There’s a party in electric town, and Lexus wants to join in with a dedicated model: the new RZ.
Unlike the recently launched UX300e, which takes an existing model and inserts an electric drivetrain into it, the RZ will be electric only and use a dedicated EV platform.
The RZ will ride on Toyota’s e-TNGA architecture, that means it will share a lot in common with the Toyota bZ4X due to arrive in Australia from late 2022.
While the Subaru Solterra is an almost straight facsimile of the bZ4X, the Lexus RZ promises to be a different beast.
The exterior, for one, is completely unique, and has styling that’s inspired by — but significantly toned down from — the LF-Z Electrified concept. The shark fin bisecting the LF-Z’s rear windscreen, for example, is a no show.
Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Spiros Fotinos, head of Lexus Europe, said the RZ has the packaging and body of a crossover, but will sit closer to ground.
The RZ’s sleek shape and lower ride height are because, he said, “the aerodynamics’ requirements are more important [in an EV] than for a more conventional product”.
Pascal Ruch, vice president of Lexus Europe, told Autocar the RZ will also have many under-the-skin changes so the Lexus will have “incredible cornering and roadholding”.
These include “lighter and more compact motors”, and a Direct4-branded variable four-wheel drive system that can instantly shift between front-, rear- and all-wheel drive as circumstances dictate.
For reference the bZ4X and Solterra are available with two drivetrain options with a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The single-motor front-wheel drive model has 150kW, a 0-100km/h time of 8.4 seconds, and a 530km range using the WLTP cycle. The dual-motor setup boasts 160kW, a quicker 7.7s 0-100km/h time, but a reduced range of 460km.
The Solterra and bZ4X support AC charging up to 6.6kW, and DC charging at up to 150kW.
Like the bZ4X and Solterra, the RZ is fitted with an electronic steer-by-system, which means there is no direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels.
In fact, the RZ may be offered with yoke-style setup instead of a traditional round steering wheel.
We’ll know more about the RZ, and hopefully see its interior, when it’s unveiled some time in 2022.