LEXUS has recently joined the EV race in the Philippines with the launch of the RZ 450e, the brand’s first model with the BEV-develop platform. Lexus intends not simply to deliver the benefits of zero-emission, all-electric driving but to capture the potential of BEVs to reinvent the driving experience.
The primary theme was a seamless, emotional design inspired by the experience of driving a BEV. The new RZ has a lower nose profile and a silhouette flowing through a smooth cabin section. A sleek horizontal door axis accentuates the long wheelbase, and the large diameter 20-inch wheels are pushed out to the corners, expressing a wide stance and a low center of gravity. The RZ measures 4,805 mm long, with a 2,850 mm wheelbase and short overhangs—975 mm front, 980 mm rear. The overall height is 1,635 mm, and the width is 1,895 mm (excluding door mirrors).
The rear presents a cool, high-tech look with a split roof spoiler and the hallmark Lexus design of an elongated LED light bar wrapping around the muscular rear quarters. The rear thread is widened to 1,620 mm. Further, aerodynamic features achieve a low drag coefficient (0.28 Cd). There is a rear spoiler, a shaped back door, a fully covered underfloor, and a small front grille aperture with shutters.
The RZ’s cabin has an open, spacious, and airy feel with a driver-focused cockpit developed according to the principles of Lexus’ Tazuna concept—a design approach successfully applied previously to the all-new NX and RX models. The layout of the controls and information sources—a 14-inch center multimedia display, meters, a multi-information display, and a head-up display—require minimum hand and eye movement to reach, operate and read, helping keep the driver’s attention on the road ahead.
The all-new Lexus Link multimedia platform has a faster, more intuitive operation and increased functions for connectivity, efficient journey planning, and information. There is also a new “Hey Lexus” onboard assistant. Smartphone integration is enabled via Apple CarPlay (wireless connection) and Android Auto—pure stage sound experience with a 10-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system. The vehicle’s DCM (data communication module) allows functions to be conveniently updated or added over the air without interrupting the vehicle’s use.
Information, entertainment, navigation, air conditioning, and access to vehicle settings are via a 14-inch touchscreen. Mounted on the center of the instrument panel, this also includes physical buttons for periodic functions, including audio on/off and climate control temperature. The instrument panel with thinner construction and set low enhances the interior’s open feel. The center console has a slim, elegant upper section with a storage box. Of course, there are cupholders, USB ports, a 12V power outlet, and a wireless charging tray.
There are three interior color combinations available. The Orange upholstery (a shade of blue) is matched with black trim and a Solis White covering for the interior door shoulders and armrests. Hazel seat coverings are combined with black trim, Grayscale upholstery, and black trim. A new Tsuyasumi ornamentation is available for the console, with a charcoal finish with subtle shiny veining like a natural cinder block. Moreover, the cabin has an ambient lighting system with 64 colors grouped into 14 themes.
The seats are upholstered with “deep-hung” seams integrated heaters. The rear seatbacks have a two-stage recline function. The outer rear seats are available with heaters with high and low-temperature settings. Sustainable Ultrasuede upholstery is available for the new RZ, a sustainable suede-like material for the seats and upper door trims partly made from bio- and recycled materials. The other options are Synthetic Leather with a cloud effect finish and a fabric with a woven texture. The fabric is made using a spin-dyed yarn, reducing wastewater from the dyeing process.
The RZ’s engineers and designers prioritized ensuring the cabin environment was appropriately calm and quiet, applying a three-part strategy: controlling the noise, preventing it from entering the cabin, and paying particular attention to the noise experienced in the rear seats. The driver’s instrument display presents a full-screen Omotenashi welcome. The meters in the instrument binnacle can be customized to suit the driver’s preference. There are three center faces for the meter: power meter and surplus energy gauge, analog speedometer, and digital speedometer.
The optional panoramic roof increases the cabin’s feeling of space and light. The glass has a low-e (low-emissive) coating that reflects infrared radiation and reduces radiant heat. It even has an electric dimming function.
Battery Electric Powertrain
Lexus sought to strike a practical balance between performance and efficiency in developing a new battery electric powertrain. Lexus has designed a compact, high-voltage system circuit in which a transaxle and inverter are contained within the eAxle units. An Energy Storage Unit (ESU) integrates the charging, power supply, and power distribution functions. The permanent magnet motors have a high-power density and 17,000 rpm rotation speed.
The battery stack is positioned entirely beneath the cabin floor. It has 96 cells with a gross capacity of 71.4 kWh. Lexus claims the battery will retain at least 70 percent of its capacity after ten years. Most RZ variants—running on 20-inch wheels—achieve a range of around 395 km in the WLTP combined cycle test. Those which use 18-inch wheels see the range extended by about 40 km. The RZ is equipped with a compact and lightweight 11 kW onboard charger. Battery recharging takes around six-and-a-half hours; using a one-phase supply, the time is around 10 hours; connected to a DC fast-charging system, an 80 percent recharge can be accomplished in about 30 minutes.
The RZ also features Lexus’ new e-Axle, designed for use in BEVs. The vehicle uses both front and rear eAxles, which work with the DIRECT4 all-wheel drive control system to adjust the vehicle’s posture, traction, and power distribution, according to the driving conditions. The front motor produces 150 kW and 266 N-m of torque while the rear dishes 80 kW and 168 N-m of torque with a combined 230 kW and 434 N-m of torque maximum outputs. Depending on wheel size, the RZ’s excellent energy efficiency is 16.8 kWh or 18.7 kWh per 100 km in the combined WLTP cycle.
Advanced technologies are applied to detect more hazards, provide driver warnings and initiate steering, braking, and acceleration assistance to avoid or mitigate collisions. With Data Communications Module (DCM), the safety systems can be updated over the air without needing the vehicle to be taken to a service center.
These features combine with comprehensive passive safety provisions and the RZ’s robust construction to provide comprehensive protection for everyone on board. The RZ uses an AHB-G braking system (Active Hydraulic Booster) which delivers pressure on demand via a high-performance pump motor.
Aside from standard safety features, other smart safety functions are Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, and Lane Tracing Assist. The Lexus Safety System + package for the RZ also provides Automatic High Beam or an Adaptive High-beam System. Road Sign Assist (RSA) can recognize and display a broader range of highway warning and command signs.
In addition to the provisions of Lexus Safety System +, the new RZ offers a wide range of features such as Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Rear Camera Detection, Advanced Park, Lexus e-latch with Safe Exit Assist, and Panoramic View Monitor. To help protect against rear-end collisions, hazard lights are activated automatically to warn a following vehicle. The RZ has a Drive Start Control, which recognizes excessive pressure on the throttle when the shift selector is used and suppresses acceleration.
New color options and pricing
The RZ is available in Aether Metallic, Sonic Chrome, Sonic Quartz, Sonic Iridium, and Graphite Black. The RZ is available in a new bi-tone design with a contrasting black finish extending from the front of the car over the bonnet, pillars, and roof. The Lexus RZ 450e all-electric SUV retails at P4.828 million.
Image credits: Randy S. Peregrino