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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Lexus RZ revealed as all-electric Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra triplet

Bespoke touches include a restyled exterior and a new infotainment system, plus the optional yoke steering wheel.

Lexus has joined parent company Toyota and long-time partner Subaru in producing its first dedicated all-electric vehicle in the shape of the new RZ.

Brandishing a name until now used as a trim level denominator on the Japanese market Toyota Supra, the RZ effectively serves as a more luxurious version of the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, despite being touted as a proper Lexus.

ALSO READ: Dedicated battery-powered Toyota bZ4X revealed

While dimensionally unchanged from its siblings, the rest of the RZ’s exterior is uniquely Lexus in that it receives a sealed Spindle Grille, the same LED headlights as the IS, a more sculpted bonnet and less plastic cladding around the wheel arches and at the base of the doors.

The differences go further in the shape of a restyled rear facia, an optional dual-tone roof and model specific 18-inch alloy wheels with 20-inches optional. At present, no plans for an F Sport model are being devised.

New Lexus RZ debuts
Rear facia is unique to the RZ.

Inside, the RZ’s interior has been revised to include more premium feeling materials and the optional yoke steering wheel only the bZ4X can be specified with. Unique to it though is a bigger 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system, less physical buttons, reshaped air vents, a Lexus specific instrument cluster and an optional auto-dimming panoramic glass roof.

In a Lexus and most likely automotive first, the RZ sports the option of so-called radiant heaters positioned below the steering column and lower part of the dash. In effect, this provides a heating effect at knee-level in order to compliment the already standard heated front seats and steering wheel.

New Lexus RZ debuts
Interior benefits from a new infotainment system and instrument cluster no offered on the Solterra or bZ4X.

Riding on the electric vehicle optimised e-TNGA platform, the RZ forgoes the front-wheel-drive configuration offered on the bZ4X for the all-wheel-drive layout that comes as standard on the Solterra.

Named Direct4, and in-line with the 450e suffix part of its name, the RZ employs two electric motors mounted on each axle, however, while driven by the same 71.4-kWh battery as used by its siblings, the front has been upgraded to deliver 150 kW while the rear remains unchanged at 80 kW.

New Lexus RZ debuts
Yoke steering wheel, an option available on the bZ4X, can also be had on the RZ.

Combined, the RZ delivers 230kW/435Nm instead of the 160kW/336Nm made by the Toyota and Subaru. Claimed range is 450 km, the same as the bZ4x and Solterra, with the 0-100 km/h sprint taking 5.6 seconds. Top speed is limited to 160 km/h.

Set to go on sale on key markets towards the end of the year, the RZ has been confirmed as being under study for South Africa and will therefore become a likely reality next year if approved outright.    

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