The NX has been a very significant car for Lexus, the first generation version generating over 170,000 European sales, most of them customers new to Lexus. This second generation model, 95% of which is completely new, is tasked with continuing that the brand's growth across Western markets. So Lexus needs the NX - and needs it to do well. For that to happen, this car has to offer more than the traditional attributes that spring to mind when you think of this brand, things like reliability, quality, refinement, technology and great dealer back up. Of course, the company's proud of the reputation it's built upon these virtues, but it's well aware that for this model to succeed against well-established rivals like those from BMW, Volvo, Mercedes and Audi, worthiness isn't enough. Lexus needs desirability. It needs design flair. It needs excitement. It needs..... an X-factor.
Take a close look at this enhanced NX and increasingly, you find yourself agreeing that this is just what's on offer here. That might not necessarily mean you'll want one. It's obviously not intended for the few who regularly want to get their tyres muddy in this segment. Nor will it really suit family-minded driving enthusiasts. And the NX may still be a little too individual to sell in the kind of numbers its maker would like - but then that's all part of its appeal. It's not perfect but it's never boring. And in a market sector that's getting just that little bit stale, it's a breath of fresh air.