Lexus RZ 450e teased ahead of imminent reveal

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lexus rz 450e teaser

The Lexus RZ 450e is an all-electric SUV, sharing underpinnings with the Toyota bZ4X.

We’ve already seen the upcoming RZ in prototype guise but now Lexus has given us our best look yet at the production version of its RZ 450e with this teaser image.

The Lexus RZ 450e is the firm’s first ground-up electric vehicle and it will be fully revealed on 20 April at 20:00 AEST via a “global event” broadcast online. The new teaser image confirms the rear of the car will virtually look identical to the prototype car we saw earlier this year.

Based on the same e-TNGA platform as the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra, the Lexus RZ 450e looks similar in size and shape to its siblings, but there are some exterior design differences when you pay closer attention. The rear gains a slightly more aggressive diffuser and a pair of winglets atop the tailgate. There’s also an extra ducktail spoiler mounted on the edge of that tailgate, while the heavy plastic cladding around the Toyota’s wheel arches and bumpers has been toned down to give a cleaner, more premium appearance.

The full-width rear light bar seen on other Lexus models such as the UX sits underneath Lexus lettering rather than the Lexus badge.

Lexus RZ 2

Lexus has kept the RZ’s cabin tightly under wraps, but the company did release a short teaser video which showed the company’s president, Koji Sato, being driven around a test track in a prototype RZ by Akio Toyoda.

While the video didn’t show a great deal of the RZ’s interior, it was possible to see that the Lexus appears to have the same layout as the bZ4X, sharing the same high centre console and five-seat configuration. The Subaru Solterra doesn’t have many changes over the bZ4X, and we expect Lexus will adopt the same strategy, meaning the infotainment system should remain, too.

The RZ will also come with DIRECT4, an all-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.”

Other technical innovations will include 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.

In theory, this also 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 conventional wheel. However, the firm’s European boss told Automotive Daily that a more traditional wheel design is likely to be offered as an alternative.

Lexus hasn’t yet confirmed pricing information for the pure-electric RZ but, since it is roughly the same length as the hybrid RX, expect the new arrival to be pitched at the top end of Lexus’ SUV structure.

Alastair Crooks

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