TEST – Lexus RZ 450e makes your jaw drop

You do the new Lexus RZ 450e short if you call it the luxury brother of the Toyota bZ4X. The only thing the two share is the bottom plate. The rest have undergone a complete Lexification. In addition, the plug-in Lexus draws a long nose at many an EV skeptic.

Okay, okay, we do understand that you think the sharply drawn Lexus RZ 450e and Toyota bZ4X look alike. Given the success of the Toyota C-HR, among others, many people appreciate the busy design style, but others say the Japanese look like victims of an industrial accident in an origami factory.

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We take the magnifying glass and tape measure and find that the Lexus coach differs on many points. Especially the now well-known spindle shape in the nose and the sharp roof spoilers stand out. The chic offspring of the Toyota family is also slightly lower, longer and wider. What you don’t see is that Lexus has put a lot of effort into minimizing road noise and vibration. The biggest differences, however, are in the powertrain.

No breakthrough fast charging capability

While the Toyota bZ4X has to do with 204 hp and front-wheel drive as standard, all RZs have 313 hp and all-wheel drive. On the other hand, the two share exactly the same battery pack of 71.4 kWh. For the Lexus RZ 450e, this should result in a maximum range of 440 kilometers. The fast charging capacity is 150 kW. This takes about half an hour to get the battery capacity from 10 to 80 percent. That does not sound spectacular for a premium brand. After all, there are Kias and Hyundais with larger battery packs, which can also be charged faster.

TEST - the Lexus RZ 450e will make your jaw drop

Groundbreaking warranty Lexus RZ 450e

Lexus claims that it has deliberately opted for a compromise of an acceptable range, a relatively favorable weight and – above all – a long lifespan. Everyone agrees that frequent high-power fast charging is not good for a battery. By keeping the maximum power of the RZ 450e modest, Lexus dares to give a spectacular warranty on the battery pack. While you have to do it with 8 years or 160,000 kilometers for most brands, Lexus guarantees its battery pack for 15 years and 1 million kilometers. With this, the brand turns a long nose at all EV haters who claim that the batteries are doomed after eight years.

“While most brands have to do with 8 years or 160,000 kilometers, Lexus guarantees its battery pack for 15 years and 1 million kilometers. ”

Driving the Lexus RZ 450e

So much for the theory – time to put the new electric Lexus through its paces. Behind the wheel we can see that the interior also has its own design. From the digital instruments and the integrated 14-inch touchscreen to the animal-free upholstery materials, the RZ 450e differs from the bZ4X in everything. The infotainment works quite smoothly, although it is not the fastest or most intuitive system we know.

Depending on the version, furniture and door panels are covered with textile, artificial leather or a particularly beautiful suede-like material. We appreciate Lexus’ consideration for the animal kingdom, but the synthetic leather steering wheel feels cheap to us. The same applies to the lower plastic panels. Most materials that lie in the field of view and touch do deserve the premium stamp.

Fortunately, you can control the temperature of the climate control and the volume of the audio system with large physical buttons. But there are also ‘sorry-dates’ on board. For example, the ultra-efficient infrared heating is only standard on the top version. Quite strange, because it mainly improves efficiency and is not necessarily a luxury system.

No frunk

Another fun interior trick is the mood lighting that is projected from the dashboard onto the door panels. The electronically darkened panoramic roof is also a nice option. Thanks to the almost flat car floor, the legroom for rear passengers is generous. Yet it is a shame that you can not put your feet under the front seats when they are in their lowest position. In addition, the rear seat is quite low. As a result, your legs are at a less than comfortable angle. With a capacity of 522 liters (70 liters more than the bZ4X), the luggage compartment does not have to shy away from holiday trips. However, do not make the mistake of leaving the charging cable in the space under the car floor. No, the cord has to be on top of the suitcases, because a frunk with a handy cable storage compartment is unfortunately missing.

RZ 450e is fast without drama

We press the remarkably high-placed start button, put the transmission dial in D and choose a winding route in the hinterland of Marseille. A big advantage of electric cars is that you don’t have to warm them up, which is why we immediately tested whether the 313 hp Lexus actually feels much faster than its Toyota brother with 204 hp.

TEST - the Lexus RZ 450e will make your jaw drop

The immediate answer is anything but loud, but obvious: the Lexus sprints from a standstill to 100 km / h in 5.3 seconds. That saves almost 3 seconds with the standard version of the Toyota … Yet it goes without any drama. The DIRECT4 drive system with torque vectoring distributes the forces of both electric motors to the front and rear wheels at lightning speed depending on the situation. Under normal conditions the split is 70 per cent front and 30 rear, but in corners it can also be 20:80. A network of sensors closely monitors speed, steering angle and G-forces.

TEST - the Lexus RZ 450e will make your jaw drop

It results in a particularly neutral handling, even if you use your right foot to deliver strong electric shocks on a winding track. In addition, you hardly notice that you are on the road with a car of over 2000 kilos.

Comfortable with a firm edge

No electronics are involved in the suspension and damping. In all conditions, the handling is comfortable, but with a firm edge. For those who are used to an air-suspended Lexus, the RZ probably feels less benevolent, but we think the chassis is nicely balanced.

The various driving modes have no consequences for the chassis tuning, but for the throttle response. It is even more intense in Sport than in Normal, while the Eco mode is naturally geared to economy. The Range mode is a kind of emergency mode for those times when you get into acute range stress. In that case, only the front electric motor will participate and the air conditioning will remain off; everything is aimed at wringing the last drops of power out of the batteries.

TEST - the Lexus RZ 450e will make your jaw drop

Range Lexus RZ 450e

Luckily we didn’t need that panic mode. According to the on-board computer, consumption with 18-inch wheels was 19.6 kWh per 100 kilometers. With the battery capacity of 71.4 kWh, that would equate to a range of 364 kilometers – about 80 kilometers below the manufacturer’s specification. Nevertheless, we braked regeneratively where possible during the mountainous test route. That works nicely with the paddles on the steering wheel, although we continue to regret that one pedal driving is not possible. The Lexus RZ 450e will be at the dealer next summer. For the Comfort Line, Lexus will ask 67,495 euros, above that are the Executive Line (71,495 euros), Luxury Line (75,595 euros) and President Line (79,495 euros). The importer expects that half of the buyers will opt for the top of the range.

TEST - the Lexus RZ 450e will make your jaw drop

One Motion Grip – steering like in a racing game

From 2025, the Lexus RZ will be available with One Motion Grip, a steering system without a physical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. The steering is fully electronic, with a variable transmission. Partly due to the butterfly-shaped steering wheel and the ultra-direct steering character, you sometimes have the idea that you are in a racing game. In bends you only have to turn the steering wheel very slightly and there is never any need to overpack. That’s why the steering wheel has no top edge. Because the transmission becomes less direct above 100 km/h and when driving straight ahead, the car does not behave like an overstimulated ADHDer on the highway. During maneuvering at low speeds, on the other hand, you quickly turn the steering wheel too much. The rear bumper and a stone post could almost talk about that. Fortunately, the parking sensors with braking function saved the car from a scraped bumper and ourselves from a dented image.

Lexus leaves EV haters speechless

He has been waiting for a while, the first, from scratch EV-designed Lexus. Fortunately, the RZ 450e has not become an anticlimax. The car is very quiet and quite fast, it steers fine and has nice features. However, don’t expect a groundbreaking range or charging capacity. What does make your jaw drop is the warranty: 15 years or 1 million kilometers on the drive batteries is unprecedented. Now you again, EV bashers! They counter with the comment that the car is still very expensive and that you therefore pay for that warranty yourself …

Source: Autoreview.nl by www.autoreview.nl.

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