The yoke is on them.
The upcoming Lexus RZ450e has been teased ahead of its April 20 unveiling, and a photo of the interior shows it will use the controversial steering fork.
However, this is not the first electric car from Lexus – this title belongs to the small ones UX300ebased on the UX series with a combustion engine.
Except for the polarizing label, the salon will seem familiar to the owners of the novelty NX with a similarly shaped dashboard and other details typical of a petrol/hybrid mid-size SUV.
These include a center console angled towards the driver with a large touchscreen that runs Lexus’ next-generation infotainment system, as well as a center console with square cup holders and a gloss black panel surrounding the gear lever.
Another familiar Lexus feature is the dashboard, which features a single circular dial in the center.
The exterior teaser released by Lexus is less revealing, but the company has already released a series of images earlier this year shows the RZ looking production ready.
As with the interior, the RZ’s exterior bears a strong family resemblance to other Lexus models.
In particular, the slight rise of the belt line on the C-pillar seems to pay homage RXand the RZ has an improved version of that car’s floating roof.
It also has a steeper tail and sits lower to the ground for improved aerodynamics.
As with all recent Lexus models, the corporate logo has been replaced by Lexus lettering on the tailgate, while there is full-width lighting.
Although there is no vent, the spindle-shaped surface on the RZ’s front fascia links it to the rest of the Lexus lineup.
The RZ will be available with the new Direct4 all-wheel drive system.
At a European event in early December 2021, Lexus Europe chief Pascal Ruch said the RZ will have a different character to the bZ4X and Solterra, with the Direct4 able to “instantly switch between front, rear and all-wheel drive when the situation calls for it. ” so the RZ will have “incredible cornering and road holding”.
Speaking to Koji Sato, president of Lexus, while driving the new RZ, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda noted that “although I can feel the contact with the 4 wheels… this car feels a little heavy.”
Those thoughts vanished as Toyoda-san pressed the accelerator pedal to the floor.
The CEO then exclaimed, “Now I see a whole new side to this machine!”
Details of the RZ450e’s powertrain have yet to be revealed, but it’s possible it will be bolder than the twin 160kW engines available in the bZ4X and Solterra.
The AWD bZ4X and Solterra boast a 0-100km/h time of 7.7s and a range of 460km from a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Both Solterra and bZ4X support AC charging up to 6.6kW and DC charging up to 150kW.
Lexus has teased a number of electric vehicles over the past few months, including the successor to the LFA supercar, a mid-size sports sedan that could be the successor THERE ISand a large three-line crossover.
Lexus plans to stop producing cars with internal combustion engines by 2035. In some markets, it will completely switch to electric cars as early as 2030.
Until then, Lexus Australia wants 80 per cent of sales to come from vehicles with hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or electric (BEV) powertrains by 2025, leaving petrol-only offerings in the minority.
This is well above the record hybrid share of 39 percent achieved in 2021.
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