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

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The Audi Q4 and Tesla Model Y rival is due later in 2022 with 309 horsepower, all-wheel drive, 250-mile range and optional steering bridge

Lexus has unveiled the next model on the road to becoming an all-electric brand – the RZ 450e.

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Due to arrive in the UK in late 2022, the mid-size SUV will be the first Lexus EV from the ground up, based on the same dedicated platform as the Toyota bZ4X.

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

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The first versions of the RZ 450e will come with a 71.4 kWh battery and dual motor all-wheel drive. The twin-engine “Direct4” system will produce a combined 309 hp and allow the 321 lb ft of torque to be split between either axle as conditions demand, including driving in front- or rear-only configuration.

Lexus hasn’t released final range numbers, but says the RZ 450e can go “more than” 250 miles on a single charge. No details on the car’s charging speeds or times were revealed, either. However, it has placed great emphasis on battery life and expects the device to still retain 90% of its capacity after 10 years.

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The RZ 450e will offer electronic steering-by-wire as part of the optional One Motion Grip system, which also features a “yoke” instead of a traditional steering wheel. The yoke rotates from straight to left or right in just 150 degrees, meaning the rider never has to make a hand-over-hand turn.

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

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The interior has been simplified compared to previous Lexus models, with designers focusing on reducing ornamentation and physical elements. Innovations introduced on the RZ 450e include a dimmable panoramic sunroof with heat-reflecting technology and knee-level heaters designed to help accelerate warming of the front half of the cabin.

A world-first “E-Latch” system will also be introduced on the new model, which uses the Blind Spot Monitoring system to prevent occupants from opening their door in the path of an approaching cyclist or vehicle.

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