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Lexus confirms NX SUV engines for Australia

Lexus has confirmed the engine lineup for Australian versions of its new NX SUV, which made its public debut at the Beijing motor show this week.

Arriving locally in the fourth quarter of this year, the RAV4-based luxury SUV will arrive first in 2.5-litre petrol hybrid NX 300h guise, with an NX 200t version equipped with the brand’s new direct-injected 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine set to follow in early 2015.

The naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol option destined for some overseas markets will not be available in local NX models.

The NX 300h’s drivetrain is closely related to that found in the existing Lexus 300h models, and puts out a combined output of 145kW. However, the NX 200t is set to be the performer of the duo, with 175kW/350Nm, and max torque on tap from 1650-4000rpm.

Lexus is yet to specify local consumption figures for either drivetrain, but the NX 200t will be helped by the brand’s first non-hybrid stop-start system.

Both front and all-wheel drive will be available with either engine, with the hybrid sending power to the rear wheels via a unique E-Four drive system.

The NX is the Japanese luxury brand’s first mid-size SUV, and will compete with the likes of the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Range Rover Evoque and BMW X1.

"NX arrives at a time when Lexus is on the ascendancy - growth driven by an expanding product range and strong hybrid sales," Lexus Australia Chief Executive Sean Hanley says.

At 4630mm, the NX is 60mm longer than its RAV4 basis, but is 70mm lower at 1645mm. Overall width is the same at 1845mm along with a 2660mm wheelbase.

Adaptive dampers will be available, along with all-speed adaptive cruise control, Lexus’ first panoramic view monitor, and a host of driver alert functions.

Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed, and it remains unclear which engine will form the range-topper. Hybrid variants command a premium in most current Lexus model lines, but the ES uses the hybrid ES300h as its price leader for its two-tier range.

This reporter is on Twitter: @Mal_Flynn