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Auto blogThu, 10 Apr 2014 23:00:00 EST
Meet the all-new NX, Lexus' entry into the space occupied by the likes of the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Based off the LF-NX Concept and sharing much of the design language seen on the polarizing IS sedan, the NX looks to be a rather sporty Lexus crossover.
The big news here is under the hood: the NX will be the first Lexus to use a turbocharged engine. That's right, a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder can be found in both the NX 200t and NX 200t F Sport. There will also be an NX 300h, and if Lexus' nomenclature remains consistent, we already know all about that one. As of right now, there aren't a lot of details on either powertrain, although with the NX's Beijing debut still over a week away, here's hoping we know more soon.
As for that design... well, we're waiting to see it up close. The initial reaction from the Autoblog team has been mixed so far. Like the IS, there are plenty of sharp angles, while the front is dominated by the brand's spindle grille. Lexus' designers have refined the shape of the headlights, giving them a cleaner overall look than on the pioneering IS. In back, LED taillights come standard. According to Lexus, 17-inch wheels are the base rollers, while 18s are optional.
Trying to build a boutique buying atmosphere with a large-volume premium brand isn't easy, but Lexus is attempting to do just that by introducing its new Intersect By Lexus dealership experience. This aspect of Lexus retailing has nothing to do with cars and everything to do with luxury lifestyle accessories. Intersect By Lexus is effectively an all-in-one shopping destination for high-quality, hand-crafted designer products, many of them created specifically for the marque, right down to their "Crafted for Lexus" branding.
The first Intersect By Lexus store will open at the end of this month in Tokyo, with other stores planned for New York and Dubai. Going over the first store's initial product list, it seems that each store will offer wares that reflect its location. Some of the products available at Intersect By Lexus Tokyo include a $400 minimalist LED desk light, hand-sewn $286 tablet cover and a $133 drip coffeemaker and cup set handmade from the ash of Japan's Sakurajima volcano. Scroll down for a short video showing how some of these products were made.
Lexus has announced its Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show cars: a group of eight Lexus IS sedans spanning all three generations, and a 2012 LFA supercar. One of the show cars, a custom 2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport, is a creation penned by IS fan Rob Evans, the winner of a contest to design a Lexus SEMA show car.
The standouts in the group of Lexus IS show cars, in no particular order, are a 700-horsepower 2014 Lexus IS 340 (it has a heavily modified Toyota Supra inline six swapped in, which is stroked out to 3.4 liters, hence the nomenclature change) by Philip Case and a supercharged 2004 Lexus IS 300 by Maricar Cortez. Both cars prove that oldies can be goodies - the venerable Supra 2JZTE engine, which ceased production over a decade ago, lives on in a 2014 platform, and the 2004 IS 300 gets a supercharger and remains relevant through the use of electronics, such as a back-up radar sensor, upgraded headlights and more.
Of course, the LFA by Guy S. De Alwis will be a stand out on its own, but unfortunately Lexus only provided us with a couple pictures that don't do it justice. We'll have to take a closer look at it on the show floor. Same goes for the IS penned by contest-winner Rob Evans, of which only a rendering was provided.