The polarizing Lexus LF-NX crossover concept (pictured) from last year’s Frankfurt auto show was a preview for the upcoming Lexus NX compact crossover that will debut at the 2014 Beijing auto show next month. Although the concept’s extreme styling will likely be toned down for the production model, the Lexus NX should maintain the LF-NX’s angular look and spindle grille to fit in with the rest of the Lexus lineup.
The Lexus NX is a significant vehicle for Lexus because it enters into the hot compact crossover segment with the likes of the upcoming Audi Q3, the BMW X1, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA- and GLK-Class. Yes, the existing Lexus RX is currently the best-selling luxury crossover overall, but the NX will slot in below the RX model size-wise to better compete with the new, smaller entries in this class. Given that this NX will sate customers who want a smaller crossover, we wouldn’t be surprised if the next-generation Lexus RX grows in size to line up withlarger models like the BMW X5, Mercedes ML, and Acura MDX. Such realignment would give Lexus a formidable one-two punch in the luxury crossover segment that continues to grow not only in the U.S., but also in the Chinese market where the NX will make its world premiere.
The Lexus NX crossover is also expected to debut a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine for Lexus, as was shown in the second version of the LF-NX concept that debuted at the Tokyo auto show. The company has lagged behind the competition in bringing this type of powertrain to market, and we would expect a version of this engine to make its way into the Lexus IS compact sport sedan as well to better compete with models like the BMW 328i and Audi A4 2.0T. A hybrid powertrain like the one shown on the first version of the LF-NX concept is likely for this crossover as well.
Stay tuned for the world premiere of the Lexus NX crossover on April 20 from the 2014 Beijing auto show.