2023 Lexus RZ450e: An Enhanced Toyota bZ4X With 225 Mile Range

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By Car Brand Experts

Having joined the electric vehicle market through collaboration with Subaru on the bZ4X, the luxurious Japanese brand Lexus is introducing its first worldwide Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) called the 2023 Lexus RZ450e. Unlike Lexus’ initial electric vehicle, the UX 300e, this model will indeed be available in the U.S.

Key specifications include an all-wheel-drive electric crossover boasting an estimated driving range of 225 miles. While this figure is similar to the AWD bZ4X, it may seem underwhelming given that this vehicle was developed by the world’s largest automaker, with its vast resources and presumed expertise in electrified vehicle engineering. In comparison, the AWD Hyundai Ioniq 5 claims 256 miles, and the Tesla Model Y Long Range is estimated to reach 318 miles.

The RZ450e utilizes a novel dual-motor AWD system termed “Direct4”, comprising a 150-kW front motor and an 80-kW unit at the rear, totaling 308 horsepower. This setup is based on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform (the electric variant of Toyota’s New Global Architecture), featuring a 71.4-kWh battery, ample bracing, advanced welding techniques, MacPherson struts at the front, trailing arm double wishbones at the rear, and an innovation known as Frequency Reactive Dampers, designed to improve stability without compromising ride quality.

In terms of design, the RZ exhibits the signature style of a conventional Lexus crossover with an electric touch. Featuring a closed-off, EV interpretation of the iconic spindle grille, the RZ resembles a sportier version of a presumed future RX. Size-wise, the RZ is slightly shorter and lower than the RX (by around three inches), while sharing the same width. A two-tone paint scheme allows for a contrasting roof, hood, and grille section.

In a previous teaser, this vehicle showcased a yoke in place of a traditional steering wheel. This will be accompanied by Lexus’ new steer-by-wire system, which, though unavailable at the U.S. launch, is slated for future integration. The steer-by-wire system, with an approximate turning angle of 150 degrees, eliminates the need for hand-over-hand movements, even during U-turns and parking maneuvers—explaining the yoke’s presence. The yoke facilitates lower instrument placement and offers improved outward visibility.

visibility, whilst the steer-by-wire system of Lexus seems able to transmit road feedback to the hands electrically. The RZ is displayed with a classic, perfectly circular steering wheel in the provided press images, indicating that this will be the steering wheel at the car’s launch.

Introducing another first for Lexus, the RZ will utilize radiant heaters to keep the occupants’ knees warm while consuming less energy. Additionally, contributing to the eco-friendly nature of this crossover are seats partially crafted from ultrasuede, with 30 percent derived from bio-based sustainable materials.

Acoustic glass is implemented in the front and rear doors to reduce noise, and in line with the new EV trend, the RZ will include in-cabin speaker-generated acceleration sounds in place of the traditional combustion engine roar. The standard panoramic roof can be equipped with a dimming feature, while the same steering wheel controls and revamped 14-inch infotainment system have been adapted from the new NX and LX models. Onboard is the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, covering pre-collision warnings, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alerts, and an emergency driving stop system.

The RZ450e model for 2023 will go on sale towards the end of the year, marking the initial phase in a Lexus initiative to achieve a “full lineup” of available BEVs by 2030, eventually transitioning to an exclusively BEV lineup five years after.

If you have a tip or question for the author regarding the new Lexus RZ, you can contact him at: chris.tsui@thedrive.com

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