The new Lexus RZ 450e is the Japanese marque’s first bespoke electric car, serving as the spearhead for the firm’s new range of premium and dynamically oriented EVs.
Due in the UK at the end of 2022, it is a similar size to the best-selling Lexus NX, but bosses are keen to emphasise that it is not intended as an electric successor to – or replacement for – that car, which only recently entered its second generation and gained a plug-in hybrid option.
It will no doubt command a premium over its combustion-fuelled NX sibling, but Lexus’s Europe boss, Spiros Fotinos, would only go so far as to confirm the brand is considering the cost of “other BEV relevant vehicles” in this segment when determining pricing.
It is based on the same e-TNGA EV architecture as the new Toyota bZ4X SUV and the closely related Subaru Solterra but places a more overt emphasis on premium appeal and performance – giving clues as to how Lexus EVs will be marked out from other vehicles that share their architecture.
The overall look of the new SUV also gives a strong indication of Lexus's design vision for an all-electric future. Links to its current models are evident in its silhouette and defining cues, but many elements have been reimagined to mark this out as the first in a new line of products. Lexus previously gave a glimpse of this new EV family late last year, showing new concepts for a large SUV, saloon and supercar alongside the RZ 450e.
Most obvious is the front end, where Lexus's trademark 'spindle grille' makes way for a more minimalist, flush front end that references the current design in its shape but is said to express "the BEV's powerful character and seamless acceleration".
Lexus calls the new design language 'Spindle Body' and highlights the lower bonnet, reduced number of air intakes and more muscular wings as defining elements. Power is stored in a 71.4kWh lithium ion battery, which, like that used by the bZ4X, is expected to offer more than 250 miles of range and offer 90% of its usable capacity after 10 years of use. The company has not yet confirmed charging times, but its Toyota sibling can charge at speeds of up to 150kW.