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A new age awaits as the premium Japanese carmaker gets itself ready with the fully-electric Lexus RZ SUV. Here's what you need to know about it.

16 Mar 2023

The all-electric Lexus RZ may not be the first EV in its lineup (think Lexus UX300e), but it's certainly part of the carmaker's bigger plans in terms of expansion, more so in the EV sphere. According to Lexus, it aims to offer a full range of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in all categories by 2030.

The Lexus RZ that you see here is essentially the full-electric version of the ever-popular Lexus RX SUV, and it was recently previewed at the 2023 Singapore Motor Show. Here's what you should know about it.

1. Dedicated electric platform

The Lexus RZ is based on the e-TNGA platform
The Lexus RZ may just be a full-electric version of the regular Lexus RX SUV to the casual observer, but what you should know is that the car was created as a pure EV from the ground up instead of converting it from an internal combustion engine (ICE) model. So while many will argue that the Lexus UX300e was the first all-electric model from the carmaker (which is true), the RZ is the first globally available dedicated BEV model from Lexus.

Hence, the RZ comes with a BEV-specific platform - the e-TNGA - as well as a lightweight and highly rigid body to allow for the optimal weight distribution with the battery and motor placement in mind.

2. Sharing similar battery pack from Toyota

The RZ carries the same battery pack as the bZ4X
Speaking of battery, the Lexus RZ450e rides on the same underpinnings as the Toyota bZ4X, which means that the all new Lexus electric SUV carries the same 71.4kWh battery as the Toyota. The other vehicle that sports a similar skeleton is the Subaru Solterra, as it was co-developed with the bZ4X.

This means the RZ450e is able to travel over 430km on a single charge, although our driving impressions of both the Lexus and the Toyota gave us a real-world figure of closer to 400km. It's still commendable, considering such a figure will last us approximately 10 days in Singapore before having to juice up the car again.

3. It's strong and smooth

The Lexus RZ is a smooth and strong operator
Apart from its respectable range, the Lexus RZ450e comes with a maximum power output of 308bhp (230kW), with torque figures of 266Nm and 168Nm being sent to the front and rear respectively. Hence, the 2.6-tonne electric SUV manages to cross the 100km/h mark from a standstill in just a scant 5.3 seconds. This is even faster than the iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI hot hatch and the lighter 3.0-litre V6 Porsche Cayenne.

But it isn't just about dispensing power in a neck-snapping manner, like how other electric vehicles do. Instead, there's a level of finesse and grandeur to the way the RZ450e ferries you from point to point that's hard to ignore.

4. Minimalistic, calm and classy

As expected, the cabin of the RZ is impressive
What's also hard to ignore, expectedly, is the Lexus' cabin. In here, everything is made to impress. Run your fingers around the cabin and you won't find anything that's made out of tacky materials nor will you find anything that's out of place.

More relevantly, you get a sound ergonomic layout that's minimalistic and straightforward - in a sense where you as the driver are able to operate everything from where you're seated without even having to take your eyes off the road.

5. Modern and useable features

Like the Toyota Harrier, the Lexus RZ comes with a dimmable panoramic sunroof
It's also in the cabin where you'll experience a wealth of modern and useable features that make it a whole lot easier to live with in Singapore. You get ventilated seats and rear air-con vents, which do help greatly in cooling the car down on a sunny day.

There's also the new 14-inch infotainment touchscreen system that first made its debut on the new Lexus NX, Also, like the Toyota Harrier, the Lexus RZ comes with a dimmable panoramic sunroof, where the glass can transform from nearly clear to a semi-opaque frost at the touch of a button. Very refreshing.

6. New steer-by-wire steering yoke

Ah... a lovely and direct steering wheel, this
With all things said, done and considered, my personal favourite has to be the all new steer-by-wire butterfly-shaped steering yoke. Not only is it a wonderfully-designed steering wheel, it is a joy to control it on the road.

For starters, it feels exceptionally natural - arguably as close as you can get to a good old steering wheel. Secondly, it's very communicative and direct, which is always a good thing since it allows you to have a good feel of everything on the tarmac.

Lastly, and most intriguingly of all, is that there isn't a need for your hands to cross one another at any point in time and at any given situation. That's because a full steering lock is about 150 degrees, give or take, and that's enough for you to perform a u-turn on the road.

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