The SUV is based on an electric-TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) modular platform and has a lightweight and highly rigid body. It's the same base shared with the cheaper Toyota bZ4X electric car. And it also gets the same 71.4-kWh battery as the Toyota.
As the RZ 450e is still a prototype, Lexus did not reveal the final range but estimated it at 362km, which is not exceptional when compared with other luxury EVs that are approaching 500km or more.
Since the launch of the RX400h in 2005, Lexus has been electrifying its cars. The BEV system in the RZ 450e is an evolution of Lexus' hybrid development over the years.
Apart from a round steering wheel, the RZ will later introduce a yoke-style steering wheel as an option with steer-by-wire function. Straight out of the plant, the SUV will have DIRECT4 all-wheel drive system. That means it will have two electric motors, one on each axle. The front one makes 201hp and the rear 107hp. No combined output figure was given.
With no engine to cool, Lexus' famous spindle grille is replaced by a BEV Spindle Body which focuses on aerodynamic efficiency, optimised proportions, and style.
The minimalist cabin features a panoramic roof with dimming function, while passenger comfort is improved by a new heating system featuring a Lexus-first radiant heater. The dash is fitted with a digital meter cluster and a 14-inch infotainment screen.
Up front, the RZ rides atop MacPherson strut type suspension, while its rear uses a trailing arm double wishbone configuration. For the first time, Lexus uses Frequency Reactive Dampers (FRD), a frequency-sensitive absorber that alters the dampening force on the extension stroke in response to road surface frequency input. This enables a linear responses of steering, braking and acceleration operations.
The net effect is to offer the driver a tactile steering feel.
The RZ uses the latest Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 set of driving aids, including standard Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Emergency Driving Stop System.
"The RZ has been developed with the aim of creating a uniquely Lexus BEV that feels secure to ride in, is pleasing to the touch, and is exhilarating to drive," said Lexus chief engineer Takashi Watanabe.
"DIRECT4 achieves quick and linear response according to driver input. With the transition to BEV, we pursued a special design with functional simplicity featuring the evolution of the spindle grill to the new Lexus spindle body architecture and a cockpit space focusing on driver operation."
It will be heading to showrooms towards the end of 2022.
Watch the videos for more details.