February 25, 2015 @ 10:25 AM

Review: Lexus NX 200t F-Sport

There are five variants for the new Lexus NX sports SUV, but the pick of the pack is definitely the NX 200t F-Sport. By Arvind Kumar


There are five variants for the new Lexus NX sports SUV, but the pick of the pack is definitely the NX 200t F-Sport

Are you bored at looking at the Audi Q5 or is the BMW X3 too plain for you? Well, Lexus’ newcomer is anything but boring or plain. Oozing clean-cut and intricate styling and powered by the company’s first ever turbocharged engine, there’s ample power in reserves too. For the sharpest drive the NX range can deliver, look no further than the F Sport variant.

Exterior (Score: 4/5)

Exciting is the name of the game, it might be an SUV in its most traditional from, but one look at the NX and one would be amazed by the bewildering amount of design detail and textured surfaces. The main focal point at the front is the gaping apertures of the spindle grille which set the tone for an edgy yet elegant overall outlook. The NX F-Sport does shout its message loud and clear just like a Rangie’ Evoque, only differently.

Interior (Score: 4/5)

It’s a Lexus, so the interior build quality and execution is par excellence. From the NX’s firewall being reengineered with vibration and sound dampening materials to rubbers that seal off the channels between doors, special attention has been paid to deliver the most insulated and serene driving experience this side of a Mercedes S-Class. The tactile leather is premium as it gets and the NX tops the cosseting experience off with red stitching on the seats and dash. The centre console might seem slightly busy and overwhelming at first but the layout is effective and the switchgear pokes and prods just how it should.

Power and handling (Score: 4/5)

In a word  - great. The new twin-scroll turbocharged unit is a sterling performer combining quiet yet zesty free revving thrust all the way to the limiter. Power figures read 235bhp at 4800rpm and 350Nm is on call from just 1650rpm. Stomp on the throttle, and the NX will take-off with some gusto. It even has a raspy soundtrack in the upper ranges of the tacho. The claimed economy figures are respectable 7.9l/100km on the NEDC cycle means it’s not so far off the 5.7l the Hybrid NX300h promises.

The F-Sport is also the only variant within the range that offers four different drive modes - ECO, Normal, Sport and Sport ‘+’. All modes gradually unleash more exploitable dynamism from the NX. All NXs tighten up the steering and sharpen up the throttle response, what the F-Sport does in addition is firm up its Adaptive suspension setup and performance strut braces at the front and rear ends. And it works, for all its city-slicker credentials; the NX is still a 4WD SUV and hence it rides higher from the ground. However in Sport ‘+’ mode, substantial amounts of body roll are brilliantly dialled out. The car remains very flat and neutral through quick direction changes and even when hard on the anchors, the steering also feeds adequate information to place the car where you want it.


Tech and Safety (Score: 5/5)

Well tech and safety have always been a staple of all good Lexus. With the NX F-Sport – the company have thrown the proverbial kitchen sink at it. Eight-airbags, ABS with EBD, Traction Control, Blind Spot sensory, Panoramic View Monitor, and even the company’s Rear Cross Traffic Assist which warn when an object is approaching from the rear three quarters of the vehicle. Other convenience gizmos also include the first ever powered rear folding seats, a seven speaker Mark-Levinson Audio system and a wireless QI charger for compatible smartphones. And that’s not even the whole list.

Summary

This is the best and if not the most entertaining NX you could own, but everything comes at a price. RM369,000 is the magic number, both the venerable Audi Q5 and BMW X3 are cheaper the NX is also awfully close to the no-less beautiful and capable boulevard poser, the Evoque. So buy it because it’s a Lexus, buy it because of the bullet-proof engineering and especially the exciting styling, but there’s no shortage of talent elsewhere in the segment either.

Overall score: 17/20

Lexus NX 200t F-Sport
Price

RM369,000 OTR without insurance
Engine
1998cc, 4-cyl, DOCH in-line petrol turbocharged VVT engine 235bhp @ 4800rpm, 350Nm @ 1650rpm
Transmission
6-speed conventional auto, all-wheel drive
Performance
7.1sec 0-100kph, 200kph, 7.9l/100km(claimed), 183g/km

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