As Lexus introduces its first global electric vehicle, it also joins the ranks of automakers that pledge to become 100% electric. The 2023 RZ 450e ushers in the EV era at Lexus, and within 7 years Lexus will have a full lineup of EVs in all categories. By 2035, Lexus has the goal of having a completely electric lineup.
So, let’s dig into this new EV, since it sets the bar for what’s to come. Here are five things to know about the 2023 RZ 450e
By now, we are all familiar with the pinch-nose Lexus grille that hearkens back to Toyota’s origin story as a loom company. But since EVs don’t need grilles, the 2023 RZ 450e evolves the design language with aerodynamic zig zags. The overall shape is familiar but establishes a new direction for the design of the Lexus EVs moving forward.
If you like the looks of the current Lexus lineup, you’ll like the new RZ, too. Me, I like the fact that Lexus didn’t go over the top quirky with the design. It looks like a Lexus.
Toyota recently launched its first global EV, the bZ4X, which is also the first Toyota EV that will be sold nationally in the U.S. Both the bZ4X and RZ share the e-TNGA platform, which mounts the battery under the vehicle floor. As we saw in the bZ4X, this offers a lower center of gravity for a more stable driving experience.
The big difference here, however: bZ4X offers front- and all-wheel-drive options. The RZ will be all-wheel drive only.
While we don’t have a lot of specs for the 2023 RZ 450e just yet, Lexus has revealed the estimated range to be 225 miles. This falls in line with the AWD versions of the bZ4X, which have between 222 and 228 miles of range. So, though Lexus released it yet, we can surmise the MPGe numbers will be in the ballpark of bZ4X as well, which are between 102 and 104 MPGe.
Curiously, however, the RZ will get the 71.4 kWh battery capacity of the FWD bZ4X, rather than the 72.8 kWh capacity of the AWD model.
If we extrapolate from the bZ4X data, the RX will likely have fast-charge compatibility, an AC maximum input of 6.6 kW and a DC charging maximum input of 150 kW.
Since the 2023 RZ 450e is the luxury version of the bZ4X, it makes sense that it will get a little more oomph. Per the preliminary specs output for the RZ will be 150 kW in the front and 80 kW for the rear. That means total output will be 230 kW, or about 308 horsepower. In comparison, the bZ4X delivers 214 horsepower in its AWD model.
The 2023 RZ 450e will debut the Lexus Safety System+ 3.0, and unsurprisingly, the bZ4X debuted the 3.0 of the Toyota version. The non-U.S. spec version of the RZ will get Proactive Driving Assist with Steering Assist, which not only prevents the driver from deviating from the lane but also detects curves and decelerates appropriately. Though the press release doesn’t explicitly say it, we’ll assume this is not a hands-free system. This hasn’t been confirmed for the U.S. but we have seen similar systems from other automakers, so we’ll be curious to see if it makes it to the States.
The LSS+ 3.0 system will also include automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with full-stop functionality, lane trace assist and a pre-collision assist.
Because this is still new news, we don’t have any pricing information – and we won’t for at least six months. The 2023 RZ 450e is expected to go on sale toward the end of 2022, which means we’ll see pricing about two weeks to a month prior – so late October, early November.
However, we know the bZ4X tops out at about $49k. So, I’d estimate the RZ will start at around $60k.
We’ll share more details as we have them. So, stay tuned.
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