Lexus RZ All-Electric SUV Promises 225 Mile Range And A Weird Yoke Wheel

Lexus has introduced the 2023 RZ 450e SUV, the brand's debut Battery EV (BEV) that marks its first foray into the dedicated electric car segment. The latest Lexus offering takes inspiration from the 2023 Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra, but it adds a healthy dash of new tech and luxury accouterments into the mix. too. The newly developed high-output electronic axle (eAxle) system includes a 150kW front motor and an 80kW rear unit. The 71.4kWh battery fitted inside the electric SUV is touted to offer a range of up to 225 miles, which falls in the same ballpark as the less-luxurious Toyota sibling it shares its DNA with. However, Lexus has also made a controversial choice for its first purpose-built EV.

The Lexus RZ will come with a yoke-style steering wheel linked to the new and exclusive Steer by Wire system. Tesla has already experimented with the yoke steering design, but it received a less than stellar reception. The model with the Steer by Wire system is coming to the US "at a future date," and aside from the odd steering wheel design, it will also have a lowered instrument meter to improve driver engagement and boost awareness of one's surroundings. The new steering system eschews mechanical linkage between the steering and wheel in favor of an electrical signal relay. Lexus claims that Steer by Wire negates non-essential vibrations from the tires and brakes, thereby communicating only crucial data such as road information to the steering system.

A luxurious avatar of Toyota bZ4X

The Lexus RZ also employs the DIRECT4 dual-electric-motor, an all-wheel-drive powertrain that is touted to boost start-up acceleration, improve handling stability, and reduce power consumption. Moreover, the new eAxle system integrates the inverter, motor, and transaxle into a single unit to increase the space available for cargo. It is based on the e-TNGA platform, a Lexus-first electric vehicle platform that was developed in collaboration with Toyota and Subaru. Coming to aesthetics, Lexus has adopted what it calls a "spindle body" design with a low hood and a minimal front grille opening, which has a shutter that opens and closes based on cooling requirements to tone down air resistance.

Slated to go on sale by the end of 2022, the Lexus RZ also brings the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 to the table, which offers driving aids such as a Pre-Collision System that sends an alert if the driver is distracted in order to avoid an accident. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control employs automatic braking based on driver attentiveness and distance from a nearby vehicle. The Lane Departure Alert enables steering assist, while the Emergency Driving Stop System flashes hazard lamps if the driver is deemed too unstable to continue driving, and automatically decelerates the car in the same lane. Buyers will get to choose between three interior color options, as well: Orange, Palomino, and Dapple Gray/Black. The company hasn't revealed the pricing for its new Lexus RZ, but more details will surface as the market arrival inches closer.