The first bespoke Lexus electric car, arriving in the first half of 2022, will be a sleek, performance-oriented SUV called the RZ.
- Lexus RZ will arrive next year
- Direct4 system can switch between front-, rear- and all-wheel drive
- Lexus could use twin-motor set-up on all its EVs
Upcoming Lexus RZ: more details
Shown in near-production-ready form as Toyota and Lexus unwrapped 15 all-new electric cars, it is based on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform, but with bespoke modifications aimed at taking “the driving experience to the next level”. It is a similar size – and is a close visual relation – to the existing NX crossover.
The brand’s Europe vice president, Pascal Ruch, told our sister publication, Autocar UK, that a priority for Lexus is offering “exhilarating driving performance” and hinted that it will offer variants of future EVs that “support the sporty position of the brand”.
The RZ will have fully variable four-wheel drive and steer-by-wire technology, and promises "incredible cornering and roadholding".
Bespoke modifications – including lighter and more compact motors, increased body rigidity and Lexus's own Direct4 fully variable four-wheel drive technology – are aimed at providing "an engaging and rewarding on-road driving experience".
The Direct4 system allows the RZ to apportion power delivery across both axles "in the blink of an eye", essentially switching instantly between front-, rear- and all-wheel drive, as the situation requires. Lexus will employ this set-up on all future bespoke EVs, suggesting that each will use a twin-motor set-up.
As previewed by the LF-Z Electrified concept, the RZ adopts recognisably SUV-like proportions, but, like its Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra siblings, sits closer to the ground. It also carries forward a number of new design cues seen for the first time.
The concept's slim rear light bar and spelled-out brand name are among the features likely to define Lexus’ bespoke EVs, for example, but it is already clear that the LF-Z's prominent roof fin will not make it to production.
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on the luxury carmaker’s take on the fully electric SUV.