Lexus RZ electric car to launch next year

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

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

Shown in near-production-ready form as Toyota and Lexus unwrapped 15 all-new electric cars, it is based on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform but with bespoke modifications aimed at taking “the driving experience to the next level”. It is a similar size – and is a close visual relation – to the existing NX crossover.

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”.

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.

As previewed by the LF-Z Electrified concept, the RZ adopts recognisably SUV-like proportions but, like its Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra siblings, sits closer to the ground. It also carries 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.

Felix Page

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