2022 Lexus RZ is a performance electric SUV

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99 lexus rz teaser side

Brand’s first bespoke electric car gets a new name as it’s confirmed for a 2022 launch.

The first bespoke Lexus electric car, launching in the first half of 2022, will be a sleek, performance-oriented SUV called the RZ.

Officially previewed as part of the Toyota and Lexus annual Kenshiki forum, it is based on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform but with bespoke modifications aimed at taking “the driving experience to the next level”.

The brand’s Europe vice president, Pascal Ruch, told us that a priority for Lexus is offering “exhilarating driving performance” and hinted that it will offer variants of future EVs that “support the sporty position of the brand”.

The RZ will have fully variable four-wheel drive and steer-by-wire technology, and promises “incredible cornering and roadholding”.

98 lexus rz teaser rear

Bespoke modifications – including “lighter and more compact motors”, increased body rigidity and Lexus’s own Direct4 fully variable four-wheel-drive technology – are aimed at providing “an engaging and rewarding on-road driving experience”.

The Direct4 system allows the RZ to apportion power delivery across both axles “in the blink of an eye”, essentially switching instantly between front-, rear- and all-wheel drive as the situation requires. Lexus will employ this set-up on all future bespoke EVs, suggesting each will use a twin-motor set-up.

Preview images indicate that the styling will be inspired by the radical LF-Z Electrified concept revealed earlier this year.

97 lexus rz teaser lights

As such, it is likely to adopt recognisably SUV-like proportions but, like its Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra siblings, will sit closer to the ground. It will also carry forward a number of new design cues seen for the first time on that concept.

The concept’s slim rear light bar and spelled-out brand name are among the features likely to define Lexus’s bespoke EVs, for example, but already it is clear that the LF-Z’s prominent roof fin will not make it to production.

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