Lexus NX 450h+ F

SPORT PHEV

Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT PHEV
Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT PHEV, front
Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT PHEV, side
Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT PHEV, rear profile
Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT PHEV, cabin
Lexus NX 450h+ PHEV, 2022, boot

CELEBRATED as the Japanese company's top seller since 2015, the latest second generation Lexus NX is already shaping the future of the brand in Europe, scooping industry awards along the way.

Some 95 per cent of the parts on all models are new and leading the charge is the company's first plug-in hybrid electric model, the NX 450h+.

Lexus's sister brand Toyota has proved a trailblazer when it comes to hybrids, with a provenance dating back more than 25 years and the arrival of the original Prius.

Countless model lines have followed, to the point that the entire Toyota and Lexus line-up is now electrified, but all have been self-charging hybrids rather than plug-ins.

The 450h+ is the halo model of the NX range, featuring a 2.5-litre petrol engine, a 134kW electric motor at the front, a 40kW rear motor and an 18.1kWh battery - one of the highest capacities in its class.

That little lot between them produce a hefty 305bhp of punch, sufficient to power the car from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and a fully electric range of between 42 and 46 miles.

The beauty of the system though is that it operates in all-electric mode by default, so that when battery charge is depleted it automatically switches to self-charging hybrid - unlike most competitor models which revert to an internal combustion engine.

It may not sound like a massive difference, but Lexus' own data suggests something in the region of 30 per cent less fuel consumption, so the saving in economy is obvious.

But there's much more to recommend the 450h+, which is available in the three trim grades of NX, F SPORT and Takumi, than its worth as a PHEV.

Nor is the plug-in element the only ‘first' as this is also the first Lexus to herald the brand's new Tazuna cockpit concept, the name derived from the Japanese word describing a rider's use of reins to control a horse.

Following the principle of ‘hands on the wheel, eyes on the road' the multi-info display, multimedia screen, gauges, meters and head-up display are grouped so you can read them at a glance - it's sensible and simple.

Then there are the touch tracer switches on the steering wheel, which can be customised for operating the likes of air-con or panoramic view, a welcome sequence with lights, graphics and sound, a push button style e-latch electronic door release and ambient lighting in 64 different colours.

As for comfort there's plenty of that, our tested F SPORT model coming with perforated leather seats in two-tone Flare Red and Black, with ample head and legroom all round, the only squeeze coming if you happen to be an adult centre rear passenger - shoulder room is tight and there's a transmission tunnel between your feet.

Out on the road the NX 450h+ is a pleasure to pilot, whichever of the three drive modes you prefer, feeling balanced, refined and - importantly - very efficient, provided you are disciplined about plugging in.

F Sport models come extensively kitted out with F Sport 20-inch alloys and exterior highlights including a piano black grille, black roof rails and F Sport badging, along with an F Sport steering wheel, aluminium pedals and sports front seats.

The package also equips the car with Adaptive Variable Suspension and front and rear lateral performance dampers and, along with the rest of the NX range, there's a full suite of up-to-the-minute safety features.

FAST FACTS

Lexus NX 450h+ F SPORT PHEV

Price:£60,550

Mechanical:305bhp, 2,487cc 4-cyl petrol engine plus two electric motors driving four wheels via automatic transmission

Max Speed:124mph

0-62mph:6.3 secs

Combined MPG:256.8 Combined

Insurance Group:38

C02 emissions:21-25g/km

Bik rating:8%

Warranty:10yrs/100,000 miles

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