The new Lexus RZ 450e is already in Spain, or at least the first of those who will arrive. A very special unit, still pre-series, that Lexus Spain has brought so that we can get to know it first. It is not the first electric Lexus (remember that it markets the UX 300e) but it is the first designed from scratch as an electric vehicle. And at Lexus they have turned to make a highly technological car, including a controversial “yoke” type steering wheel.
Until now, Lexus SUVs were characterized -among other things- by having an X in the name. However, the RZ changes that tradition with a Z that refers to ‘Zero Emissions’, or zero emissions in Spanish, due to its electric status. It is also the model that inaugurates the new era of Lexus, in which they will bet decisively on electric vehicles without neglecting hybrids or plug-in hybrids.
In terms of design, the new Lexus RZ 450e is an evolution of the language released in the NX. The entire front is now a “whole” with the arrowhead grille, which begins in the same windshield. The bodywork has the edges and straight lines that characterize the brand’s models; if you see it, you’ll quickly recognize it as a Lexus.
The side view has a high beltline, with a noticeably higher proportion of sheet metal than glass. The rear is probably the most groundbreaking part on an aesthetic level, or the most different, compared to other Lexus. A large compact block of straight lines, with horizontal pilots -with a LED light strip joining both pilots-. Instead of a traditional spoiler, the RZ 450e has a curious double “horn” above the rear glass that serves to reduce aerodynamic drag.
It measures 4.81 meters long, with a wheelbase of 2.85 meters. The body is 145 mm longer than an NX and has a 160 mm longer wheelbase, which translates into better use of interior space, which is closer to the RX (the older brother) than the NX. Regarding the trunk, Lexus speaks of “more than” 550 liters of cubic capacity, in the absence of announcing the definitive data.
But all of this recedes into the background (excuse me body designers) when you open the door and see the steering wheel ‘Steering Yoke’ that Lexus has placed its new electric, rectangular and rimless at the top. It is not the first to use such a design: Tesla debuted it in the Model S Plaid, not without controversy, by the way. In this case, Lexus goes one step further: the futuristic steering wheel design is accompanied by a steering by cable (steer-by-wire) no physical connection to the wheels. The complete turn of the steering wheel is 150º, less than half a turn.
Lexus ensures that this system is better in all driving conditions, something that a server wants to check whether it is true or not. However, the yoke-type steering wheel will be optional; As standard it comes with a conventional round steering wheel and a steering system with the typical mechanical steering column and its corresponding rack.
What is clear is that the steering wheel leaves full visibility for the instrument panel, and also improves forward visibility. Right at the top of the steering wheel (above the airbag hole) is a system of cameras that monitor the driver’s condition. It not only detects if you are tired, it is also capable of recognizing if you are handling the mobile. In such a case, the car sends an alert for the driver to return attention to the road.
The RZ 450e is the first Lexus no upholstery of animal origin, not even in option. In this case, the Japanese brand is committed to upholstery made with 30% biomaterials. However, the feeling inside remains high-quality, typical of Lexus. To the right of the steering wheel we have a large 14-inch touch screen, slightly oriented towards the driver, and the rotary control for gear change is located on the center console. There are also USB-C sockets everywhere.
The RZ is equipped with a panoramic roof with dimming function and radiant heating in the floor, which is 8% more efficient than conventional heating, according to Lexus. There is a good amount of space in all dimensions, although in the rear seats you are sitting with your knees very high. The car floor is too high, or the seat cushions are too low.
Technical data of the Lexus RZ 450e: battery, autonomy, weight and power
The Lexus RZ is built on the e-TNGA platform, which it shares with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, and is Lexus’ first electric car conceived from the ground up as an electric vehicle. It has two synchronous motors, one on each axle: the front motor has 204 hp (150 kW) and the rear motor 109 hp (80 kW). Together they offer 313 hp maximum power.
All Lexus RZs will come standard with Direct 4 all-wheel drive (Unlike the Toyota bZ4X, which will also be sold in front-wheel drive versions.) This system allows to distribute the traction on demand in each axle, from 100:0 (all the traction in front) to 0:100 (all the traction in the rear). The weight of the car is 2,294 kilos.
The battery has a capacity of 71.4 kWh and has been jointly developed with Panasonic. Lexus says that It will offer “more than” 400 kilometers of autonomy, a conservative a priori figure considering that the all-wheel drive Toyota bZ4X approves 470 kilometers. It has fast charging at 150 kW in direct current, which allows charging from 0 to 80% in 30 minutes, and supports 11 kW in three-phase alternating current. The RZ450e has two charging sockets, one on each side of the car, and in each of them there are outlets for both direct and alternating current.
Lexus RZ 450e prices in Spain
The range of the Lexus RZ 450e in Spain is made up of one engine and three finishes: Business, Executive and Luxury. The price of the RZ 450e starts at 73,000 euros, being positioned halfway between the NX and the RX. The full range is as follows:
- RZ 450e Business: 73,000 euros
- RZ 450e Executive: 78,500 euros
- RZ 450e Luxury: 85,400 euros
The optional package with the yoke-type steering wheel and cable steering, called ‘One Motion Grip’, can only be chosen in the two superior finishes. In the Executive finish it costs 4,200 euros and includes Head-up Display, ‘Tazuna’ instrument panel and heated steering wheel and rear seats. In the Luxury finish, the cable steering with the yoke-type steering wheel costs 2,400 euros (the other elements of the previous package come as standard).
When does he arrive in Spain?
Lexus is already accepting orders for its new electric SUV. The first units of the Lexus RZ 450e will reach Spanish customers by the end of the yearbetween November and December.