What To Expect From The Upcoming Luxury EV 2023 Lexus RZ
The new electric Lexus RZ 2023 SUV is set to debut next year.
The Lexus RZ 2023 will be the brand’s first global all-electric SUV, sharing the e-TNGA platform with the Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra.
The RZ, which is expected to arrive in the United States at the end of 2022, will be the first vehicle in a new chapter for Lexus.
The company intends to sell only electric vehicles in North America, Europe, and China by 2030, and the rest of the world by 2035.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda revealed the exterior design of the RZ 450e during a massive press conference in Japan.
He also shared Toyota’s electrification plans and the bZ electric sub-electrification brand’s plans, as well as a few of the electric concepts Lexus is working on for its electric future.
LF-Z Electrified Confronts RZ
The Lexus RZ concept was previewed by the LF-Z Electrified, an electric SUV with a futuristic design language and several new Lexus technologies. While the RZ’s design is more restrained than the LF- Z’s, we can see some of the LF-swift Z’s character lines on the side making their way to the RZ. The RZ’s signature boomerang lights aren’t as sharp as the Lexus’, but the spindle grille is nearly identical except for the middle aperture and side dots.
The RZ’s swift roofline and long tailgate were inspired by the LF-Z, though the production version’s taillights had a less dramatic effect.
See Also: Instagram Comedian Oluwadolarz Gets Mercedes GLE SUV, Weeks After Crashing His Lexus In Lekki
The LFZ also hinted at two new technologies for the RZ: Direct4 and steer-by-wire. We spoke with Brian Bolain, Lexus’ global head of marketing, about these technologies at the Design Miami/ fair, where Lexus collaborated with artist Germane Barnes to create ON/, a one-to-one sculpture of the LF-Z Electrified Concept rendered in steel and suspended from wires.
Direct4 is a torque vectoring all-wheel drive system that can send torque to each wheel independently depending on the driving conditions, whereas steer-by-wire will consider how far and how quickly the wheel is turned for a better assessment of the driver’s intentions.
“The benefit is that the customer gets what they expect—small steering input, small steering output, small braking, small braking. It’s not something that has been artificially engineered to feel nimble by creating a large output from a small input,” Bolain said.
There’s no word on whether the RZ will offer a yoke steering wheel like the bZ4x, and LF-Z Electrified, but Bolain told us Lexus opted for a “warm” cabin experience, where the learning curves are almost nonexistent, and customers are familiar with the cabin.
Differentiating From The BZ4x
Besides its size, Direct4 and the steer-by-wire system, the RZ will have a different in-cabin experience than the bZ4x. Like we’ve seen with all Lexus products, the craftmanship is hugely noted in Lexus’ interiors, and the RZ won’t be the exception. Although Bolain didn’t give any details about the RZ’s cabin, he did say customers must feel the upgrade in a Lexus.
“The places where we have to remain different are in the materials, the stitching, the trims, the finish work. That’s our chance to elevate, adding higher strength steel so the rigidity is higher than a Toyota, those are the places that translates to a tactile experience,” he said.
We’ve yet to learn about the RZ 450e powertrain. Although Direct4 is meant to be used with two electric motors (one for the front axle and one for the rear), Lexus has stayed tight lipped on horsepower. But, if we use the NX as an example, there are key differences with the RAV4—including a new powertrain. Although a bigger battery in the RZ probably won’t happen, we hope it offers more than the 215 hp that the bZ4x offers.