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Lexus today revealed the next stage of its development as a luxury lifestyle brand with the world premiere of its first compact urban crossover, the UX.

Unveiled at the Geneva international motor show, the Lexus UX features a bold and stylish design, new platform, two new powertrains and an array of imaginative technologies.

The new model - due in Australia early next year - introduces a fourth-generation hybrid system, a new 2.0-litre petrol engine with high thermal efficiency and a new direct-shift continuously variable transmission.

The UX will be the fourth addition to the local Lexus range in just 18 months, joining the LC luxury coupe, the RX "L" seven-seat SUV and the upcoming LS flagship sedan.

Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson said the UX would be the most important new model for Lexus sales since the NX Line arrived in 2014.

"The UX with its all-inclusive luxury will further broaden our range and enable Lexus sales to cross over the 10,000 sales barrier for the first time in our history," Mr Thompson said.

"For the first time, Lexus can compete in the luxury small-SUV segment, growing that category by attracting new, younger customers while offering an aspirational alternative to our long-standing customers," he said.

The UX features powerful bodywork, aggressive rear shoulders and muscular wheel arches that contrast with a sleek, compact cabin profile and a high beltline.

Under the distinctive skin, an all-new C-segment platform delivers the lowest centre of gravity in its class, exceptional body rigidity and an agile, hatchback-like driving experience.

Inside, the cabin offers a driver-focused cockpit with a commanding view of the road as well as an open, relaxing space for passengers and generous cargo space.

The new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, that reaps the performance and fuel-economy benefits of high thermal efficiency, is at the heart of both the UX 200 petrol variants and the UX 250h with its fourth-generation self-charging hybrid system.

The hybrid UX 250h will be a key focus for Lexus with the new powertrain delivering combined output of 131kW as well as remarkable fuel efficiency. In UX 200, the engine is mated to a new direct-shift continuously variable transmission.

UX is equipped with the latest Lexus Safety System+ that includes a pre-collision system that can recognise pedestrians at night and cyclists during the day. Other new features include road sign assist and lane tracing assist.

The F Sport versions of the UX are clearly differentiated by design elements including F-mesh grille pattern, an exclusive rear bumper design with chrome highlights, unique 18-inch alloy wheel designs, sports seats and aluminium pedals and footrest.

The F Sport models benefit from exclusive tuning of the suspension and are also available with a specifically tuned version of the new high-response adaptive variable suspension (AVS) system featured on the Lexus LC flagship coupe.

Preliminary specifications
Length (mm)4,495
Height (mm)1,520
Width (mm)1,840
Wheelbase (mm)2,640
Couple distance (mm)870
Length of load area (mm)880
Min. turning radius (m)5.2

Note: All specifications are preliminary and based on European information. Specifications may differ in Australia.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Raman
PR Manager
Lexus Australia
T: +61 3 9647 4524
M: +61 412 830 814

The Lexus UX crossover has been built for the modern urban explorer who seeks a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on a luxury lifestyle.

UX chief engineer Chika Kako said she focused on the target customer - mid-30s, millennials, men and women - and tried to understand how they would expect a luxury compact vehicle to change their lives and enable new experiences.

"Design is still the main purchase reason for every car, it is the design that promises to the customer what the car can deliver. With the UX the design team have created a style which delivers the strong safe feeling that sets crossovers apart from hatchbacks, but combined it with a very dynamic dimension.

"We also focused on giving the UX a distinctive driving feel that would resonate with the customer. I wanted to overturn the image of a crossover with a high body that requires careful manoeuvring and offer a car with nimble performance and excellent manoeuvrability that make it as easy to drive as a hatchback."

The UX is a new gateway vehicle for Lexus, it is rich in the qualities that define the brand: brave design, exhilarating performance and imaginative technology.

Lexus has produced a design for the UX that expresses the sense of security that is expected of a crossover, but which equally communicates agility and a fun-to-drive quality with sleek, attractively compact appearance. The result is a model with a unique identity in its segment that makes a strong and appealing design statement. There was close collaboration among all team members, resulting in a harmonious shape that almost seamlessly links the inside and outside of the car.

Exterior design
The aim for the UX was to achieve a compact design that is both strong and stylish, breaking with the conventions of the segment to deliver something more distinctive and dynamic.

This design approach can be seen at work in the way the front and rear wings flare strongly outwards in relation to the car's basic form, which flows out from the lines of the spindle grille to envelop the cabin. The meticulously formed exterior surfaces are simple but captivating, expressing strength and dynamism.

At the front, the arrangement of the headlights and the spindle grille are incorporated into a deep, strong shape created by the bonnet and bumper to generate a sense of security. At the rear, a condensed styling treatment contrasts sharply with the flared wings to emphasise the UX's dynamic and strong crossover qualities.

Details include daytime running lights, arranged in an arrowhead motif above the headlights to emphasise the Lexus L-shaped illumination signature. The spindle grille has a new block-shape mesh pattern with individual elements that gradually change in shape as they radiate out from the central Lexus emblem, giving a three-dimensional look that changes according to the angle of view.

The rear combination lamps have an original and advanced design that is not only eye-catching but also aerodynamically efficient while improving vehicle handling. The right and left units are connected by a continuous, single line of light across the back door to give the UX's rear a unique appearance. Formed by a sequence of 120 LEDs, this tapers gently towards the centre, measuring just 3mm thick at its narrowest point. This design is set to become a world-first Lexus signature feature.

New aluminium wheel designs have been produced for the UX, with 17 and 18-inch diameters.

Dimensions and packaging
The UX measures 4,495mm long, 1,520mm high and 1,840mm wide and has a 2,640mm wheelbase. An 870mm couple distance ensures ample space for rear-seat passengers, while the luggage space is a generous 880mm long.

The car's proportions allow for excellent manoeuvrability, with a best-in-segment 5.2m turning radius. For the driver, the distance between the hip and heel points gives the feel of driving a hatchback rather than an SUV-type vehicle.

Interior design
Lexus designers sought to eliminate the boundary between exterior and interior, providing the driver an excellent field of vision with a clear sense of the vehicle's body dimensions.

This concept is most evident from the driver's seat, where the upper section of the instrument panel appears to extend out beyond the windscreen. Conversely, seen from outside, the bonnet looks as though it connects directly to the instrument panel.

This is inspired by a traditional Japanese concept which blurs the boundary between the inside and outside of a house.

The human-centred approach extends to the design of the UX interior, with a "seat-in-control" concept that focuses operation of all the principal vehicle functions around the driver's side of the cabin.

At the same time, this helps create a more relaxing atmosphere around the passenger space. The instrument panel has a low, unobtrusive design and the slim A-pillar mouldings have been shaped to improve visibility and give the kind of commanding outward view that is expected of a crossover.

Chief Engineer Kako drew on her earlier experience in materials development and time spent working in Europe to help define the quality and appearance of the interior, in particular applying an uncluttered "less is more" approach to achieve the desired effect.

"In the course of (my earlier) work, I learned that even if the elements that make up the interior, such as the seats, instrument panel and ornamentation, are all made to a high specification, that doesn't necessarily mean that the overall look will give an elegant impression.

"When it comes to determining whether an interior is good or bad, controlling the overall balance between the continuity, unity and contrast is more important than the relative specifications of individual components."

The human-centred design thinking included paying particular attention to the appearance and ease of use of the centre console that integrates audio switches into a palm rest. The seatback shape has been defined to make operation of controls possible while maintaining a comfortable, natural posture.

Getting in and out of the vehicle has been made easy and comfortable through optimal placing of the hip-point, a cut-off profile for the rocker panel below the doors and shaping of the seat cushion.

Sashiko leather quilting
The smooth leather upholstery available for the UX is inspired by sashiko, a traditional Japanese quilting technique that is also used in the making of judo and kendo martial arts uniforms. The quilted leather is decorated with new perforation patterns that form mathematical curves and gradations in perfect alignment, enhancing the appearance of the seats.

Ornamentation inspired by Japanese paper grain
The sweeping instrument panel covers a large area, connecting the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. This provides an opportunity to accentuate the atmosphere of the cabin using fine-quality ornamentation, with a choice of two grain patterns and four colours.

The UX is the first Lexus model to offer a new trim grain finish that's inspired by the grain of Japanese paper, known as washi, familiar in traditional Japanese homes. Created using slush-moulding and a carefully chosen surface finish, it evokes a calm and warm feeling.

A leather grain finish is also available, shared with the LC coupe and LS flagship sedan and building a consistency of quality across the Lexus brand.

The UX has been engineered to deliver "elegant performance with peace of mind" consistent in all Lexus models. The foundation is the new global architecture platform named GA-C, used for the first time in a Lexus.

Two new powertrains make their debut: a new, fourth generation self-charging hybrid system with 131kW and the choice of front-wheel-drive or E-Four in the UX 250h; and a new 2.0-litre petrol engine with high thermal efficiency, available with a new direct-shift continuously variable transmission in the UX 200.

Suspension, steering and tyres have also all been developed to support dynamic and performance ambitions for the UX.

First use of new global architecture platform GA-C
The UX is the first Lexus to be constructed using the new global architecture platform named GA-C, the foundation for the car's dynamic performance. Its development focused on giving the UX nimble and instant response to the driver's inputs, while communicating a sense of stability and safety.

The platform allowed for an increase in rigidity, including a high-tensile and ring structure around the rear and back door openings. Highly rigid adhesive and laser screw welding have been used in key locations, greatly enhancing overall rigidity.

Low centre of gravity
The UX has the lowest centre of gravity of any vehicle in its class, thanks to the design of the global architecture C platform. This characteristic, central to the car's fine ride and handling quality, is also supported by weight-saving measures in the body construction, including the use of lightweight aluminium for the side doors, fenders and bonnet, as well as a resin material for the back door.

Suspension and steering
MacPherson strut front suspension and a double wishbone arrangement at the rear have been designed and tuned to promote ride comfort and sharp response. Special attention has been paid to shock absorber performance and the quality of the damper oil, oil seals and friction control.

An electric power steering system with a new compact and highly rigid column assist has been adopted for the UX, with a large diameter column shaft. This supports handling with crisp, immediate response to driver inputs, with good steering feel.

Fourth generation self-charging hybrid powertrain
The Lexus UX 250h will also use a new fourth generation hybrid electric system that features a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electronic continuously variable transmission. It will be available with front-wheel drive and with the Lexus all-wheel-drive E-Four system.

The new engine is notable for its high thermal efficiency and output, with provisional performance figures for the full hybrid self-charging system (engine and electric motor combined) anticipating a maximum 131kW.

The powertrain development program focused not just on outstanding fuel economy, but also on a high level of driving appeal. Particular efforts were made to reduce any "rubber band" effect in the operation of the hybrid system and transmission, by optimising the level of electric motor assistance and engine rpm to generate a linear acceleration feel without the engine running at high revs. Engine rpm are synchronised with the increase in vehicle speed to create an immediate and continuous acceleration feel, responding to the driver's intentions and creating a pleasant driving feel.

New hybrid transaxle, power control unit and battery
The system has a compact and lightweight new transaxle and power control unit, designed to minimise power losses through heat and friction.

A new nickel metal-hydride battery is used with a revised construction and more compact cooling system that allows for smaller dimensions overall. This allows the battery to be located below the rear seat, minimising intrusion in the load space and supporting the UX's low centre of gravity.

The E-Four system gives the UX 250h all-wheel-drive capability by placing an additional electric motor on the rear axle. Power distribution between the front and rear axles is automatically optimised when accelerating, cornering, or driving on slippery surfaces.

UX 200 with new 2.0-litre petrol engine
The UX 200 is powered by a new 2.0-litre petrol engine, engineered to provide a high level of dynamic and environmental performance with excellent fuel economy. The in-line four-cylinder unit uses high-speed combustion to achieve enhanced thermal efficiency.

Features which enable this across a wide range of driving scenarios include multi-hole direct fuel injectors, a continuously variable capacity oil pump, a variable cooling system and VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing on the intake side. The result is a maximum thermal efficiency of around 40 per cent - a best-in-class level for a passenger vehicle engine.

Direct Shift-CVT
The new 2.0-litre engine featured in the UX 200 is matched to the first Lexus Direct Shift continuously variable transmission, which is engineered to provide a direct driving feel as well as smooth, fuel-efficient performance.

A conventional system uses two pulleys, connected by a belt, that can change their radius seamlessly, and thus change the effective gear ratio, without any "step" effect.

The new Direct Shift-CVT has a gear-driven first gear, like a manual transmission, that is used for start-up. This gives the smooth acceleration of a CVT, but with a direct acceleration feel. It also reduces the need for the pulleys and belt mechanism to be used in the low gear range. This allows more room to be dedicated to the higher gear range.

High-speed, high-response gear-shifting technology, using a multi-plate wet clutch developed for use in automatic transmissions, is used to switch power from the gear to the belt and pulleys. This secures performance in response to different situations, from smooth and fuel-efficient driving to sporty performance with fast shifts.

The design can freely adjust the gear ratio to simulate changes like a multi-gear automatic transmission under heavy acceleration. This provides a linear acceleration feel with synchronisation of the increasing engine revs and vehicle speed.

The unique character of the Lexus UX is expressed in the application of imaginative technology in detailed aspects of the car, emphasising its depth of quality to customers, particularly those who might be buying a premium brand vehicle for the first time.

The UX is available with the latest version of Lexus Safety System+, including a pre-collision system (PCS) developed to be able to recognise pedestrians at night. Additionally, PCS radar detection has been extended to enable detection of cyclists during the day - road users who are involved in a high number of traffic accidents. The package provided on the UX also includes Lexus Co DRIVE (featuring lane tracing assist and radar active cruise control), automatic high beam/adaptive high-beam system, and road sign assist.

World-first aerodynamic design details
Lexus took a new approach to achieve the best possible aerodynamic performance from the UX's rear combination lamps, wheel arch mouldings and, in a world-first concept, aerodynamic wheels.

Aero stabilising blade lights in the rear incorporate fins with a distinctive design that help prevent airflow from wrapping around the rear of the vehicle. They make a noticeable contribution to keeping the rear of the car stable when turning and driving in crosswinds.

Painstaking adjustments were made to the lamps' curved profile, with each change evaluated and verified in wind tunnel and real-world driving tests.

The wheel arch mouldings have flat sides and a stepped top section, which generates an airflow that helps minimise roll and keep the vehicle stable when is cornering, changing lanes or being driven in a straight line. Millimetre-precise adjustment of this step feature ensured an optimal balance between the stabilising effect and design considerations.

The UX's five-spoke 17-inch aluminium wheels have a world-first aerodynamic design that helps both keep the brakes cool and reduce wind resistance. Computer simulations and wind-tunnel testing produced a profile shape for the wheel's spokes that increased the amount of airflow that could be directed to cool the disc brakes, without compromising the coefficient of drag.

Single knob ventilation control with wireless lighting
The UX's air vents have a new single-knob control for air-flow direction and volume, illuminated using a wireless system that is adopted for the first time in a vehicle. By combining the two functions in a single control, the vents could be made larger, improving performance. Each control has an LED light source that is powered wirelessly, using electromagnetic resonance between two coils vibrating at the same frequency. Using the same design principle as the LC's rear combination lamps, the vent lights use mirror optics to create the effect of floating lighting depth, even though the reflector element is only 3mm thick.

The F Sport versions of the UX are clearly differentiated by styling treatment that emphasises a low and wide form, evoking sporty driving performance. At the front, an exclusive mesh grille references the Lexus F Sport bloodline, with extra impact generated by large fog-light bezels with L-shaped chrome mouldings and detailing that repeats the F-mesh pattern of the grille.

At the rear there is an exclusive bumper design with chrome highlights, projecting a secure, sporting image. Using a jet black ornamentation on the front and rear mouldings created a unified appearance, while the sporty quality is further reflected in exclusive 18-inch alloy wheel designs.

In the cabin, the F Sport exclusive features include sports seats, made with a highly supportive integrated foaming technique, an eight-inch TFT colour display and an instrument meter with a moving outer ring. The F Sport steering wheel and shift knob have a dimpled leather covering and there are sports aluminium pedals and footrest.

The F Sport models benefit from exclusive tuning of the suspension, with adjustment to both springs and stabiliser bars, and the use of rear performance dampers to provide accurate, stable and responsive handling. They are also available with a specifically adapted version of the new high-response adaptive variable suspension (AVS) system featured on the Lexus LC flagship coupe. The aim is to provide a level of damping force that contributes to a rewarding drive, but doesn't detract from comfortable ride quality. This damping force is reduced in straight line driving and increased when cornering or changing lanes to provide stability with minimal roll. Where AVS is fitted, its functionality is linked to the Sport S+ mode in the car's Drive Mode Select.

The driving experience can be further enhanced with active sound control (ASC), generating an audio feedback that gives the aural effect of up and downshifts like those experienced with a geared automatic transmission. And additional sonic interaction design function adjusts the sound the vehicle makes when driven in Sport S+ mode (S+ Sound). This can be switched off, if desired, using the ASC switch.



Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)
Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)
Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)
Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)
Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)
Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)
Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)
Geneva world premiere for new Lexus UX crossover (overseas model shown)