With the Lexus RZ 450e, the manufacturer has presented an electric car developed from scratch. The fully electric SUV features a futuristic design and also wants to score in terms of functions and driving characteristics. We have summarized all the info.
Lexus RZ 450e in detail
The all-electric Lexus RZ 450e is said to offer all the qualities in terms of performance and craftsmanship that you would expect from the brand. At the same time, however, some exciting innovations have been incorporated.
For example, the RZ 450e relies on a “one-motion grip” yoke steering wheel and steer-by-wire steering, which features no direct mechanical connection to the wheels. Unlike the similar counterpart used in the Tesla Model S, however, the system is purely optional in Lexus.
With the steer-by-wire system, the driver’s input is transmitted from the steering wheel to the wheels via an electric control system, which the manufacturer claims provides instant response and more precise steering control. It is also said to reduce vibration when driving over rough roads, while strong crosswinds have less effect on steering than with an ordinary system.
There is also a failsafe for the processors and a backup power supply should the system lose its main power supply. The Yoke steering wheel is also said to require less steering effort. Only a 150-degree turn is required from the center position to the left or right stop, and hand overreach is no longer necessary.
At the same time, the steering wheel’s shape allows a better view of the instruments and the road. To achieve this, the displays have also been placed higher and further away than would be possible with a conventional steering wheel. This reduces eye movement and helps keep the driver’s attention on the road.
The optimized layout of the instruments, head-up display and 14-inch multimedia display, as well as the lowered instrument panel, improve forward visibility. Otherwise, the Lexus RZ 450e’s interior opts for a minimalist look complete with high-quality materials.
The interior is designed as a bright and open space, which is further enhanced by atmospheric ambient lighting. Here, different colors can be selected for the interior lighting. Thanks to a newly developed lighting effect, even light and shadow patterns can be used to create different effects on the door panels.
These are joined by an optional dimmable panoramic roof with a special coating to reduce heat radiation and a radiant heating system for the interior. The new radiant heaters are located at knee height in front of the driver and front passenger under the steering column and lower instrument panel. In addition to the heated seats and heated steering wheel, they help the interior warm up more quickly and wrap the heat around the legs like a blanket.
Multimedia and safety
Also in use is the Lexus Smart Connect multimedia platform, which comes with a variety of intuitive features. These include cloud-based online navigation, voice recognition including a new “Hey Lexus” assistant and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The DCM (data communication module) enables convenient “over-the-air” updating or expansion of functions without interrupting the use of the vehicle. Additional safety is also provided by third-generation Lexus Safety System + safety and driver assistance systems. Making their debut are Proactive Driving Assist with Steering Assist and a new monitor that checks driving behavior for signs of drowsiness or distraction. The driving assistant uses the front camera to determine the angle of curves and adjusts the steering accordingly when starting and turning.
This is joined by an E-Latch system with Safe Exit Assist, which provides smooth automatic door opening while keeping an eye on blind spots. If cyclists or other road users are detected, the doors are prevented from unlocking. Lexus claims this can prevent up to 95 percent of accidents caused by opening vehicle doors.
An optionally available digital rearview mirror also provides a view to the rear that is not obstructed by headrests or luggage.
230 kW power
The Lexus RZ 450e relies on all-wheel drive, using the new E-Axle drive technology. This allows traction and power distribution to be adapted to the prevailing driving conditions thanks to DIRECT4 all-wheel drive control.
DIRECT4 uses ECU sensors to record and evaluate factors such as vehicle speed, steering angle and G-forces. From this data, it calculates the appropriate drive torque for each E-axle. Torque distribution between the front and rear axles can be adjusted within milliseconds in the range between 0:100 and 100:0.
The E-SUV is powered by a 150 kW electric motor in the front, and an 80 kW motor in the rear, resulting in a total output of 230 kW. The wheelbase is 2,850 mm, and the RZ 450e relies on 18-inch wheels as standard, which can be increased to up to 20 inches with the Luxury package.
According to the manufacturer, the RZ is built on a new, specially developed vehicle platform. It uses a lithium-ion battery with 96 cells and a capacity of 71.4 kW, which is installed in the vehicle floor. It is said to be particularly durable and to still have more than 90 percent of its capacity after ten years. Lexus plans to announce details on range and charging times at a later date. In the combined WLTP cycle, the e-car should be able to cover more than 400 km per battery charge.
Prices and availability
Homologation of the Lexus RZ 450e has not yet been completed. Nevertheless, the new e-car should be available for reservation in Germany from April 20 on the Lexus homepage. Delivery of the first vehicles is then scheduled to begin in January 2023. Lexus has not yet revealed details on prices.