertently spoiling what the Lexus NX will look like, Lentz also deliberately informed us what will lie under the hood. At least, for the turbocharged model. The new Lexus NX200t will reportedly be the first-ever Lexus with a force-fed gasoline engine in the form of a newly developed 2.0L four-cylinder turbo.
All in all, the Lexus NX looks prime and poised to take on the two other big competitors in the segment –the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5. The compact SUV is expected to officially debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March… Fitting given the European aim of this new Japanese car.
For those of you who’d like to hear all of Jim Lentz’ presentation, checkout the video below for the original Lexus NX spoiler (he talks about the NX at ~10:40).