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Lexus RZ 450e - the new EV with no steering wheel

The all-new battery electric SUV, and the first Lexus electric vehicle to be developed from the ground up on a dedicated new electric vehicle platform.

The RZ 450e features a 71.4kW lithium-ion battery which Lexus expects will be able to cover more than 250 miles (WLTP), and the company claims that the RZ will be one of the most efficient BEVs on the market due to its target consumption of below 18kW per 100km (62 miles) driven.

The Lexus RZ 450e has a front electric motor producing 201 bhp and a rear electric motor producing 107 bhp. The two motors deliver all-wheel drive, and Lexus calculates the total power output to be 309 bhp, with 435 Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 5.6 seconds.

The RZ is the first production model to feature Lexus’s new DIRECT 4 all-wheel drive control system for its two e-Axles. DIRECT4, an exclusive Lexus technology, is an intelligent system that constantly balances the traction of all four wheels, automatically distributing drive force. The front/rear torque bias can be adjusted from zero to 100 or 100 to zero in milliseconds.

RZ 450e Interior

There’s a ‘world-first’ option to have no conventional steering column or mechanical steering link; instead a ‘One Motion Grip’ steer-by-wire system has an electrical connection to send inputs from the steering wheel and the wheels. This system also dispenses with a traditional steering wheel, and in its place uses a new steering yoke, which requires less steering effort from the driver. The yoke’s ‘butterfly’ shape allows the driver to gain a better view of the instrument display and of the road ahead. The optional One Motion Grip steer-by-wire system with steering yoke will be available in the UK during 2023.

There’s also an optional panoramic roof with glass that has a low-emissive coating which reflects infra-red radiation and reduces radiant heat on sunny days, while helping keep heat inside the cabin when the weather is cold. The roof also has an electric dimming function, which instantly switches from transparent to opaque with a simple touch control, cutting out any direct sunlight.

New radiant heaters are positioned at knee-level in front of the driver and front passenger, beneath the steering column. Provided in addition to seat heaters and a heated steering wheel, they help speed up warming of the driver and front passenger. As with the panoramic roof, the radiant heaters help save energy, reducing the load on the air conditioning system.

The Lexus RZ 450e will be available for UK and European customers to reserve from 20 April, ahead of the first vehicle deliveries from the end of 2022.

The RZ is the next step in Lexus’s move towards becoming a 100 per cent BEV brand in Western and Central Europe by 2030.