Lexus, pioneers of hybrid technology in the luxury segment, have announced they’ve entered into the new era for EV territory with their new, bespoke Lexus RZ 450e.
The new family-sized SUV will sit between the brand’s NX and RX in terms of its scale, offering ample cabin space. Although the new RZ 450e will use the same e-TNGA architecture as Toyota’s bZ4X SUV – both cars sitting on the same 2,580mm wheelbase – the brand has promised it will be a different driving experience from its cousin from key engineering variations.
The RZ stretches 189 inches long, 74.6 inches wide, and 64.4 inches tall, making it about three inches shorter and 10 inches longer than the RX and exactly as wide. One of the most striking styling cues is that the Spindle Grille is gone: it has been replaced by a body-coloured insert that Lexus named a Spindle Body. The new ‘Spindle Body’ highlights the lower bonnet, muscular wings for definition, and reduced air intakes.
Looking at the exterior, plastic cladding enhances wheel arches to give off a more rugged appearance. Towards the rear, the new Lexus RZ 450e gets a sloping roofline and small ‘winglets’ to make the car as slippery through the air as possible. There is also a full-width light bar similar to the one used on the smaller Lexus NX crossover. Additionally, the Lexus RZ 450e utilises a gloss black panel on the C-pillar to create the illusion that the roof is floating. Entry-level models will sit on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, while higher-spec cars feature 20-inch alloys.
Within the cabin, the RZ 450e acquires extensive ambient lighting and a dimmable panoramic sunroof that can block infra-red radiation. A new addition is the ‘radiant’ heaters mounted at knee-level in front of the driver and passenger. This works in tandem with the sunroof to use recycled warmth to heat the interior, boosting efficiency by reducing the need for the traditional, electrically-powered heater.
Also, the new Lexus RZ 450e gets the brand’s latest infotainment system of a slick 14-inch touchscreen. This boasts digitised, physical climate controls and is supplemented by a fully-digital instrument cluster for the driver.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the RZ’s interior is the optional ‘yoke’ steering wheel. This butterfly-shaped wheel offers a more driver-focused experience. This comes as part of the ONE MOTION GRIP system, a steer-by-wire setup that allows for sharper turns at lower speeds with minimal steering input. Only a 150-degree turn of the wheel is needed to go from straight to full lock and offers more precise steering at high speeds.
Power comes from a pair of electric motors linked to a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery, which is expected to provide over 250 miles of range and offer 90% of its usable capacity after 10 years of usage.
Lexus packed a long list of technology into the RZ’s drivetrain, including an exciting feature called DIRECT4. It analyses data like the speed of each wheel and the steering angle to control each motor’s output to improve acceleration, range, and handling. The DIRECT4 will comprise of compact electric motors to power the four-wheel-drive powertrain – one with 201bhp at the front and another with 107bhp at the rear, giving combined outputs of 308bhp and 321lb ft.
New Lexus RZ 450e drivers can use the extensive Lexus Safety System +. This includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic headlamp high beam and a pre-collision warning. The system is also strengthened by a driver fatigue sensor and an enhanced blind-spot monitoring system, preventing passengers from opening the door into a passing cyclist or pedestrian.
Due in the UK at the end of 2022, make sure to keep an eye out for more information as the time grows nearer!
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