Lexus New Zealand have launched their latest generation NX and LX luxury SUVs online. While both models share plenty of new technology and safety features, the biggest changes come from the under the bonnet with only Hybrid options available for the new NX and diesel only for the flagship LX.

This comes as Lexus continues towards its goal of having 95 per cent of their new car range to feature some form of electric drive by 2024 and to vastly reduce their carbon footprint. Of the record 13,478 units sold in 2021, around 33 per cent featured electric drive. Lexus projects this to increase up to 43 per cent by the end of this year.

“Lexus is on a journey towards carbon neutrality through a varied portfolio of sustainable powertrain options for customers. Over the past 12 months we have seen more than a 20% increase in Lexus Electrified product sales, and this is expected to continue as we also increase our Lexus Electrified product range,” says Lexus New Zealand General Manager, Andrew Davis.

Lexus LX500d Limited

The Lexus SUV sales are also vastly outpacing the rest of the line-up with 85 per cent of sales in 2021 being large SUVs. The new NX and LX are expected to continue and improve on this trend, so here is the lowdown on the new NX and LX.

LEXUS NX

Lexus NX350h

Lexus say the new NX is more than a second generation of one of their most popular SUVs. “The NX range has brought about a major change in Lexus’ approach to new vehicle development, applying digital modelling and computer techniques for smarter engineering that can achieve a higher level of quality assurance. At the same time, the Takumi-led skills of the human hand, ear and eye remain essential to achieving the highest sensory quality,” says Andrew Davis.

The range consists of two models with only electric hybrid power available. These consist of the entry level NX350h FWD HEV at $92,700 plus ORC, the mid-tier NX350H Limited AWD HEV at $101,900 plus ORC and the flagship plug in NX 450h+ F-Sport PHEV at $107,900 plus ORC.

Lexus NX450h+ F-Sport

The NX350h gets a new 2.5L four-cylinder engine mated to battery pack giving 179kW of power, up 23 per cent over the outgoing NX. Fuel consumption has also been reduced by 12 per cent which now sits at 5.0L/100km respectively.

The range topping NX450h+ gets the same 2.5-litre engine but sports a 134kW/270Nm front electric motor, a 40kW/121Nm rear electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery with 18.1kWh on tap. Throw the batteries, the engine, and the motors together and you get a maximum power output of 227kW making it the most powerful NX ever.

With this power going to all four wheels, you will be able to reach 100km/h in 6.3 seconds while churning out 29g/km of CO2 and 1.3L/100km. Lexus claim the NX450h+ is capable of travelling up to 87km on electric power. Using an AC charging set up will give you a full battery in two hours while a conventional overnight charge will take eight hours.

The new NX sits on Lexus’ GA-K (Global Architecture K) platform. It is longer, wider, higher and sports a wider track than before. The wheelbase has been increased by 30mm and the front and rear track has grown by 25mm and 45mm respectively. It also sits 25mm higher and the overall car is 20mm longer. The GA-K platform also allows the NX to house larger alloys of between 18 to 20inches.

The NX350h also gets a new spindle grill, a reduced rear overhang, and a new full width blade rear light bar like we have seen on the UX. Also featured is a new Lexus lettering logo replacing the traditional Lexus emblem. The NX450h+ F Sport gets a sportier edge in keeping with the Lexus F Sport brand. These features consist of blacked out alloys, a black mesh grill, black skirts and mirrors.

Inside there is has been a drastic overhaul of the NX’s interior. Taking centre stage is the new 14-inch touchscreen multimedia display which is now standard across the range. It sports new graphics, a more user-friendly interface and means the old Lexus touchpad system is a thing of the past.

The interior has been modelled around the Japanese Tazuna Concept which encourages the relationship between horse and rider. To complement this theme there are now fewer switches, 45 over the outgoing models 78. The steering wheel, which in itself has been redesigned, features new touch sensitive switchgear.

Lexus have also incorporated a new “Hey Lexus” voice recognition feature for the driver to operate the sat nav, Bluetooth and many other features by simply saying, “Hey Lexus.” The NX also gets an upgraded full safety suite including Intersection Turn Assist in the Pre-Collision System, and Lane Trace Assist in the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

There is also Advanced Park Assist, and e-Latch touch door handles which work with the Safe Exit Assist System. The latter works in conjunction with Blind Spot Monitor. Basically, if the NX detects a cyclist in your blind spot, it will prevent you from opening the door thus avoiding an accident.

Other features include wireless phone charging which is located on top of a sliding tray in the centre console allowing the driver to have extra storage space when not charging their phone. Also, a Mark Levinson 17 speaker sound system with an 1800w amplifier is featured in the Limited grade and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard.

LEXUS LX

The Lexus LX is now into its fourth generation. The flagship luxury off-roader coined as “dignified sophistication” by Lexus engineers gets a new beating heart and two different spec levels for New Zealand buyers.

The biggest news is that new beating heart. The old torquey V8 is gone and in its place sits a new 3.3L twin-turbo V6 diesel engine mated to an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. As mentioned before, its go diesel or go without. According to Andrew Davis, the possibility of a hybrid LX is probable but won’t be for some time yet.

“Of course, we would love to offer a hybrid or even fully electric LX, but we are not quite there yet. The key factor is what our customers require from an LX and the availability of reliable, durable on and off-roading technology. Also, many LX 500ds will be sold to customers both in New Zealand and around the world who may not have 24-7 access to charging facilities when they are out in the extremes,” he says.

Power for that twin turbo diesel V6 is rated at 227kW, making it 14 per cent more powerful than the V8. Torque has also gone up by eight per cent to 700Nm and Lexus claim the new LX is more fuel efficient at 8.9L/100km and 235g/km of CO2 while sporting the ability to tow 3.5 tonnes.

Lexus LX500d F-Sport

The two-tier LX500 range now incorporates a new F-Sport grade alongside the Limited. However, there is no difference in price with both models coming in at $175,900 plus ORC. Despite having the same 2850mm wheelbase as the first-generation LX, the new one is 10mm wider, 30mm higher and 20mm longer.

The LX500d Limited is also a full seven-seater whereas the LX500 F-Sport is a five-seater. Like the NX, the new LX F-Sport features a blacked-out spindle front grill, black accents and alloys over the Limited. It also features a limited slip differential and performance dampers. The LX’s ladder chassis is 20 per cent more rigid and its construction also allows for an aluminium roof, a first for the Lexus brand. Lexus are also adamant the LX500 shares only the roof and bonnet with its Land Cruiser counterpart.

Inside the LX also follows the ‘Tazuna’ interior concept as the NX. The new LX gets a new 8-inch colour multi-information instrument display and a new touchscreen infotainment system. The Limited gets a hand-crafted wooden mosaic and the front and mid row seats have heated and ventilated leather seats with the driver and front passenger getting 14-way and 12-way power adjustment. The Limited’s third seating row can also be raised and lowered with the touch of a button.

You also get four-zone air conditioning, six USB ports in the Limited and four in the F-Sport, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard. The F-Sport’s surroundings are more focused on performance with F Sport emblems, aluminium sport pedals, F embossed leather seats and an F-Sport steering wheel.

Both models also feature a new fingerprint authentication system for the push button start. Much like a smartphone, this system features a fingerprint scanner behind the starter button and can be set to recognised the assigned driver’s fingerprint to start the car. Also featured is a new Mark Levinson premium sound system with a hefty 25-speakers.

Lexus’s Safety Sense+ is also back in force with an upgraded Pre-Collision System which now detects cyclists and pedestrians in low light and the Radar Cruise Control now includes curve speed reduction. Lane Tracing assist, Intersection Turn Assist and Emergency Turning Assist also feature.

Underneath the new LX gets adaptive variable suspension and active height control with four ride height settings, these being Lo, Normal, Hi1 and Hi2. The LX also features electric power steering and a multi terrain monitor system with four cameras showing front, sides and rear along with underfloor for traversing rough terrain. There is also Crawl control which activates at speeds below 10km/h to give the driver more control while heading down steep inclines.

We will bring you more details when we have been given the chance to drive both the new Lexus NX and LX, which all going well, shouldn’t be too far away.

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