Lexus RZ 450e joins premium brand’s all-electric line up

Audi Q4 and Tesla model Y rival due later in 2022 with 309bhp, all-wheel-drive, 250-mile range and optional steering yoke

Lexus has revealed the next model in its move towards becoming an all-electric brand - the RZ 450e.

The mid-sized SUV is due to arrive in the UK at the end of 2022 and is the first ground-up Lexus EV, based on the same dedicated platform as the Toyota bZ4X.

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The RZ 450e will offer up to 250 miles of range and go head-to-head with the likes of the Audi Q4 e-tron, Tesla Model Y and Mercedes EQB at the premium end of the electric SUV market.

Initial versions of the RZ 450e will come with a 71.4kWh battery and two-motor, all-wheel-drive setup. The twin-motor “Direct4” system will produce a combined 309bhp and allow the 321lb ft of torque to be distributed across both axles as required by conditions, including running in front- or rear-only configuration.

Lexus hasn’t announced final driving range figures but says the RZ 450e will be capable of “more than” 250 miles on a single charge. It has also not revealed details of the car’s charging speeds or times. It has, however, placed significant emphasis on battery durability and expects the unit to retain 90% of its capacity after 10 years.

The RZ 450e will offer electronic steering-by-wire as part of the optional One Motion Grip system, which will also feature a “yoke” in place of a traditional steering wheel. The yoke turns from straight ahead to left or right lock in just 150 degrees, resulting in the driver never having to do a ‘hand over hand’ turn.

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Lexus says that the yoke allows for lower placement of the instrument binnacle and a better view of the road ahead. The instrument display is complemented by a head-up display and a 14-inch central navigation/media screen.

The interior has been simplified compared with previous Lexus models, with designers focusing on reducing embellishments and physical elements. Among innovations introduced on the RZ 450e are a dimmable panoramic sunroof with heat reflective technology and knee-level radiant heaters designed to help speed up warming the front half of the cabin.

A world-first “e-latch” system will also debut on the new model, which will use the blind spot monitoring system to prevent occupants opening their door into the path of an approaching cyclist or vehicle.

Lexus bosses have stated that the brand will go all-electric in Europe by 2030, offering nine models. Alongside the existing UX 300e and the RZ 450e, the marque will launch at least one electric saloon and a hypercar successor to the LFA.

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