Lexus RZ will be firm’s first bespoke electric car

All-electric Lexus RZ will use the same platform as the Toyota bZ4x


Lexus has confirmed that its first bespoke electric vehicle will be called the RZ – and issued a trio of teasers that show how closely the new model will stick to the look previewed by the LF-Z concept earlier this year.

The RZ will use the same e-TNGA underpinnings as the recently announced Toyota bZ4X, although it’s likely to feature a longer wheelbase and, as a result, a larger battery pack. The teasers show that it is likely to retain much of the LF-Z’s dramatic side profile, with a rear-biased cabin layout, an aggressive roofline and a relatively long bonnet that should, in theory, accommodate some sort of additional luggage capacity. 

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Lexus’s first standalone EV will get a couple of key technology differentiators to set it apart from its Toyota relation. It will be available with DIRECT4, a four-wheel drive system that constantly monitors the drive force to the wheels and adjusts it based on throttle and steering inputs, as well as road conditions. Lexus says the technology can allow the RZ to shift “from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive and everything in between, in the blink of an eye”.

The RZ will also feature steer-by-wire technology, which removes the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. Lexus claims that this set-up improves steering response to help maximise the benefits of DIRECT4, and allows the driver to perform U-turns with inputs of just 150 degrees.

It also, in theory, means that the car won’t have to be offered with a conventional round wheel, and Lexus is already referencing a yoke mechanism that allows the instruments to be seen without peering through a wheel. However, the firm’s European boss told Auto Express that a more traditional wheel design is likely to be offered as an alternative.

The Lexus RZ will be launched in the first half of 2022. There’s no word yet on pricing but since it is roughly the same length as the hybrid RX, expect the new arrival to be pitched at the top end of the firm’s SUV structure, with a starting figure of at least £50,000.

Check out our thoughts on the all-electric Lexus UX 300e here…

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