Lexus NX200t 2.0 F Sport: The Japanese Batmobile
When Christopher Nolan’s Batman begins rolled out on our screens in 2005, the first thing that caught our attention was the enhanced, bulked-up Batmobile. It resembled a tank, far from any of the sleek designs we saw in previous Batman movies. But despite its massive size, the Batmobile looked charming in its own way, and was able to catapult you to the century mark in just short of 6.5 seconds!
Ok, we digress. But keeping that in mind, we thought we saw a replica of the Batmobile when Lexus first launched its new NX last year. No, it can’t bulldoze through concrete walls, nor does it have the ability to fire missiles from its fenders. But coat it in black (especially matt black), and we dare say it bears a striking resemblance to Batman’s toy car, especially when seen at night.
So a while back, we had the opportunity to take the new NX200t out for a spin, to find out how well this Batmobile-crossover performs.
Has Lexus been adopting a new design recently?
Yes, it has! For the uninformed, Lexus has moved away from its traditional front design to a sleeker and more futuristic facade that sees a separate daytime running light assembly below its headlights. The distinctive L-shaped running light adds on to the aggressiveness and sleekness of the vehicle.
Up front, the NX200t is impossible to miss. The oversized grille (in a good way though) features a diamond-shaped honeycomb spindle grille. To add on to that touch of uniqueness, Lexus’ triple-L LED headlights are sure to cut through the darkest of roads, and at the same tim, presenting itself as a unique interface compared to the rest in its class.
Coupled with the curves and angular turns you find across the entire shell, the NX appears to be one of the more stylish platforms Lexus has ever produced. From the flushed-in fenders to the seamless angularly-shaped rear design, the car blends into the night perfectly well.
I hear Lexus is heaping loads of technology into their cars?
The leading luxury Japanese automotive brand, Lexus is renowned for their cutting-edge technology, as well as their ability to fit countless gadgets into a single car. We drove a CT200H recently, and were amazed at the number of gadgets the hybrid hatch provide – from an electronic parking brake, to auto-start/stop, as well as a touchpad coupled with an integrated mouse. It proved a little too intimidating for the layman driver who just wish to get from point A to B. Clearly, Lexus isn’t a car for the uninformed, or the technologically challenged driver.
The NX didn’t lack any of these. Instead, we were presented with an array of gadgets to satisfy the tech-geek in us. Right smack in the center, Lexus did away with the mouse and instead, integrated its Remote Touch Interface pad, something more user-friendly compared to the redundant mouse.
The infotainment system was perhaps one function that required a little more tweaking. You see, keying in your destination in the navigation function requires “navigating” around the interface to find the correct input field. It was indeed so troublesome that we relied on our trustworthy iPhone for a good period of our drive.
Being an F Sport variant, the NX200t came fitted with a Lexus’ F Sport steering wheel, paddle shifters, a specially wrapped leather gear shift lever, as well as scuff plates with a sleek, black Lexus logo inscribed on it. It doesn’t get you the panoramic roof the Luxury variant provides, but we dare say it looks a whole lot sportier (both on the inside and the outside).
Is it as quiet as people say Lexus cars are?
Unfortunately, it isn’t that quiet that you could hear your breath. We kept reminding ourselves that the NX houses a 1,998 cc twin-scroll turbocharger beneath its hood. And with putting out 234 horses and 350 Nm of torque on this Japanese Batmobile, I think the last thing we’d expect is for hairpin silence.
Compared to the other variants, the F Sport performance dampers ensured that the car handled better when taking hard corners and bumpy roads. You don’t get ground-planting rides and inevitably, you’d experience a little body roll. But given the fact that this is an SUV, we found that impressive.
Lexus prides itself with minimal turbo lag on the NX, something which we initially didn’t take them too seriously. We took off from Borneo Motor’s showroom, and by the time we hit the first set of lights before Queensway MRT Station, we began to realise why the lady at Lexus had said so.
The 350 Nm of torque kicks in once you depress the pedal a little harder, and overtaking in this is much of a breeze compared to other SUVs. It brings you to the century sprint mark in just 7.1 seconds, 2.1 seconds faster than if you choose its hybrid brother (the NX Hybrid).
Similar to the rest in its class, Lexus offers you four different driving modes to suit your mood – Eco, Normal, Sport, and Sport+. Of course, you wouldn’t expect pin-fast response and acceleration when you choose Eco, though you’d be guaranteed of higher fuel savings. Across the three other modes, we thought that Sports would do the most justice for a car this size and profile.
So why would we buy an NX?
There’re undeniably many other competitors out there, especially the continental makes, providing different choices and options for those seeking a crossover compact. But we dare say that amongst those we drove so far, there has yet to be one that looks as sleek as the NX, and provides you the level of fun you have inside the car with the gadgets.
Yes, the drive may not be as good as others in its class, but this car exudes so much personality and captivity that you may just fall in love with it.
After all, we did fall in love with it.