2023 Lexus RZ 450e goes on sale with a starting price from $59,650

The future of Lexus Electrified has arrived with the introduction of the all-new, all-electric Lexus RZ 450e. The RZ is the brand’s first globally available, purpose-built battery-electric vehicle that brings a dynamic driving experience and distinctive design focused on performance.

The RZ is the latest electrified vehicle in the Lexus lineup, which includes seven hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The portfolio expansion moves Lexus toward another essential goal: the realization of a sustainable global society. Lexus intends to contribute to a carbon-neutral society by aiming to offer 100% BEVs globally by 2035.

The 2023 RZ 450e is built at the Motomachi Plant in Toyota City, Japan, and is on sale now in limited quantities with a starting price from $59,650 USD.

e-TNGA Platform

With its new lightweight e-TNGA steel platform (a first for Lexus), the RZ possesses an optimal placement of mass and high body rigidity. RZ’s body employs high-tensile steel panels and an aluminum hood to reduce weight and increase rigidity. Marrying body and platform is a bevy of innovative technologies, including Laser Screw Welding and Laser Peening, short pitch spot welds, and high rigidity expansion joints.

The lightweight platform also offers enhanced stability and ride comfort by mounting the 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack, developed by Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES), under the vehicle floor, creating a low center of gravity and inertia movement. A urethane sealant helps to keep dust and water out of the stack’s reinforced structure, while efficient water-cooling and water-heating systems work to maintain an ideal battery temperature.

Driving Performance

The 71.4 kWh battery delivers on performance with a total system horsepower rating of 308 and a manufacturer-estimated 0-60 acceleration time of 5.0 seconds. It has an EPA-estimated range rating of up to 220 miles when equipped with 18” wheels and an EPA-estimated MPGe rating of 115/98/107 (city/highway/combined). When utilizing 20” wheels, the RZ has an EPA-estimated MPGe of 102/87/95 with an EPA-estimated range of up to 196 miles.

RZ 450e utilizes DIRECT4, an all-wheel drive system first introduced with the 2023 Lexus RX, which features a rear eAxle coupled with the engine and front motor. RZ’s DIRECT4 system utilizes two high-output, high-torque eAxle units that each drive a wheel set, one in the front (150-kW) and the other at the rear (80-kW). Three-point eAxle motor mounts, each using a lightweight aluminum bracket, are placed symmetrically on each side to counterbalance the eAxle’s torque.

The DIRECT4 system works to optimize RZ’s drive force, traction, and posture control (e.g., pitch and dive) in accordance with driving conditions and the load carried by each wheel. DIRECT4’s front-to-rear torque distribution has a maximum range of 100:0 to 0:100, depending on the driving situation.

Also lending to the RZ’s drive performance is the front MacPherson strut type suspension and rear trailing arm multi-link configuration with both specifically tuned and located to enhance handling balance, roll posture, and ride comfort.

At the rear, Frequency Reactive Dampers (FRD) are outfitted to the RZ’s suspension, altering the dampening force on the extension stroke in response to road surface frequency input. The FRD works to provide a high level of handling stability and helps to achieve a comfortable ride. With FRD and e-TNGA, key Lexus Driving Signature traits such as the precise control of sprung weight, along with natural posture changes, a tactile steering feel and the linear responses of steering, braking and acceleration operations are enabled.

Braking and Steering

Lexus Driving Signature is also reflected in the new Active Hydraulic Booster-G (AHB-G) braking system that works with the DIRECT4 system and RZ’s regenerative motor capability to reduce vehicle speed while helping to improve vehicle posture. With a new Vehicle Stability Control actuator and on-demand pressurizing system using a high-performance pump motor, this braking system provides a natural and responsive brake pedal feel. The front-to-rear brake force distribution is controlled by independent pressure regulation, contributing to a comfortable drive and stable vehicle composure while braking. Furthermore, ergonomic brake pedal pads are used for easy pedal changes and pedal depression.

In addition, an all-new Vehicle Braking Posture Control program adjusts front-to-rear brake force distribution according to a driver’s braking input as well as the suspension’s vertical inputs. This aims to improve handling and body posture while braking and turning.

A standard rack assist-type Electric Power Steering (EPS) system reduces the amount of steering input needed by utilizing a new motor and reduction gear setup that is installed parallel to the steering box. Moreover, a Motor Control Unit (MCU) with an integrated motor and motor current control ECU, reduces the EPS’ size footprint and minimizes operational noise.

Available Steer by Wire

Available in the U.S. at a future date, the all-new Steer by Wire system enables the electronic exchange of steering and road surface information between the advanced steering control and tires via electrical signals, not mechanical linkage.

As such, drivers feel quick, controlled, communicative steering reactions. The system’s steering ratio constantly works to adjust to the RZ’s speed, thereby allowing for superb agility in slow-speed situations and impressive stability while at higher speeds. The racing-inspired steering control has an all-new gauge cluster that sits higher (by 1.5 in.) and farther away (by 1.4 in.) from the driver with the goal of minimizing their line-of-sight movement. The unique flat-bottom shape benefits driver ingress, egress, and forward visibility.

A Look to Reflect Performance

Lexus’ identifiable spindle grille is replaced by the Lexus spindle body, as introduced with the 2023 Lexus RX, showcasing a distinctive roof spoiler to suppress aerodynamic force. The roof, trunk and undercover are shaped to reduce aerodynamic drag and allow air to flow smoothly across the vehicle.

From the side, the front fenders seemingly wrap around the wheels and tires, then flow rearward to express a forward-moving momentum. The strong three-dimensional shape over the rear fenders emphasizes the tires’ width. In addition, the flowing contrast of the doors’ sculpted shapes aims to achieve a captivating and scintillating surface.

Having no engine to cool results in a low hood design and minimal front grille opening. The grille uses a grille shutter to improve aerodynamic efficiency. When cooling air is not required, the grille shutter is closed to reduce air resistance. In the rear, the RZ features a clean and simple horizontal design matched to hips highlighting the wide stance; it is a look that accentuates the RZ’s torque-filled performance identity.

An available illuminated front “L” emblem indicates charging status and discreetly incorporates a millimeter wave radar sensor. A spelled-out LEXUS logo (as seen on the NX, LX, and RX) resides on the horizontal rear combination lamps. The lowered center portion of the red lens accentuates the logo type and emphasizes a sharp look.

The 2023 RZ is offered in two grades, Premium and Luxury. The RZ Premium rides atop 18-inch Dark Gray Metallic aluminum wheels while the Luxury is outfitted with 20-inch wheels in a Black and Machined finish.

The RZ is available in exterior colors including Caviar, Iridium, Cloudburst Gray, Eminent White Pearl and Ether. A bi-tone paint option is also available, with black paint that extends from the hood to the trunk, that can be paired with Ether and Cloudburst Gray.

The cockpit is based on the concept of tazuna, or a horse’s rein. It features a driver-focused interior layout inspired by the communicative relationship between horse and rider. Key tazuna elements include steering wheel-mounted switches, an optimally positioned instrument panel for improved field of view and an available 10-inch head-up display (HUD). Controls for the navigation functions, audio system, and driving mode selection are within reach.

RZ introduces the intuitive shift-by-wire technology which includes a dial-type shift knob on the center console to select drive modes by turning it in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion. With no mechanical connections, the compact setup improves driver convenience while keeping in line with the minimalistic cabin space.

The concept of oto-kukan, Japanese for “sound space”, lends to the RZ’s peaceful interior as it aims to eliminate unwanted exterior sounds from entering the passenger cabin. Features helping the vehicle achieve a serene environment include: a slimmer A-pillar cross-section (to better manage passing airflow); a continuous hood seal rubber that reduces wind entry and turbulence; sound-dampening carpets, glass, and foam; and Active Sound Control (ASC). ASC directs EV system sound frequencies into the cabin to cancel out unwanted penetrating noise, giving the driver clearer vehicle feedback.

Radiant Heating

For those seeking a cozy in-cabin experience, available radiant heaters placed at the bottom of the front console quickly and directly heat front passengers’ legs and feet.

Cargo Capacity

With radiant heaters in place of a traditional glovebox, front passengers can stow their belongings underneath the center console, within the two-way opening console box, in the front tray, or in doors’ storage pockets. Cargo capacity at the rear easily accommodates three golf bags, or a combination of one large (31” x 21.5”x 13”) and one medium (29” x 20.5” x 12.5”) suitcase. Below the cargo hold’s deck, additional space is available to stow smaller items as well as the provided Level 1 vehicle-charging cable.

Charging at Home or On the Go

The RZ comes equipped with a Level 1 vehicle-charging cable for 120v outlets and all models are equipped with a CCS1 (Combined Charging System (CCS)) socket for at-home and public charging. Under ideal conditions, the RZ can charge from 0-100% in approximately 9.5 hours with a Level 2 charger and from 0-80% in approximately 30 minutes with a DC fast charger.

Further supporting at-home charging, participating Lexus dealers offer an option to purchase a ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 charger at the dealership or directly from ChargePoint online. ChargePoint Home Flex is ENERGY STAR certified and Wi-Fi enabled, can be installed indoors or outdoors, and comes with a 23-foot charging cable to support different parking configurations. With the ChargePoint® Home Flex connected charger, electric vehicles can be charged up to nine times faster than a standard outlet. The home charger can charge up to 25 miles of range per hour and fully charge the battery when plugged in overnight.

To learn about installation options for the ChargePoint Home Flex, network providers such as Qmerit can help guide RZ 450e guests through the process. The end-to-end services offered by Qmerit include locating a certified electrician to install the EV charger, providing an initial free quote, and additional services. Customers will be provided information on Qmerit during their purchase checkout process at participating dealers.

Blagojce Krivevski

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