Lexus previews production NX compact crossover

The NX is slated to go on sale in the fall of 2014 as a 2015 model.

DETROIT -- Lexus has published a preview of the 2015 Lexus NX luxury compact crossover, scheduled to debut April 20 at the 2014 China auto show in Beijing. The upcoming Lexus NX is meant to battle the likes of the BMW X1, the Audi Q3, and the Mercedes-Benz GLA, and it was previewed earlier in concept form as the LF-NX.

Lexus has once again gone from concept to production vehicle in record time, and if this teaser image is any indication, it has significantly toned town the design of the LF-NX concept -- no surprise there, though in this case it appears Lexus has ditched the angular design language almost entirely.

The production version of the NX also appears to have received a softened version of Lexus' corporate "spindle" grille. Lexus also fine-tuned the headlight design from the concept car, though the LED running lights remain very similar to those found on the concept.

The large inlets right below the headlights have vanished, and designers smoothed out the design of the front and rear wheelarches.

What is not apparent from this latest teaser shot is whether Lexus has kept the black mesh grille, or has given it a slightly lighter color for production. There are some indications that the grille will feature four large horizontal bars, which will certainly tame the uncompromising look of the LF-NX concepts.

The NX is slated to go on sale in the fall of 2014 as a 2015 model, and will be positioned just below the RX in Lexus' model hierarchy. Lexus has remained without a sub-RX model longer than many other Japanese manufacturers with a significant presence in the U.S. market, and this new model is intended to take on offerings from Germany in this rapidly expanding segment.

The 2014 Beijing auto show is scheduled for April 20-29, and is expected to feature a number of important premieres -- China is now the largest car consumer market in the world.

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