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Lexus NX 450h+ 2022: PHEV with 75km of range could come to Australia


Alongside a series of core models, a powerful plug-in hybrid variant of Lexus’ best selling model is on the horizon – so what can we expect?

Lexus has today announced the second-generation NX midsize SUV with three engines locked in for an Australian launch in November.

While not yet confirmed for Australia, a fourth variant in the 2022 NX lineup is a plug-in hybrid – a first for Lexus.

Badged the NX 450h+, the new NX PHEV teams a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol four-cylinder engine with front and rear electric motors to provide extra boost and significant battery-only driving range.

Lexus NX 2022 front 3/4
Alongside three new NX models Lexus is building the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid

The new NX sits on a modified version of the TNGA-K platform that underpins the Toyota RAV4, an SUV which is available locally with a conventional hybrid system and in Europe as a plug-in hybrid. 

Lexus have confirmed the NX 450h+ will feature an electric motor on the front and rear axle, matched with a naturally aspirated 2.5L petrol engine.

In the United States, the combined power for the NX 450h+ has been estimated at 231kW, though an Australian figure is only expected to be confirmed if the plug-in hybrid NX is secured for our market.

The NX 450h+ is understood to be fairly sporty in flavour, debuting a new flexible torque system that can divert power to each axle on the fly.

Lexus NX450h+ 2022 rear 3/4
The NX 450h+ has an electric motor and the front and rear, working with a 2.5L petrol engine

Powering the electric motors is a 18.1kWh lithium-ion battery that is considerably more generous than the 13.5kWh unit offered in the competing Mercedes-Benz GLC 300e plug-in hybrid.

Running on battery power alone, the NX 450h+ operates as an AWD vehicle thanks to the dual motor setup, while providing an estimated 75km of electric range on the WLTP testing cycle. A final range figure has not yet been determined.

Once that battery runs flat, drivers can choose to top up the battery on the fly to provide more electric-only running later – a key consideration in European cities, many of which are banning the running of combustion engines at any time.

Lexus NX 2022 interior
Buyers should be able to drive 75km on electric power exclusively

Alternatively, the NX 450h+ can be charged overnight by way of a 200-volt AC charger.

While fast DC charging is available on some plug-in hybrids, Lexus says it has not built this ability into the NX 540h+’s arsenal, so most charging will likely be done at home overnight and take several hours.

Australia has historically missed out on the plug-in hybrid variants of popular models though have proven more popular in the large luxury segment, with both the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid and the BMW X5 xDrive45e available to local buyers.

Lexus says more details will emerge on the NX 450h+ in due course, but it’s likely that we’ll see more information closer to the Australian launch of the NX in November.