- The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is on sale now in the US and has a traditional steering wheel, but comes with a butterfly-style steer-by-wire yoke.
- A 150kW front motor and an 80kW rear motor draw power from a 71.4kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 308hp.
- RZ may be eligible for federal tax credit if leased. According to Lexus, customers don’t get credit, but financial companies must get credit and technically pass it on to their customers.
As the market for all-electric crossovers expands, it is not easy for automakers to find unique selling attributes that set them apart from premium competition. We have the Mercedes-Benz EQB, BMW iX, Cadillac Lyric, Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Volvo XC40 Recharge, all chasing the Tesla Model Y. More EVs are coming.
The comfortable experience of these models is about the same. A quiet, smooth ride with lots of torque and an upscale, spacious interior with cargo holds. A key differentiator for shoppers is estimated range, along with the convenience and availability of local charging options.
Lexus has another slightly radical idea that could spark demand among young, aspiring drivers who grew up on racing cars virtually through video games. Lexus’ first all-electric crossover, his 2023 five-seat RZ 450e is also the brand’s first vehicle to offer steer-by-his wires. There is no steering column or physical linkage to transfer steering input to the rotating rack and pinion assembly. Wheel.
The Japanese luxury brand has gone a step further, replacing the steering wheel with a butterfly yoke (although Lexus is trying to find a better name).
Based on recent test drives in Europe, this new technology completely upends the handling dynamics of a segment known for conservative driving.
But Lexus smartly launched the RZ 450e with a conventional steering and round wheels first, with a small enthusiastic crowd interested in the steer-by-wire yoke offered in the US after engineers have baked the tech in full. is expected to
For context, a steering wheel with a conventional electric power steering system makes almost 3 turns in RZ. An old classic cruiser with loose steering can handle about 4 turns. With steer-by-wire, the RZ’s butterfly yoke can’t turn even one turn. Lock-to-lock requires the yoke to move only 150 degrees in each direction. This seems to work well on the highway with minimal steering input.
However, when attempting a U-turn, a 90-degree right turn at an intersection, or a 3-point turn that requires a shift into reverse, this is the most disconcerting maneuver and may feel like you’ve never driven a car before. yeah.
But you don’t have to stick to steer-by-wire. With or without funky steering, the RZ 450e is a very capable, comfortable and stylish EV. However, the observed energy efficiency was a bit disappointing.
The RZ fits nicely into Lexus’ crossover portfolio, being larger than the UX and NX and smaller than the RX. While other models run on petrol engines or hybrid configurations, the RZ is the only BEV, but basically all four share the same general design language, with steeper windshields and a liftgate for a premium look. It contributes to the sporty atmosphere. Lexus plans to produce only battery electric vehicles by 2035.
The controversial Lexus grille is the most differentiated, with the UX and NX sticking to an angry, angular Predator-style “spindle grille,” while the new RX and RZ toned down this visual element. I’m here.
The RZ doesn’t need the same open-air front-end cooling for the radiators, so the design team came up with the “spindle body.” That is, the trapezoidal shape is the same, but is instead made of body-colored fascia. I consider it an improvement. The RZ also has an optional illuminated Lexus logo between the headlamps.
With steer-by-wire getting the most attention, it’s easy to overlook the powertrain. This is mainly because it performed exactly like a modern BEV during our test drive. Acceleration is quick and smooth, as there is no CVT or traditional step-gear transmission. Thanks to a 150 kW front axle motor and an 80 kW motor propelling the rear using power from a liquid-cooled 71.4 kWh Li-Ion battery pack housed under the floor and supplied by Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, Almost silent.
With 308 hp and an EPA-estimated range of 220 miles, the all-wheel-drive RZ 450e hits 60 mph in 5.0 seconds and has a top speed of 99 mph, making it perfect for casual suburban driving, according to Lexus. The heaviest version of the RZ comes in luxury trim that tipped the scales at 4619 pounds.
This 355-volt electrical system is part of Toyota’s new e-TNGA platform dedicated to EVs, capable of 240-volt Level 2 charging in 9.5 hours. Lexus says. A standard 120 volt wall outlet in your garage will take more than two days to completely drain the battery.
I didn’t have to worry about charging during the day driving through the rolling hills (and occasional highways) of the south of France in cool temperatures. The car was not charged during the lunch break. On each leg of the test drive, the RZ managed efficiency ratings between 18.1 and 23.1 kWh per 100 km. This equates to 3.4 to 2.7 miles per kWh.
Modern EVs such as the Hyundai Ioniq 6, Lucid Air and Tesla Model 3 break the threshold of 4 miles per kWh in observed efficiency, and we expected similar performance to Lexus’ first EV. . The smaller (and much older) Chevy Bolt can easily exceed 3.5 miles per kWh. However, this level of efficiency for the RZ seems to be in line with the popular Tesla Model Y, which is similar in size.
Also, if you like one-pedal driving (stopping just by releasing the accelerator) with the new EV, you can’t do it with the Lexus RZ. The product development team decided that it would be better to keep the driver focused on stopping the vehicle while allowing the steering paddles on his wheels to adjust the level of regenerative braking.
Familiar drive modes (Normal, Eco, Sport, Custom) are available to suit your mood, but the RZ adds a new range mode that turns off climate control, increasing range compared to Eco. It is estimated to be about 5% longer.
With a more conventional steering wheel than a butterfly yoke, the RZ’s interior also looks and feels like a stable companion to the Lexus crossover.
The 14-inch touchscreen display is easy to navigate, and wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play come standard. There are no gloveboxes, but there are radiant heaters to warm the front row feet, and at night the door panels illuminate with a unique light pattern called ‘Shadow Illumination’. There are two of his bio-based upholstery in NuLuxe and Ultrasuede.
The marketing team identifies the target demographic as highly educated urban/suburban professionals with a household income of at least $175,000 who are either Lexus enthusiasts or are switching from a Toyota vehicle.
Lexus doesn’t offer big discounts on home installation of vehicle chargers, but the brand does offer a dedicated phone line for RZ customers, which lasts three years from the date of purchase and 30 days on another Lexus vehicle. We offer free reservations for
Lexus plans to sell 4,900 RZs across the United States this year, out of 30,000 sold worldwide. China is expected to become the largest market for automobiles. The RZ, which goes on sale this month, is assembled in Motomachi, Japan, so if you purchase the vehicle, it is not eligible for federal IRA incentives in the United States.
However, you may be eligible for leasing. Lexus says customers don’t get tax credits, but financial companies do, and technically have to pass them on to their customers. Savvy customers looking to save money need to ensure that their finance company is following them.
The vehicle is currently being unloaded at the port of Los Angeles and is being shipped across the United States. This means that the first customers will be delivered in the coming weeks.
Pricing starts at $59,650 (includes $1150 toll) in premium trim with 18″ wheels (220 miles of range) and goes up to $60,890 in premium trim with 20″ rims (196 miles of range) . Topping the line is the $65,150 Luxury trim.
As for the steer-by-wire yoke option price, we’ll have to wait until the US copy of the RZ can offer some wild tech.
Lexus saved RZPrice Moderately moderate by choosing a smaller battery rated for a range of 220 miles in the US. Are you in favor of that strategy? Please comment below.