It was a beaming Lexus Australia boss, Sean Hanley, who last night unveiled the new Lexus NX midsized SUV to the Australian media.
TMR was on hand to see the new NX at the Good Design Awards held at Sydney's new Overseas Passenger Terminal.
The NX will debut on Australian roads around October this year, starting with the NX 300h petrol-electric hybrid, followed by the 175kW 2.0 litre turbo NX 200t in early 2015.
(And, around the same time, we'll also see the new RC Coupe hit Australia.)
Pricing for the NX is yet to be finalised, but the range will span two powertrains and several spec levels, including Luxury and F Sport.
The model shown at the awards was the entry-level Luxury grade, although Lexus says it is a pre-production example. (We don't imagine much will change before October.)
Inside was a leather interior and Lexus' third-generation remote touch technology, Lexus' answer to BMW's iDrive or Mercedes' COMAND.
Lexus has junked the oddball tictac-style mouse controller for the NX, switching to a touchpad to control the infotainment and sat-nav.
Some models will also offer the unique trick of mirroring your smartphone's interface, allowing occupants to control its functions via the main screen.
Some NX models will also be available with wireless phone charging, 360-degree around view camera and electrically adjustable rear seats.
NX: Lexus Australia's Game Changer
Lexus Australia boss Sean Hanley has said in the past that his team needs a model like the NX to compete and grow in the competitive local market.
While unwilling to put a number on how many NXs the brand will sell, Hanley continued with his message that Lexus Australia's goal is to grow the brand five to ten percent year-on-year and not worry about market share.
"We'd be very happy [with that]", Hanley said. "We don't want unsustainable growth or growth for growth's sake."
Hanley believes the NX will bring a whole new demographic to the Lexus brand - Audi Q5 and BMW X3 buyers among them - and his team plans to use social media to draw the interest of younger and more tech-savvy buyers.
"They'll come to the brand and we're confident they'll love the unique customer experience Lexus delivers. And we think they'll stay with us," he said.
Lexus is keen to hose down ideas that the NX is closely related to the RAV4, but the cars are roughly the same size - in fact, thanks to its raked design, the NX is around 100mm longer than the midsized Toyota.
The new Lexus SUV's interior is well packaged with a boot big enough to swallow four suitcases, according to the manufacturer.
Hanley's confident that the NX's size, style and luxury packaging will make it a popular choice for Australian buyers.
The goalposts for NX success have been set this year by the likes of Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque, with year-to-date sales numbers of 1003, 882 and 1013 respectively.
"The NX is a big win for Lexus International," Hanley said. "A big win. I'm very proud of this car.”
Time will tell if it's a win for Lexus Australia.
- Interested in buying LEXUS NX? Visit our LEXUS NX showroom for more information.