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Another Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept: Tokyo Motor Show Photos

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The startling Lexus LF-NX Concept, launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, appeared with a new powertrain at the Tokyo Motor Show.

And this one's not the hybrid system it was shown with previously

The LF-NX Concept that Lexus has been showing this year previews a production model that will debut next year, perhaps as early as January's Detroit Auto Show.

We've known for a long time that Lexus would offer a premium compact crossover, smaller than the RX mid-size model, which really defined the luxury crossover niche three generations ago.

But Lexus was slower to the game with a compact entry, and it faces lots of competition from vehicles as diverse as the Audi Q5, BMW X1 and X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and perhaps even the low-selling Infiniti EX model (now renamed QX50).

Smaller than the RX at 182.7 inches long, with a 106.3 inch wheelbase, the 2015 Lexus NX will be built on some of the same underpinnings as the redesigned 2013 Toyota RAV4 crossover. Like that model, front-wheel drive will be standard with all-wheel drive optional.

But while the Frankfurt model came with the same 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive system now used in the ES 300h hybrid sedan, this latest Tokyo model has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four--and no hybrid.

Formally known as the Lexus LF-NX Turbo Advanced Crossover Concept, it is likely to be called the Lexus NX 200t in production.

The latest version of the concept is powered by a direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit with variable valve timing.

Lexus says its NX Turbo engine will offer fast throttle response and strong performance while still returning high fuel-efficiency ratings. (As with most small turbocharged engines, whether those ratings translate into good real-world gas mileage remains to be determined.)

Lexus LF-NX Turbo concept - 2013 Tokyo Motor Show live photos

Lexus LF-NX Turbo concept - 2013 Tokyo Motor Show live photos

Enlarge Photo

To underline the sportier performance, Lexus designers added a front splitter and a more aggressive rear diffuser to the LF-NX Turbo.

(Judging from many of the comments on the very, very aggressive frontal styling of the concept, Lexus had better tone down the styling considerably before it launches the production NX.)

Lexus hasn’t shown us the interior of the LF-NX Turbo, but a description suggests much of the design will be shared with the interior of the new Lexus RC 300h coupe, which also debuted in Tokyo.

The center console of the LF-NX Turbo extends the full length of the cabin to bisect the rear seats, providing the concept with a 2+2 seating arrangement. The production NX will likely have a conventional five-seat layout.

When that model debuts, it may well include the hybrid version from the start--likely called the Lexus NX 300h--as Lexus did with the latest version of the ES mid-size sedan.

For news on all the concepts and production cars at the show, check our Tokyo Motor Show index page.

While you're at it, check out all the stories from the Los Angeles Auto Show too, happening the same week as the Tokyo event.

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