Lexus' first foray into the EV segment was a relatively shy step since the UX 300e is based on the same platform as the combustion-engined model. In addition, the subcompact crossover is offered only in select markets and hasn't received a significant marketing push. The company's first model developed from the ground up with an electric heart arrives today as the RZ. Specifically, the RZ 450e, with other derivatives likely to follow.
What is it? Essentially, it's a more luxurious take on the Toyota bZ4X, which itself is mechanically related to the Subaru Solterra. Surprisingly revealing teaser images have shown it'll be more than just a rebadged EV as Lexus made the effort to give the RZ its own identity, both inside and out. We'd argue it does look nicer and seems to have quite a few different body panels. The greenhouse, placement of the side mirrors, and the design of the headlights and taillights are original to the posh electric crossover.
Lexus RZ 450e
In one of the previews (attached here), Lexus went as far as to reveal the dashboard design. Once again, it’s significantly different than what you'll find in the Toyota bZ4X, albeit the Tesla-esque yoke seems to be the same. The RZ's center console has the air vents above the infotainment and we're getting the impression the premium variant has fewer conventional buttons. In addition, the digital instrument cluster has a normal placement whereas on the mainstream model it sits further back.
As far as the technical specifications are concerned, the "450e" suffix hints at a potent version. We're expecting the Lexus RZ launch version to have all-wheel drive courtesy of dual electric motors. The Toyota bZ4X with optional AWD has a combined 215 horsepower (160 kilowatts) and 249 pound-feet (338 Newton-meters) of torque to mirror the Subaru Solterra, which gets standard AWD. Logic tells us the RZ 450e is going to pack some extra punch.
Regarding range, the all-paw bZ4X can cover an EPA-estimated 228 miles or about the same as the Solterra. Provided the Lexus RZ 450e inherits an identical 71.4 kWh battery, range should be borderline identical.
When it comes to pricing, you're certainly going to pay more than the $44,080 Toyota is asking for a dual-motor bZ4X. Subaru has yet to announce how much its Solterra is going to cost, but the Lexus RZ should be the most expensive of the trio when it goes on sale towards the end of the year.
We will know what's what soon as the livestream starts at 10 AM GMT / 6 AM EDT.