(Aix-en-Provence, France) First of the electric rope at Lexus, the RZ450e demonstrates that it is more than a gentrified Toyota bZ4X.
There is a beginning to everything
Lexus will pave the way for the complete electrification of the Toyota group, assures its new president. The RZ450e therefore becomes the mascot of a firm that has pledged to stop shipping combustion engines to European, North American and Chinese markets from 2030. But until then, Lexus has a lot to do. to keep up with the competition.
Next month, Toyota will have a new president and CEO, Koji Sato. The latter will succeed Akio Toyoda who, during his mandate, hammered home more than once that the turn towards “watture” was being negotiated too quickly. For him, this forced transition does not take into account in particular those countries which produce their electricity with fossil fuels. Even less of consumers’ ability to pay because of the tariffs charged. Koji Sato’s speech is more nuanced. He believes that “the time has now come” for the world’s leading car manufacturer to unpack its offer of 100% electric vehicles.
After Toyota (bZ4X), the turn of its luxury subsidiary to introduce its first battery-powered model: the RZ450e. The latter, which begins a commercial career in a few weeks in Quebec and British Columbia (the other provinces will have access to it later), is available in three versions: Signature, Luxury and Executive. None of them qualifies for a government grant. Unlike a number of its competitors, Martin Gilbert, director of the brand in Canada, has no intention of cutting comfort or safety equipment. “For our part, we intend to remain faithful to our DNA and our positioning on the market”, says Mr. Gilbert. According to him, the tolerance for high prices, imposed by batteries, would be greater among consumers of luxury vehicles.
Built on the same architecture as Toyota’s bZ4X, this Lexus has several notable distinctions. First, the RZ450e adopts a four-wheel drive mode as standard. In a second, the power of its electric motors (there is one on each axle) produces 50% more power than those responsible for moving the Toyota. However, the net battery capacity remains the same (71 kWh). Finally, its increased exterior dimensions (length and width) mainly favor the utility volume which, on this Lexus, compares favorably to that of its rivals.
One might have feared that Lexus would limit itself to covering the hard and sometimes too shiny plastics of the bZ4x to decorate the interior of the RZ450e. It is not so. The dashboard, for example, integrates the infotainment screen in its center rather than stapling it there. Several cheap controls have been replaced (the front door pulls, for example) by others, more sophisticated, more refined.
The front seats are comfortable. Those in the back too, except that you have to be wary of the arc of the roof (the Lexus is lower than the Toyota) when entering or leaving the back seat.
The element that strikes the most before even getting behind the wheel of this Lexus is the significant impact of the tires on performance. Fitted with 20-inch rubbers, the Luxury or Executive versions result in higher energy consumption. Therefore, and considering how much autonomy is often THE differentiating factor between electric vehicles, the entry-level model (Signature) appears to be the greenest choice if not the most luxurious.
At its controls, this Lexus drives smoothly, without the slightest vibration. The front axle shows a slight laziness when it is requested. Properly weighted power steering lets you corner with confidence, but doesn’t make the ride any more fun. The pleasure will undoubtedly be in the electronic steering called “One Motion Grip”. The latter has no mechanical link between the steering wheel and the wheels. The advantages are numerous (see our box in the “Technical sheet” tab), but for now, this technology still needs a few adjustments before getting the green light. According to Lexus officials present at this world premiere, this revolutionary direction should make its debut on the market within two years.
Despite the overweight imposed by its batteries, the softness of Lexus is preserved and the RZ450e appears rather light to drive. And moreover responsive thanks to its two thrusters capable of producing the equivalent of 313 hp. Without sticking to the seat, acceleration is instantaneous, overtaking maneuvers are vigorous. For its part, the energy recovery device – configurable using paddles on the steering wheel – does not make it possible to dispense with the brake pedal. The latter, however, is dosed without difficulty.
Lexus, the neo-converted to electromobility, must still improve in terms of consumption and efficiency, because those of the RZ450e are currently towed by its competitors. Under these conditions, the approximately 300 km announced seem particularly optimistic, especially in winter.
From $64,950 to $80,950
Eligible for government rebates
No (provincial and federal)
Visible in dealerships
Now, but you have to place the order
Consumption / recharge
19.6 kWh/100 km (18″ tire) / 22.4 kWh/100 km (20″ tire)
Pleasant and comfortable ride
Rear Seat Clearance
We love less
Inability to tow anything
Driving with one pedal impossible
We had to start somewhere
- 2 electric motors
- Combined power: 313 hp
- Maximum torque: 321 lb-ft
- Weight: 2070 kg
- Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 5.3s
- Towing capacity: none
- Standard: automatic
- Optional: none
- Drive mode: all-wheel drive
Battery capacity / assumed range
- Li-ion battery
- 71.4 kWh (useful: no data) / 315 km range (20″ tires), 354 km (18″ tires)
Maximum charging power
- Wheelbase: 2850mm
- Length: 4805 mm / Height: 1635 mm
- Width: 1895 mm (exterior mirrors excluded)
Lexus announces the forthcoming marketing (within two years) of a direction having no mechanical connection. This is not a revolution in itself insofar as Infiniti has been offering such a device for some time now on its Q50 sedan. But there is an important difference. For safety reasons, the Infiniti doubles its system with a classic (read mechanical) system. In the event of a breakdown, Lexus relies in particular on a battery and an additional computer. These two components turn out to be much lighter and also make it possible to completely eliminate the steering column.
According to Lexus, the RZ450e takes approximately 9.5 hours to recharge on a level 2 station. On a fast station, partial refueling (80%) of the battery takes 30 minutes. To calm owners’ anxiety, the RZ450e relies on a specially designed driving setting to maximize range by limiting speed (100 km/h maximum) and suspending certain accessories such as the air conditioner, for example.
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The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: BMW Series 2, GMC Canyon, Nissan Ariya, Subaru Crosstrek and Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid. If you own one of these vehicles or are waiting for delivery, we would love to hear from you.