The Lexus RZ 450e is an all-new battery electric SUV, the first Lexus electric vehicle to be developed from the ground up on a dedicated new electric vehicle platform.
The RZ 450e features a 71.4kW lithium-ion battery which Lexus expects will be able to cover more than 250 miles in the combined WLTP cycle.
The Lexus RZ 450e has all-wheel drive thanks to a front electric motor producing 201 bhp and a rear electric motor producing 107 bhp – Lexus calculates the total power output to be 309 bhp, with 435 Nm of torque. This results in a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 99 mph.
The RZ has a target consumption of below 18kW per 100km (62 miles) driven, which Lexus claims makes the RZ one of the most efficient BEVs on the market. As well as ECO mode, there’s also a Range mode to help maximise range. And Lexus expects the RZ’s battery to retain more than 90% of its capacity after 10 years of driving.
The RZ is the first production model to feature Lexus’s new DIRECT 4 all-wheel drive control system, working with its two e-Axles. DIRECT4, an exclusive Lexus technology, is an intelligent system that constantly balances the traction of all four wheels, automatically distributing drive force.
DIRECT4 uses ECU sensors to collect, evaluate and react to a range of factors, including vehicle speed, steering angle, and G forces. From these inputs, it calculates and immediately applies the appropriate drive torque to each e-Axle to maximise grip and traction. The front/rear torque bias can be adjusted from zero to 100 or 100 to zero in milliseconds – faster than any mechanical system. With better communication between the road and steering wheel, DIRECT4 also improves steering response.
Lexus says that the One Motion Grip steer-by-wire system is one of the most significant new technologies featured in the RZ. There is no mechanical link and no conventional steering column; instead, an electrical connection is used to send inputs from the steering wheel and the wheels. The result is claimed to be instant response and more precise steering control, and the driver will also notice less steering wheel sway when travelling over rough roads; stable control and correction in strong crosswinds; and excellent straight-line performance on angled surfaces.
The optional One Motion Grip system comes with a new steering yoke, replacing the traditional steering wheel. The technology requires less steering effort from the driver: with only a 150-degree turn of the yoke needed to move from straight ahead to left or right lock, there is no need for hand-over-hand turns. The yoke’s “butterfly” shape allows the driver to gain a more open view of the instrument binnacle and road ahead.
The optional One Motion Grip steer-by-wire system with steering yoke is a world-first and will be available in the UK during 2023.
There’s also an optional panoramic roof with glass that has a low-e (low-emissive) coating which reflects infra-red radiation and reduces radiant heat on sunny days, while helping keep heat inside the cabin when the weather is cold. The roof also has an electric dimming function, which instantly switches from transparent to opaque with a simple touch control, cutting out any direct sunlight.
As a result, there’s less need to use the air conditioning system to maintain a comfortable temperature and there is no need for a retracting sunshade, which saves weight – factors that reduce the RZ’s energy use and help maintain its driving range.
New radiant heaters are positioned at knee-level in front of the driver and front passenger, beneath the steering column and lower instrument panel. Provided in addition to seat heaters and a heated steering wheel, they help speed up warming of the driver and front passenger, creating the feeling of a warm blanket around the legs. Just as with the panoramic roof, they help save energy, reducing the load on the air conditioning system.
Safety features include Lexus’s Safe Exit Assist which prevents door opening into the path of vehicles and cyclists approaching from the rear.
The new model will be available for UK and European customers to reserve as from 20 April, ahead of the first vehicle deliveries from the end of 2022.
The RZ is the next step in Lexus’s move towards becoming a 100 per cent BEV brand in Western and Central Europe by 2030.