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2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport Review: Treefiddy

Derryn Wong
24/03/2022
2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - front 3/4

A 2.4-litre turbo engine brings enjoyable power to the Lexus NX 350 F Sport in Singapore, but this power comes with thirst


SINGAPORE –

Here’s an version of the Lexus NX we’ve never seen before – the most powerful petrol-only model in F Sport trim. 

The new NX debuted late last year, and by now the model line-up has been completed with the NX 350h hybrid, the rather brawny 304hp PHEV model the NX 450+, and this, the NX 350 F Sport. 

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - front 3/4 low
If aggro angles are your thing, F Sport enhances the NX’s athletic design

The previous-gen NX topped out at 240hp with its 2.0-litre turbo engine in the NX 300 – that engine was the first turbo unit for Lexus by the way – but that’s been replaced by a rather sizeable engine, a 2.4-litre turbo bearing 275hp. 

That will draw more road tax of course – S$1,147 per annum for the old NX, and S$1,586 for this one – a minus in an era where the Germans count on 2.0-litre engines to make up to 250-plus hp, but the reason for that is likely Lexus’ US-centric approach, where the brand is consistently one of the top three luxury brands. 


Could you be Mr – or Ms – NX? Find out in our special video featuring the NX 350h and NX 350 F Sport

But to concentrate on more happy news: If you want a fast petrol NX, this is the one you should get (nevermind that it’s the only petrol-only NX).

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - Front 3/4 high

As is now expected of an F Sport car, it looks attractively aggressive. We described the first NX as the designers throwing a bag of set squares at an SUV bodystyle, and that’s still (sort of) true. The F Sport bits are the dark grille, 20-inch dark alloy wheels, and more darked-out body bits. There’s also a matte chrome leading edge for the front splitter and rear diffuser. 

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - Rear 3/4

Inside the F Sport approach continues as per the rulebook: F Sport seats, red upholstery, perforated leather on the touch points and seats, and aluminium pedals. As on the hybrid and plug-in versions, the NX 350 has the same 14.0-inch touchscreen that’s bright, clear and attractive looking, though the fonts are a little small, and the menu system harder to use as a result. 

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - cockpit layout

Lexus makes a big deal out of its Tazuna Cockpit layout, but perhaps the highest praise here is that everything simply works easily without any acrobatics required from the driver. The F Sport model has the big central dial theme for its digital display, and it also shows turbo boost and G-force pulled. Another nice touch is the colour HUD – it looks much clearer than our photos can show – and you can control it with the touch-buttons on the wheel. 



Like its brothers, the NX 350 F Sport has a lot of equipment too – wireless charger, extensive active safety, a digital rearview mirror, electronic latch doors, and more.

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - 2.4-litre turbo engine

As expected, the 275hp of the 2.4-litre turbo doesn’t feel at all like 275hp, and that’s a plus. At regular speeds, the car’s power delivery is as smooth as we expect from a Lexus and not that much different from the old 3.5-litre V6. There’s an accompanying rort too, though some of this is artificial sound, and thankfully not at all like the old hybrid versions’ obviously fake V6 noise. 

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - rolling shot on the road

The F Sport kit includes adaptive suspension that’s also sport tuned – like the F Sport PHEV you do feel the stiffer setup and larger 20-inch wheels over the sensible 18”s of the NX350h. But it’s still very much oriented toward the daily grind than the apex grind, it’s perfectly mannered in and around town, aside from a little more engine noise and mild thump. 

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore - driving mode switch

To get the NX 350 to be naughty you crank the driving mode dial to Sport+, and this sharpens up all the systems to prep for more pace. At that point you do feel the full 275hp, and the handling is good though you shouldn’t expect the same level of driver involvement as say, a BMW X3 M40i.

To wit, F Sport or not, it’s still a Lexus so you never quite escape the majestic/weighty (pick one depending on your POV) feeling. In our opinion, the major drawback here is not dynamic, but possibly financial/environmental. 

2022 Lexus NX 350 F Sport review - CarBuyer Singapore  - F Sport steering wheel

The NX 350 does an official 8.1L/100km, but this is probably not WLTP figures. In our drive, we never saw better than 10L/100km, and closer to 11L/100km. In that aspect, it’s not far off from say, a Land Rover Defender or similar large SUV. 

During the time of the first NX, the NX 350 F Sport would be simple to recommend, but the EV wave has pulled the rug out from under ICE now, so much so that a 2.4-litre turbo sounds like high-performance stuff on paper. Keep in mind this is a time when Ferrari’s 296 GTB is running a ‘mere’ 3.0-litre V6

Like it is so often with Lexus cars, it’s the hybrids that really offer more to a buyer: A similar driving experience, more comfort, and a whole lot more efficiency, to the tune of less than 50 percent as much fuel, in the case of our tests the NX 350 vs the NX 305h. Also remember that the NX 350h starts at S$294k with COE – nearly S$30k less than this car. 

Yes, the NX 350 F Sport is more exciting to look at, and slightly more exciting to drive, but while it consumes more than twice the fuel of its hybrid brother, it’s not twice as exciting. 

Lexus NX 350 F Sport 

Drivetrain type Petrol engine 
Engine2,393cc inline 4, turbocharged
Power275hp at 6000rpm
Torque430Nm at 1700-3600rpm
Gearbox8-speed automatic 
0-100km/h7.0 seconds 
Top Speed200km/h
Fuel Efficiency8.1L/100km
VES Band C1 / +S$15,000
AgentBorneo Motors
PriceS$324,800 with COE and VES
AvailabilityNow
Verdict Smooth, powerful, feature-filled, but thirsty – get the hybrid unless you’re a petorl-only diehard

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Tags:

F Sport Lexus luxury Midsize NX NX 350 SUV

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism, previously being the editor of Top Gear Singapore, a presenter for CNA, contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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