Cars > Electric

The Lexus RZ is the brand’s star in its electric future

The first Lexus EV built from the ground up

Both Lexus and Toyota are succumbing to full-electric cars. PHOTO FROM LEXUS

After countless teasers, the brand has finally taken the wraps off its newest electric vehicle called the Lexus RZ450e.

While this isn’t the first electric car Lexus ever made (that honor goes to the UX300e), it’s the first fully electric model built from the ground up. This model was made as part of Toyota’s new direction for Lexus to sell only electric cars by 2030 in major markets, with the rest of the world following in 2035.

We think this two-tone paint job looks the best on the RZ. PHOTO FROM LEXUS

As we’ve seen in previous articles, it highly resembles the LF-Z Electrified, just a bit toned down for production. It rides on either 18- or 20-inch wheels, and you can see the lighting design (front light signature and rear lightbar) and the sharp character and styling lines associated with the brand.

Most of the car’s body has been designed with aerodynamics in mind. The spindle grille is no longer a grille (because there’s no engine to cool in the first place), and it’s now called the “BEV Spindle Body.” This allows for a lower hood design and a minimal front grille opening (with a shutter to improve efficiency). The center of the roof has been shaped to optimize airflow, with a rear spoiler to generate downforce, along with an underbody cover to reduce drag.

It may look like a simple interior, but expect it to be well-built and made out of the finest materials. PHOTO FROM LEXUS

The interior follows the same concept of Tazuna (the relationship between the horse and the rider) seen in the LF-Z concept, all while offering the same brand of Japanese luxury that Lexus vehicles have been known for.

There’s an optional panoramic roof that can be dimmed, a heads-up display, radiant knee heaters that will allow the passenger’s knees to stay warm, and new 14-inch Lexus infotainment first seen in the latest NX.

Of course, there are interior materials such as ultrasuede, leather and wood. Interestingly, the press images show both a traditional (round) steering wheel and a yoke-style tiller, so at least you have a choice between the two (unlike a specific American EV manufacturer).

Would you be open to using a yoke-style tiller in the RZ? PHOTO FROM LEXUS

The RZ450e rides on the same e-TNGA platform utilized by the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra, but with a couple of new technologies to show how the Lexus Driving Signature translates in electrified cars. It’s powered by a dual-motor setup with a combined power output of 312hp, and the 71.4kWh battery will be good enough for around 450km of range.

It will have the Direct4 four-wheel-drive system and a high-output electronic axle (called eAxle). This system can independently adjust the drive force of all four wheels (allowing for torque distribution within 100% to the front and the rear) during different scenarios for improved acceleration, stability and lowering the power consumption.

It also has Frequency Reactive Dampers in its suspension setup (which uses MacPherson struts up front, and double wishbones at the back). These dampers adjust the dampening force of the extension stroke in response to the frequency of the road surface, allowing for concise control of sprung weight, improved steering feel, braking, and acceleration.

The eAxle integrates the motor, transaxle, and inverter in one compact package that allows for increased interior and cargo space, alongside a bump in cruising range.

Finally, there’s a steer-by-wire system, which completely eliminates the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. This lets the steering angle to be set at approximately 150°, so you don’t need to do hand-over-hand operations during low-speed maneuvers like U-turns, parking, and winding roads.

The future is clearly electric for the premium brand. PHOTO FROM LEXUS

It also comes with version 3.0 of the Lexus Safety System+ suite of driving aids, which has features like a pre-collision system, dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure alert, and emergency driving stop system. There’s even an optional advanced remote parking system that now supports parallel parking.

Pricing has not been announced yet, but North America will see the RZ450e at the end of 2022. Are you looking forward to Lexus bringing this to our market?

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.