Love it or hate it, Sabrina Lee discovers that the Lexus NX Turbo F Sport is anything but boring...
The automobile industry is pretty much a male-dominated industry. Recently, however, we're seeing some changes.
Automobile makers are coming to grips with the fact that what women want and need in a vehicle is not much different than what men want and need.
Men and women like vehicles that are stylish, safe, fun to drive, an expression of their personality, meet their needs, reliable, and loaded with features.
There are, however, some fundamental design issues that differ for women than men, and these things do, in fact, influence a woman's choice in purchasing a vehicle.
For one, the Lexus NX is a tactile companion ' a new Remote Touch Interface (RTI) lets you control the navigation and audio systems on the 7-inch EMV display.
You never have to second-guess yourself as it pulsates when touched. The car is also fitted with sensors up the wazoo. This was handy when it came to squeezing into the numerous small car parks dotted around Orchard Road.
Don't get me wrong, I'm great when it comes to managing tight spaces, but this made it all the more easy.
The Lexus NX Turbo F Sport comes with comfortable step-in height, lightweight doors, a one-touch open/close trunk lid, larger seats with good hip room, oversized handles and buttons, floor pedals positioned so the driver can sit closer to the steering wheel, and wide sight lines.
If anything, the Lexus also pampers you. It shelters you from the elements of an overpopulated and overheated urban city ' the car's cooled and ventilated seats kept my butt happy while reducing my reliance on the air conditioner.
But it does so without waiving practicality. The NX is the go-anywhere, do-anything type of vehicle, with a personality to boot.
It's spindle grill with triple LED headlamps made heads turn at every corner. I felt like the princess of the ball in a big, muscular carriage.
'F Sport' variants like this one also come with all the sporty bells and whistles both inside and out, so no one will ever accuse you of driving a girlie car.
More importantly though, the 'F Sport' package in Singapore also includes AVS (Adaptive Variable Suspension), which adapts and immeasurably improves on the ride damping over the NX Hybrid across a broad range of surface conditions ' it was certainly smooth and resolved enough for our photographer not to complain when we were doing the tracking shots!
In addition to the paddle-shifters, there's also an electronic boost gauge and g-force sensor, which should pander well to the performance-inclined, yet are now at a stage of their lives where they are prepared to leave the discomfort behind in favour of premium refinement.
The turbocharged 2.0-litre engine at its heart, Lexus' first-ever, is made completely in-house; yes, this even extends to the turbocharger, which other brands tend to source from third-party suppliers.
In contrast to the hard-boosting traits of high-performance turbo'd applications, the NX Turbo's urge is almost sanguine, with a refined and seamless surge through the gears as you negotiate the vagaries of uptown traffic.
It's no pushover though, since it'll muster sufficient vigour when you really put your foot down to kick you in the nuts when it needs to get going fast.
I kept it real by actively avoiding the small dial labeled "Active Sound Control ' activating it pumps in faux engine noise through the speakers.
Call me old-school, but if the engine is worth listening to, then let's hear the actual engine, not an artificial, digitised, and amplified version of it. Unlike some men, we women don't need our ego routinely stroked.
While women have always been powerful, independent and adventurous, today's woman has an even greater opportunity to express herself than in the past.
Women are proving they can be as rugged and self-reliant as the vehicles they operate, and often enough, their vehicle of choice is an SUV.
As a result, the sport-utility market has become more of a woman's market than ever before. And the Lexus NX Turbo could well be the It Car to have.
STORY SABRINA LEE
PHOTOS LEXUS / TOPGEAR SINGAPORE
caption: NX Turbo plays support car duties during our shoot with its 'F' godfather... the V10 LFA
Lexus NX Turbo F Sport
Engine: 1998cc, inline4, turbocharged
Transmission: 6spd auto
Top speed: 200km/h
Fuel consumption: 7.9l/100km
Price: S$264k w/COE