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New name, new face for upgraded Lexus crossover

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Shanghai motor show – Following the lead set by BMW and Mercedes, the facelifted-for-2018 Lexus NX200t luxury crossover, making its world debut at Auto Shanghai this week, will henceforth be known as the NX300, on the premise that its (unchanged) two-litre turbopetrol four produces outputs comparable to a naturally aspirated three-litre engine.

Lexus’ explanation is that it wants to drop the ‘t’ because of the increasing number of forced-induction models in its line-up; it also ties in better with the hybrid NX300h, which continues with the same 2.5-litre petrol four and dual electric motors.

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Aside from the alphabet soup, the NX gets a redrawn spindle grille with satin and smoked chrome trim, and a new front bumper with its foglights moved to the outer corners, that blend more smoothly into the lines of the bonnet and front doors, below new triple-projector headlights, similar to those on the LC coupé.

The broader rear bumper now echoes the grille’s spindle motif, with taller tail-light clusters above and bigger, chrome-tipped tailpipes, as well as a new diffuser, below.

Inside, the centre display panel on the dashboard has grown from 18 to 26cm, and the aircon controls have been simplified down to just four toggle switches, while rear passengers can now control their own climate via a switch on the rear console. Even the classic analogue clock has been kicked into the 21st century with a larger, simpler face for better legibility and a new satellite hookup that automatically resets it when you drive from one time zone to another.

The touch interface pad on the centre console has been enlarged and its palm rest reshaped for comfort, while the wireless charger tray is also bigger, to allow for the latest generation of smartphones.

The springs, anti-roll bars and bushings have been retuned for better turn-in and mid-corner stability, while the adaptive variable suspension system (derived from that on the LC 500) now has a range of up to 650 instantaneous damping adjustments, in place of the previous 30.

The NX’s safety suite now includes active safety features systems such as a pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beam and intelligent clearance sonar.

F Sport

The sportiest NX trim level – shown in the pictures above – is distinguished on the outside by its black-chromed mesh grille and model-specific 18 inch rims, and on the inside by special Naguri aluminium trim elements, black-and-white seat trim and separate readouts for turbo boost and G forces on the head up display.

IOL Motoring

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