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Lexus Rz 450e 230kW Dir4 71.4 kWh 5dr Auto Premium+/Bi-tone

  • Automatic
  • Electric
  • 5 door suv
  • 5.3 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 313 bhp Engine power
  • 252 mi Combined range
  • 71.4 kWh Battery capacity
  • 8 yrs Battery warranty

Ten Second Review

The RZ wasn't the first all electric Lexus, but it's the first one that really matters, new from the ground up and now offered in both front-driven and AWD forms. As you might expect, it's packed with borrowed Toyota technology, embellished with the usual Lexus sheen and a new-found spirit of driver involvement. An interesting confection.

Background

No other premium luxury brand has more experience in electrification than Lexus. Which made it all the more surprising that it took until 2020 for the brand to launch its first EV (the compact UX 300e) and a further two years for the marque to introduce one with a dedicated EV platform, this car, the Lexus RZ. We were pretty underwhelmed by the UX 300e with its feeble operating range, but this RZ proved to be far more promising. As it ought to have been, given the huge investment poured into the e-TNGA architecture it sits on, a chassis we've already seen with the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra. The similarly-sized RZ is a more driver-orientated, luxurious thing, though it has the same 71.4kWh battery. Like its bZ4X design sibling, it comes with a choice of front wheel drive or 4WD, a twin motor 'Direct 4' set-up. And there's a clever steer-by-wire system too. This is all more the kind of thing you'd expect from a brand with a heritage in electrification.

Driving Experience

Lexus doesn't really have much of a heritage in pin-sharp driving dynamics, but of late has been prioritising handling much more as part of what it calls the 'Lexus Driving Signature'. We've already seen that approach in latest versions of the NX and RX and it continues here as part of what the company calls a 'seamless E-motion' concept. This was pretty important to achieve if the RZ was not to be seen as merely a plushed-up version of the Toyota bZ4X model with which it shares most of its engineering. There are now two variants available, starting with a front-driven RZ 300e with 201bhp, 266Nm of torque and a 71.4kWh battery offering up to 297 miles of range. The alternative is the RZ 450e, which has 309bhp, uses the same battery and offers a 272 mile driving range. The RZ 450e uses a 4WD system - called 'Direct 4' - which works with Lexus's electric e-Axle set-up and gives you a pair of compact electric motors, one at the front with 201bhp, the other at the rear with 108bhp, together propelling the car to 62mph in just 5.3s. As with most EVs, top speed is governed back, here to 99mph, in order to preserve the driving range figure. Torque vectoring between the axles allows 100% of power to be sent to front or rear at any given time, the distribution governed by sensors monitoring speed, steering angle and G-Forces. Equally clever is the steer-by-wire 'One Motion Grip' system you can ask your dealer about which eliminates the usual mechanical linkage between the driver and the front wheels and can be optionally specified to work with an unusual butterfly-shaped yoke-style steering wheel.

Design and Build

Lexus clearly thinks all electric design should be different; it is here. Gone is the brand's usual trademark spindle grille, in favour of a design language christened 'Spindle Body', which highlights the lower bonnet and delivers more muscular looking front wings as part of a flush front end supposed to express 'powerful character and seamless acceleration'. Size-wise, the RZ sits somewhere between an NX and an RX, though thanks to the long wheelbase of this full-electric design, if you were to take a seat in the rear, you'd swear that it was a bigger car than either. It's not just legroom that's impressive either. Headroom at the back is improved by the way that the peak point of the roof has been moved rearwards. Up-front, where Lexus continues to introduce its 'Tazuna' ('reins of a horse') approach to driver ergonomics, the minimalist cabin treatment shares much with the second generation NX model. There's a 14.0-inch central infotainment screen, a head-up display and an instrument binnacle designed to maximise forward vision. As is currently the trend, most functions are controlled by a touch interface rather than by physical buttons and there's a rotary drive selector instead of a conventional gear shifter. Rear seat room is excellent; get comfortable and you'll find that six-footers will be able to stretch out, even when the front seats ahead are pushed right back, though you can't insert your feet below the front seat bases in the way you can in a Model Y. Boot space is competitive at 522-litres, but no more than that. The seats-folded capacity is 1,451-litres.

Market and Model

Expect pricing to start from around the £55,000 mark for the front-driven RZ 300e. You'll need from just under £58,000 for an RZ 450e. There's a base 'Urban' equipment grade in both cases, then above that, there are three main trim packages on offer - 'Premium Pack', 'Premium Plus Pack' or top 'Takumi', a variant which takes the 450e price right up to around £66,000. You'd expect a cutting edge level of infotainment and media connectivity for that and to meet that need, Lexus has slotted in the same system as you find in the second generation NX, with its clever "Hey Lexus" 'personal assistant' voice control system. The set-up works via a wide 14.0-inch central screen and, of course, incorporates 'Android Auto' and 'Apple CarPlay' smartphone-mirroring. Avoid base trim and you get the brand's clever 'front radiant heaters', knee-height heaters ahead of the front seats which provide front seat occupants with what Lexus describes as 'the feeling of a warm blanket around the legs'. Top 'Takumi' trim gets you a dimmable panoramic roof which reflects infrared radiation to better insulate the interior against the outside temperature and can be switched to opaque at the touch of a switch. One in four customers are expected to opt for the unusual butterfly-shaped 'One Motion Grip' steering wheel which will be available from 2025. And we particularly like the knee height heaters ahead of the front seats which provide front seat occupants with what Lexus describes as 'the feeling of a warm blanket around the legs'.

Cost of Ownership

We gave you the expected driving range figures in our 'Driving Experience' section - 297 miles for the RZ 300e and 272 miles for the RZ 450e. Range in both cases is hobbled by the engineers insistence on building in a huge safety buffer between battery capacity (71.4kWh) and the part of it - in this case, just 64kWh - that you can actually use. The brand says that the battery will hold 90% of its range for the first ten years of its life (though doesn't guarantee that), this longevity aided by water cooling for the cells, with active thermal management of the battery further aiding durability and range. That range is optimised courtesy of an on-board solar charging system that aims to minimise the effect of cold weather on usability. The 150kW rapid DC charging capability on offer here is the minimum we'd expect from a car in this class these days and with that, a 10-80% battery charge can be completed in around 25 minutes from a standard rapid DC charger - though on our test, we never managed to replenish the car that quickly. When using such a DC charger in colder temperatures, a battery heater (which uses the heater in the climate system) automatically clicks in for optimal battery replenishment. At least you get a proper CCS charging port, rather than the Chademo one originally fitted to the brand's UX 300e. At home, a 7.4kW wallbox will need 10 hours for a full charge. By using the provided LexusLink app, RZ users can not only check battery charge and driving range but set charging schedules according to when the vehicle is next expected to be driven or to when energy prices are low, The app also allows the owner to remotely control the climate of the car. New buyers also get access to 'Lexus Reserve', a programme - the first of its kind on the market - which offers owners of Lexus electric vehicles (RZ 300e, RZ 450e and UX 300e) 42 days' complimentary use of an additional Lexus hybrid vehicle over a three-year period.

Summary

Lexus sees itself as a 'design innovator' and it was certainly that when two decades ago, its luxury saloons introduced wealthy executives to the concept of Hybrid power. That advance owed almost everything to borrowed Toyota technology, as does the engineering behind this RZ model. There's nothing here we haven't seen before, but the combination of elements like the steer-by-wire system and the 'Direct 4' traction set-up really do feel cutting-edge. You couldn't say the same about the driving range figures or the 400V electrical architecture, but Lexus and Toyota engineers are no doubt working feverishly in both these areas to improve things. In summary, the Lexus brand is certainly moving forward - this is one of twenty new or revised models it will introduce by 2025. Few of them though, will be more important than this one.

  • Active and Acceleration Sound Control
  • Electric tailgate
  • Push button start
  • Tailgate height memory function
  • Wireless charger for compatible phones
  • 10 speakers
  • 2 front and 2 rear USB type C chargers
  • AM/FM and DAB radio
  • Type C USB port in front centre console
  • Astral black rear bumper
  • Astral black rocker panel
  • Astral black wheel arches moulding
  • Bi-tone paint
  • Black door belt moulding
  • Black window frame moulding
  • Body colour lower front bumper
  • Body protection flim
  • Car jack
  • Fixed panoramic roof
  • Front L emblem
  • Power back door with kick sensor
  • Rear DIRECT4 badge
  • Rear side wing doors
  • Roof spoiler
  • Shark fin antenna
  • Tailgate scuff plate in stainless steel
  • 12V accessory port centre console and luggage compartment
  • 12V socket in front and boot
  • 12V socket in rear
  • 2 cupholders in front centre console
  • 2 x fixed shopping bag hooks in the boot
  • 3 spoke Tahara trimmed steering wheel
  • 4 x lashing hooks in the boot
  • Additional project for ambient illumination
  • Ambient illumination
  • Charge cable bag
  • Dial type shift control
  • Door trim ornament - synthetic leather
  • Driver seat easy entry and exit function
  • Front tray in front of centre console
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Manually folding luggage cover board
  • Overhead front console sunglasses holder
  • Paddle shifts
  • Power adjustable steering wheel
  • Rear centre armrest
  • Rear cup holders
  • Stainless steel scuff plates with LEXUS
  • Steering wheel mounted customisable touch control
  • Steering wheel switches with soft touch operation
  • Tahara door panel finish
  • Tahara synthetic leather heated steering wheel
  • Tahara synthetic leather upholstery
  • Two way opening centre armrest with storage
  • Under console storage bag
  • Cold area package - RZ
  • 2 x Isofix child rear seat restraints
  • 3 point rear seatbelts
  • Acoustic vehicle alerting system
  • Curtain shield airbags (front and rear)
  • Driver and front passenger airbags
  • Driver and front passenger side airbags
  • Driver knee airbag
  • E-Latch with safe exit assist
  • Front and outer rear seatbelts with pre-tensioners,force limiter, tension reduction and reminder
  • Front centre airbag
  • Front passenger airbag cut off switch
  • Front passenger knee airbag
  • Front passenger seat cushion airbag
  • Front SRS airbags
  • Manual child lock in rear doors
  • Tyre pressure warning
  • 2 x remote key fobs
  • Customisable auto door lock
  • Double door lock
  • Glass breaking alarm sensors
  • Intrusion sensor
  • Keyless entry
  • Motion sensor key
  • Thatcham approved locking wheel nuts
  • Thatcham category 1 alarm + immobiliser
  • Tilt sensors
  • VIN etching
  • Wireless door lock
  • Battery Capacity % guaranteed under warranty: 70
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 71.4
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Charge Time (Mins): 615
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Power Supply - kW: 7
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Charge Time (Mins): 25
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Percentage Change: 0-80
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Power Supply - kW: 150
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Charging Port Location: Left Side Front
  • Coupler/Connector Type: CCS Type 2
  • Maximum Charging Rate - kW: 150
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 8
  • Usable Battery Capacity: N
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb: 18.2
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb: 3.4
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (km) - Comb: 406
  • WLTP - Pure Electric Range (miles) - Comb: 252
  • CO: N
  • CO2 (g/km): 0
  • HC: N
  • HC+NOx: N
  • NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: N
  • Camshaft: N
  • Catalytic Convertor: N
  • CC: 1
  • Compression Ratio: N
  • Cylinder Layout: N
  • Cylinders: N
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): N
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): N
  • Engine Layout: N
  • Fuel Delivery: N
  • Gears: 1 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: N
  • Transmission: AUTO
  • EC Combined (mpg): N
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: N
  • EC Extra Urban (mpg): N
  • EC Urban (mpg): N
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 0.0
  • Badge Power: 313
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: e
  • Coin Series: Premium+/Bi-tone
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 44E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: N
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: N
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 87
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 87
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 84
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 81
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Service Interval Mileage: 10000
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 5.3
  • Engine Power - BHP: 313
  • Engine Power - KW: 230
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 321
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 44.4
  • Engine Torque - NM: 435
  • Top Speed: 99
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: N/A
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 235/50 R20
  • Tyre Size Rear: 255/45 R20
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: N
  • Wheel Type: 20" ALLOY
  • Height: 1635
  • Length: 4805
  • Wheelbase: 2850
  • Width: 1895
  • Width (including mirrors): 2157
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): N
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2296
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1451
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 522
  • Max. Loading Weight: 211
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 750
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 2085
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 5.6