On 8 March 2023, the Lexus RZ 450e crossover was presented at the Château La Coste in Aix-en-Provence, the first fully designed battery-electric vehicle.
The Château La Coste is a location with a modern design in harmony with the natural landscape. It houses an exceptional collection of art and contemporary design works by some of the world’s most famous artists, including Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry and Damian Hirst. Set in a landscape that once inspired Paul Cezanne, it is also characterised by the presence of vineyards and organic wineries.
The location is an appropriate setting for a new Lexus that embraces advanced technologies and presents a strikingly modern design.
The new Lexus RZ 450e crossover at a glance
- New Lexus battery electric SUV built on a dedicated BEV platform
- Introduction of advanced technologies that enhance Lexus Driving Signature handling and performance
- First Lexus e-Axle with DIRECT4 all-wheel drive for torque control
- Lexus Next Chapter design realises the opportunities of a BEV, including the new Lexus hourglass body shape
- Long-life 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery that will retain at least 90% of its capacity after 10 years of driving
- Efficient system achieving an energy consumption of between 16.8 kWh and 18.7 kWh per 100 km in the WLTP combined cycle
- Evolution of the Lexus Tazuna concept for a completely driver-focused cabin
- New technologies to enhance life on board, including an insulated and heat-reflecting panoramic roof, radiant heaters and the new Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system
- Comprehensive suite of safety and driver assistance features, including Lexus’ exclusive Safe Exit Assist, which prevents the door from opening into the path of vehicles and cyclists approaching from behind
- Lexus will introduce the innovative One Motion Grip steering system with cloche by 2025 on the RZ
The RZ 450e is the first Lexus model developed as a BEV from the outset. The intention was not simply to offer the benefits of zero-emission, all-electric driving, but to seize the potential of BEVs to reinvent the driving experience. To achieve this, the car underwent extensive track testing and refinement at the Shimoyama centre in Japan, soon to be Lexus’ new global headquarters.
This is not a vehicle that simply adopts battery electric power in place of a conventional engine; it goes much further to realise the exciting potential of new technologies that enhance performance and driving pleasure, in line with the Lexus Electrified philosophy.
“RZ was developed with the goal of creating a unique Lexus BEV that is safe to drive, pleasing to the touch and exciting to drive,” said Chief Engineer Takashi Watanabe. “Our vision is to use electrification technology as a means of enhancing fundamental vehicle performance so that we can continue to pursue driving pleasure for all future generations.”
RZ retains all the qualities of performance and craftsmanship associated with the Lexus brand. The company has used its extensive experience in vehicle electrification to offer the benefits of a BEV with the essential refinement and driving experience unique to the brand.
The RZ also debuts the first application of Lexus’ new e-Axles, compact drive units used front and rear that work in conjunction with DIRECT4 all-wheel drive, the new electronic torque control. Superior handling and responsiveness are ensured by a new platform dedicated to electric vehicles, offering excellent chassis rigidity, a low centre of gravity and a generous wheelbase. A powerful lithium-ion battery is fully integrated into the chassis, under the floor of the passenger compartment, and its quality is carefully controlled to ensure long-term performance.
The platform and battery-electric drive also open up new possibilities for design. The exterior reinterprets the typical Lexus hourglass shape in the vehicle body, while the interior is a light and open space that is both simple and luxurious, expressing Lexus Omotenashi hospitality and Takumi craftsmanship.
With its zero-emission performance, the RZ will help Lexus on its path to carbon neutrality and a sustainable mobility society. The focus here is not just on the car’s performance on the road, but encompasses its entire life cycle, from component sourcing, production and use to eventual disposal. At Lexus’ Motomachi plant, the RZ production centre, new methods have already been adopted to reduce emissions from the most polluting production processes.
In addition to its market introduction, the RZ will offer an enhanced driving experience thanks to the optional by-wire steering system. Lexus’ new One Motion Grip, currently under development, will provide lighter and more precise steering without sacrificing important road feedback.
The Lexus RZ 450e design
- Seamless e-Motion’ design expresses the performance, driving pleasure and refinement of a full electric vehicle
- The Lexus signature hourglass grille shape is deeply integrated into the overall front design
- External dimensions position the RZ between the Lexus NX and RX models
- Aerodynamic design details help optimise the RZ’s energy efficiency
Building a car on a completely new battery-electric platform has opened up new design opportunities and the freedom to create a design that distinguishes the RZ 450e from other vehicles. At the same time, its styling represents an evolution of the Lexus ‘Next Chapter’ design, embracing themes that can be seen in other new Lexus models, such as the RX.
The basic theme is a seamless, emotional design inspired by the driving experience of a BEV. The RZ is instantly recognisable as both a Lexus and a BEV, with proportions that reflect its dynamic character.
The new dedicated BEV platform and electric powertrain give the RZ a lower centre of gravity and allow the profile of the nose to be lowered. This is the starting point for a silhouette that flows through a smooth cabin section to a rear apex in the roofline, offering more headroom (67 mm) for rear seat passengers. The elegant horizontal axis of the doors accentuates the generous wheelbase and large-diameter, 20-inch wheels, emphasising an important road presence and a low centre of gravity.
The RZ measures 4,805mm in length, with a wheelbase of 2,850mm and reduced overhangs: 995mm at the front, 960mm at the rear. The overall height is 1,635mm and the width is 1,895mm (excluding the rear view mirrors). In terms of exterior and overall dimensions, the model ranks between the Lexus NX and RX.
In the side view, the design creates volume around the front wheels, conveying the power of the front axle, while the rear wheels are set back to give a performance appearance. The doors have contrasting shapes and striking surface treatments, and create a line of visual continuity from front to rear.
As with the recently launched RX, the design sees the familiar hourglass grille more integrated into the overall front design, generating a strong three-dimensional effect. Since the electric powertrain requires less cooling airflow than a combustion engine, the classic grille was dispensed with. Instead, the area is finished in the car’s body colour, while the position of the slim headlamps and the darkening of the bumper corners add emphasis to the central hourglass shape, giving the car a distinctive look.
The newly designed light clusters match the hourglass body. Ultra-slim, they accentuate the Lexus L pattern of the daytime running lights, while the main headlamps and turn indicators are less prominent.
The rear features a renewed, high-tech design with a split roof spoiler that extends the design to the rear and contributes to the car’s aerodynamics.
The LED light bar running the full width of the car is the hallmark of Lexus design. In this case, it extends around the muscular rear end in a geometric pattern and has an exceptionally slim central section that highlights the new LEXUS lettering on the tailgate. The rear track has been widened to 1,627 mm (+15 mm compared to the front track), further emphasising the car’s imposing appearance.
Aerodynamic details were key to achieving a low drag coefficient (0.293 Cd) that contributes to the car’s energy efficiency.
The cabin shapes were optimised to achieve smooth airflow on the outside and comfort on the inside. The beltline moulding is flush with the bodywork to help regulate airflow and keep the car stable. The design of the rear spoiler contributes to handling and stability in straight-line driving and in crosswinds, without generating aerodynamic drag. The tailgate is also shaped to adjust the angle of the airflow from the roof, reducing aerodynamic drag and helping to give the driver the feeling that the car is firmly planted on the ground.
Another factor in reducing aerodynamic drag is the fully enclosed underbody, with the front end featuring a wavy surface that helps maintain stability at high speeds and the rear end featuring fins that direct airflow towards the back of the wheels. The small opening in the front grille is fitted with bulkheads that automatically close when cooling air flow into the engine compartment is not required.
New colours available for Lexus RZ 450e
The RZ is launched with a choice of exterior finishes including the new Aether metallic, inspired by blue skies, and the striking Sonic Copper. It is also available in Sonic Chrome, Sonic Quartz, Sonic Iridium and Graphite Black. Sonic shades use an advanced paint technology in which pigment particles and metal flakes are highly compressed into micro-thin layers, contributing to a deeper, brighter finish and stronger contrasts between light and shadow.
The RZ is available in a new two-tone design featuring a contrasting black finish that extends from the front of the car to the bonnet, pillars and roof.
Wheels and tyres
The RZ comes with two wheel sizes: 18- and 20-inch. The 18-inch wheels have a standard dark grey metallic finish, but are also available in black as an option. The 20-inch rims are either glossy or black/contrast machined, depending on the version. The 18-inch wheels are aerodynamically styled with ventilation fins on the surface of each spoke.
The 20-inch rims – standard on the high-end trims and optional on the others – are expected to be the choice of around 80 per cent of RZ customers in Europe.
Driving stability is ensured by the use of differentiated front and rear tyres: 235/60R18 at the front and 255/55R18 at the rear for 18-inch wheels and 235/50R20 at the front and 255/45R20 at the rear for 20-inch wheels.
- RZ offers Lexus Driving Signature performance, characterised by safety, control and comfort
- First Lexus combination of e-Axles and DIRECT4 all-wheel drive torque control
- Highly rigid chassis utilises the new e-TNGA electric vehicle platform for precise, responsive response
- One Motion Grip steering system to be introduced on RZ in 2025
The Lexus Driving Signature
Ensuring the Lexus Driving Signature has been the main focus in developing the RZ’s dynamic performance and reinforcing the car’s core characteristics – the ‘three Cs’ of Confidence, Control and Comfort in all driving situations. In addition, the benefits of specific BEV qualities such as rapid response and high precision were maximised. To achieve this, Lexus was able to call upon its many years of pioneering experience in electrified vehicle technologies, dating back to the first RX 400h hybrid electric (2004).
Lexus has ensured that the vehicle always responds to the driver’s intentions, making driving comfortable and exhilarating even for those not used to driving an electric vehicle. The result is the addition of a BEV dimension to the Lexus Driving Signature – the refined, linear and reassuring responsiveness and rewarding feeling of control and connection with the vehicle that define the driving character of new Lexus vehicles.
These characteristics follow ‘The Natural’ concept adopted by chief engineer Takashi Watanabe and his team during the car’s development. They focused on driving quality with a natural feel, with the car moving faithfully to the driver’s inputs thanks to the optional One Motion Grip steering system and the precise DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive control. Particular attention has been paid to providing the driver with excellent visuals and feedback and ensuring precise control of the vehicle at all times.
The RZ’s BEV-specific platform provides an inherently solid base on which to build a vehicle with excellent rigidity. Advanced techniques were employed, including laser shot peening and laser screw welding for the moving panels and joint reinforcement to eliminate or reduce twisting. Laser welding allows a thicker sill to be used, eliminating the cutting sections required for spot welding. In other places, extensive use is made of structural adhesive (1.79 m in total), laser screw welding and short pitch welding (to an unprecedented degree) to increase the joint area and achieve greater rigidity.
High-rigidity foam is used in each corner of the tailgate opening to reinforce an area particularly prone to deformation. This also reduces noise and vibration. The rear of the car has a double-loop frame, which helps the car stabilise after cornering or changes of direction.
At the front, reinforcements and thicker support pillars for the radiator eliminate lateral deformation. Stiffness is further enhanced by suspension strut reinforcements and high-performance front and rear shock absorbers.
Drivers can appreciate the benefits of the car’s rigid structure in straight-line stability and precise steering response and handling, contributing to the Lexus Driving Signature’s control and safety.
Strengthening the car’s structure increases weight, which in turn has an impact on energy consumption and dynamic performance. To counter this, Lexus has used materials and methods to reduce the weight of the chassis, helping to maintain driving range without compromising body rigidity. Priority has been given to reducing the mass of parts located higher up in the vehicle, to maintain a low centre of gravity and reduce body roll when cornering.
For example, lightweight 1470 MPa steel is used to reinforce the central roof and a patchwork material is used to reinforce the front and centre pillars. The bonnet is made of aluminium and the door and wheel arch mouldings and rear door trim are made of moulded lightweight resin (uses less material but remains rigid and lightweight).
Noise and vibration control
Although the battery-electric drive produces less noise than an internal combustion engine, its quietness makes road and ambient noise more noticeable. RZ’s engineers and designers took care to ensure that the cabin environment was suitably quiet and peaceful by applying a three-part strategy: controlling noise, preventing it from propagating into the cabin and paying particular attention to the noise perceived by rear seat passengers.
Solutions to reduce noise and vibration include an integral bonnet seal, which prevents airflow from escaping through gaps, reducing noise and rustling. Inside the RZ, the thickness of the dashboard gaps has been measured to reduce light between parts and achieve better insulation and noise absorption.
The large roof area is a major source of noise while driving. To solve this problem, an anti-vibration sheet was added to make the roof structure more rigid, which has a significant impact on NV (noise, vibrations) levels. Other solutions include foam cladding at the base of the front and centre pillars, acoustic glazing in the front and rear doors, and the inclusion of cladding and insulation material in the grille, dashboard, bonnet, mudguards and wheel arches.
The RZ features a new version of active sound control that uses surround sound to introduce noise-cancelling frequencies into the cabin through the audio speakers.
Efficient and compact e-Axle
The Lexus RZ 450 is the first model equipped as standard with Lexus’ new e-Axle, designed for use in BEVs. It is a compact, modular package consisting of a motor, a transmission and a PCU (Power Control Unit) located between the drive wheels. The RZ uses an e-Axle at both the front and rear; the components work together with the DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive control system (details below) to adjust the vehicle’s set-up, traction and power distribution according to driving conditions. The e-Axles are quiet, efficient and deliver accurate power.
The front engine produces 150 kW and the rear engine 80 kW, for a maximum output of 230 kW. The RZ achieves excellent energy efficiency, with an estimated consumption of 16.8 kWh or 18.7 kWh per 100 km in the WLTP combined cycle, depending on wheel size and car specification.
Their compact dimensions – the short front axle and low rear axle – contribute to the intelligent packaging of the car, helping to gain more space in the passenger compartment and a low load compartment floor, as well as providing more space to accommodate the EV battery down below the vehicle floor.
DIRECT4 all-wheel drive control
DIRECT4, an exclusive Lexus technology, is an intelligent system that continuously and seamlessly distributes drive torque between the front and rear axles. The result is stress-free performance and great handling, with intuitive operation that reinforces the sense of connection between car and driver.
The system uses the sensors in the Engine Control Unit to collect, analyse and react to a variety of factors, including vehicle speed, steering angle and G-forces. Based on these inputs, it immediately calculates and applies the appropriate drive torque to each e-Axle to maximise grip and traction according to the road surface. Front/rear torque can be adjusted in milliseconds, faster than any other mechanical system.
Its advantages are evident in a variety of driving scenarios:
- Starting – the driving force is transmitted safely to all four wheels
- Straight driving – the vehicle remains stable at all times
- Entering bends – the change of direction is smooth
- Cornering – steering provides excellent feedback
- Acceleration out of corners – the driver can set a precise trajectory with ease
- Exiting corners – quick and safe acceleration
Front/rear torque distribution is adjusted for ideal performance. Details of the distribution in different driving situations are shown in the table below.
Normal torque distribution
Driving torque transferred to the rear to improve traction and stability.
Torque distributed to optimise straight-line stability and improve efficiency.
More torque directed to the rear wheels for better traction in low-grip conditions, a safe trajectory and good acceleration out of corners.
Lexus RZ 450e Electric Battery
In developing a new battery electric powertrain, Lexus sought to strike a balance between performance and efficiency. To achieve its goals, it was able to apply multiple technological advantages from its experience in developing successful hybrid vehicles over the past two decades. Key to this strategy was the adoption of an optimally sized battery that offered the best balance between driving range, efficiency, cost and size/packaging.
Battery electric propulsion
Lexus designed a compact high-voltage system in which the transaxle and inverter are contained within the e-Axle units. An energy storage unit (ESU) integrates the charging, power supply and energy distribution functions. Noise filters have been added to the system to improve electromagnetic compatibility, thus avoiding interference with the vehicle’s audio system.
The permanent magnet motors have a high power density and a rotation speed of 17,000 rpm. The inverter achieves a high volumetric efficiency while allowing a high output current. Its compact dimensions and specific design allow it to be integrated into the transaxle. The motors are positioned on a symmetrical three-point aluminium mounting system, with excellent support contributing to comfort, handling, stability and quiet performance.
The use of bulkheads in front of the radiator reduces air resistance and offers high cooling performance when required; they close automatically when not required. Ducts in the front grille direct airflow to the radiator, even when the bulkheads are closed. Cooling performance is provided by a single large-diameter fan.
The battery is positioned entirely under the floor of the passenger compartment and forms a structural part of the vehicle chassis. This contributes to the rigidity of the vehicle and its low centre of gravity, while the slim profile of the unit also ensures that there are no intrusions into the passenger compartment or cargo space. The battery is contained in a sealed and reinforced structure to protect it in the event of contact with the road surface or in the event of a collision.
The unit comprises 96 cells with a gross capacity of 71.4 kWh. Quality, durability and reliability are reflected in the Lexus guarantee that the battery will retain at least 70% of its capacity after 10 years. However, Lexus is confident, given its long experience in battery technologies, that the actual capacity after that time should be at least 90%.
Most versions of the RZ with 20-inch wheels achieve a range of around 395 km in the WLTP combined cycle. Those adopting 18-inch wheels see their range extended by around 40 km. These figures refer to the performance that can be achieved using the full charge of the battery (from 100 per cent to 0 per cent).
As with any battery electric vehicle, the actual range may differ from the WLTP reference range. The actual distance travelled by the vehicle will vary depending on individual factors such as driving style and speed, state of charge and temperature of the battery, use of air conditioning and type of tyres fitted to the vehicle.
It is important to emphasise that if you want to maximise the vehicle’s range, you can use the Range mode (see Driving Mode chapter below for details).
In addition, the remaining range assessment shown on the driver’s instrument display incorporates several factors to ensure peace of mind. In addition to the remaining battery charge, it also considers the efficiency of previous electricity consumption, current driving conditions and air conditioning use. In addition, the display shows the remaining range as 0 km from when the battery charge status reaches about 8 per cent.
Efficient cooling is crucial for battery performance and battery life. For both the lithium-ion battery and the BEV system, a long-life, high-strength LLC coolant is used. This controls the temperature in a highly efficient system that helps maintain stable battery power even under high loads, such as high-speed driving or repeated fast charging. Battery cooling and the car’s climate control system work cooperatively, improving energy performance, ensuring cabin comfort and promoting longer battery life. The unit is cooled from below with an even flow of coolant to ensure even better cooling performance. The coolant is contained in a separate compartment to avoid direct contact with the battery in the event of a leak.
When driving at lower temperatures, a battery heater can be activated when charging the vehicle. This utilises the heater of the air conditioning system and is activated automatically when using a DC charger.
Charging the battery
The RZ is equipped with a compact and lightweight 11 kW on-board battery charger. Recharging the battery, when connected to a three-phase power supply, takes about six and a half hours; with a single-phase supply, the time is about 10 hours; connected to a DC fast-charging system, an 80 per cent recharge can be done in about 30 minutes.
Using the Lexus Link app, owners can set a charging time in advance to use the power at specific times of the day and can opt for a repeated charging schedule for convenience.
When the accelerator is fully depressed, the RZ delivers strong, decisive acceleration, while smooth acceleration offers great control. The use of a battery-electric system enables a skid suppression function: an engine control unit in the e-Axles monitors wheel speed and detects any skidding before the vehicle’s traction control intervenes, initiating torque control and reducing initial wheel spin.
When using Sport mode, Dynamic G Control provides a sensation of continuous acceleration, balancing the smooth and firm increase in speed with a sense of control.
Deceleration on four levels
The driver can choose from four levels of deceleration to achieve different degrees of deceleration performance, selectable with the paddle shifters. Deceleration is strongest when the car is in Sport mode and downhill, to encourage safe and relaxed driving.
Acceleration Sound Control
The driver’s sense of connection with the car is reinforced by Acceleration Sound Control. The system generates a sound that reflects the state and behaviour of the vehicle, transmitted through the audio speakers. A constant sound is modulated to reflect the driving mode, gear position and the driver’s use of the accelerator. The system can be deactivated if the driver prefers.
Four selectable driving modes, including the exclusive Range mode
The RZ’s performance and driving character can be customised thanks to selectable driving modes. In Normal, an optimum balance between performance and power consumption is provided to suit a wide range of driving situations. In Eco mode, power is limited by generating less engine torque in response to throttle inputs and reducing climate control. In Sport mode there is more steering feel and the throttle response is firmer. The driver can set the propulsion, chassis and climate control modes he or she prefers using the Custom mode, accessible via the multimedia touchscreen.
To meet the expectations of customers whose priority is to maximise the RZ’s true range, the car also features an exclusive Range mode that maximises driving range by reducing power consumption, limiting power output and vehicle speed, and deactivating air conditioning.
When Range mode is selected, the DIRECT4’s front/rear torque distribution balance is also optimised for power efficiency. When driving in a range with limited torque demand, only the rear engine is used; the front engine comes into play when demand increases. If wheel slip is detected, normal AWD operation is restored.
Braking System and Vehicle Braking Posture Control
The RZ uses an AHB-G (Active Hydraulic Booster) braking system that delivers pressure on demand via a high-performance pump motor. Front and rear brake force distribution is controlled by independent front and rear pressure governors, ensuring a comfortable ride and stable braking posture.
The vehicle’s braking attitude control varies the balance of front and rear braking according to the driver’s use of the brake pedal and the vertical movement of the suspension. During initial braking, at low deceleration, the vehicle is tilted so that the driver can feel the effect of deceleration. When more pressure is applied to the brakes, the braking force is distributed backwards so that the body lift at the rear is suppressed. This results in a linear feel, with clear initial effectiveness of braking and a strong sensation of the car’s contact with the road surface.
The suspension system is designed to deliver exhilarating driving performance and contribute to the Lexus Driving Signature, helping to generate a natural dialogue between car and driver.
The fundamental dynamic advantages of the BEV platform – high rigidity, low centre of gravity, dynamically balanced chassis and low moment of inertia – are accompanied by suspension that contributes to the maintenance of precise trajectories, a natural and stable vehicle stance and a comfortable ride. Attention has been paid to optimising the characteristics of the shock absorbers to reduce unpleasant vibrations and excessive undulating movements of the vehicle.
The front suspension is of the MacPherson type. At the rear, the set-up features double wishbones with longitudinal elements, with a precisely calculated geometry to accommodate the significant acceleration of a BEV. The shock absorbers contain new frequency-sensitive pistons that vary the damping force according to the frequencies transmitted by the road surface: softer in the high frequency range and stiffer in the low frequency range.
One Motion Grip steer-by-wire
At launch, the RZ is equipped with conventional rack-and-pinion-assisted electric power steering. The system features an intermediate shaft that absorbs vibration to maintain a smooth feel. The three-spoke steering wheel features variations in cross-section to ensure a pleasant and comfortable grip.
In addition, the RZ will be the first model to use Lexus’ new One Motion Grip steering system, which is currently under development and scheduled to be introduced to the market – as an option – in 2025.
Instead of the traditional mechanical connection between the steering wheel and front axle via the steering column, this system communicates the driver’s steering inputs electronically to the wheels. The result is an immediate response and greater steering control.
Drivers will also notice less steering wheel sway when driving over rough roads, stable control and correction in strong crosswinds, and stable straight-line performance on sloping surfaces.
Steering sensitivity is important for driver safety and control. Lexus engineers have ensured that the system still provides feel and feedback, maintaining a strong connection between driver and car. There are also fail-safe processors and an emergency power supply that activates automatically if the system loses main power.
The One Motion Grip uses a newly developed steering wheel with a butterfly shape similar to the controls found in the cockpit of an aircraft. Its design was perfected with input from Lexus Takumi drivers, who studied every element to ensure optimum grip, feel and feedback for the driver.
This design is also practical, as the technology requires less steering effort on the part of the driver, with no need to cross the arms. This makes it possible to change lanes smoothly on the motorway, drive more comfortably on winding roads and manoeuvre more easily in tight spaces, with the steering gear ratio adjusting automatically according to the speed of the car. Steering characteristics also adjust according to the selected driving mode, with even greater feel in Sport mode.
The system’s feedback blocks unwanted tyre and brake vibrations, but accurately communicates the road surface conformation.
The newly shaped steering wheel has no top, so the driver has a more open view of the instruments and the road ahead. Lexus designers took advantage of this to position the instrumentation higher and further away than would be possible with a conventional steering wheel, minimising the driver’s need to look away. This takes the Tazuna cockpit concept to the next level, focusing the driver’s attention on the road. The design of the cloche also gives the driver more legroom and makes it easier to enter and exit the vehicle.
Lexus RZ 450e design and technology
- The cockpit layout follows the Lexus Tazuna concept, offering the driver quick, easy and intuitive control of the vehicle
- Customisable instrument display
- New radiant heaters for front seat passengers
- New panoramic heat-protection roof, which can be blacked out at the flick of a switch
The RZ’s cabin is open, spacious and expansive, with a driver-focused cockpit developed according to the principles of Lexus’ Tazuna concept, a design approach already successfully applied to the new NX and RX models. Lexus has introduced a series of advanced human-centred technological features that enhance comfort, practicality and life on board, reinforcing the Omotenashi spirit of hospitality.
The cockpit of the Lexus RZ 450e is an evolution of Lexus’ Tazuna concept, inspired by the way a rider can intuitively control a horse using only small movements of the reins. The cockpit brings together the driver’s position at the wheel and a precise arrangement of gauges, controls and displays to create a space where the customer only needs to make small hand and eye movements to operate the vehicle. With the future introduction of One Motion Grip steering (described above), the benefits of the Tazuna cockpit concept will be even more evident.
The arrangement of controls and information sources – the 14-inch central multimedia display, gauges, multi-information display and head-up display – requires minimal hand and eye movement to reach, operate and read them, helping to keep the driver’s attention on the road ahead. The layout and shape of the cockpit also guides the driver’s line of vision forward. With the One Motion Grip assisted driving system, the effect is accentuated by the newly designed steering wheel, which expands the space in front of the driver.
The design and position of the driver at the wheel, with a commanding view, reinforce the qualities of the Lexus Driving Signature: comfort, safety and control at all times.
Bright and spacious cabin ambience
The open feel of the cabin is reinforced by the instrument panel, which has a slimmer structure and is positioned lower than the front passenger seating position. Space was also gained by moving the passenger airbag to the rear and adopting a new air conditioning system with an integrated blower unit, positioned in the centre of the dashboard.
The centre console features a slim and elegant upper section, incorporating a storage compartment with a hinged lid for opening to the left or right, so that it can be easily used by both the driver and front passenger. The unit is also equipped with cup holders, USB ports, a 12V power socket and (where fitted) a base for wireless charging. The design offers additional storage space under the console, large enough to hold a box of tissues, a pair of shoes or the owner’s manual.
Interior colours and upholstery
Three interior colour combinations are available, each of which creates a different ambience. Orage upholstery (a shade of blue) is combined with black trim and Solis White upholstery for the shoulders and inner door armrests for a bright, clean and advanced look. The Hazel seat covers are combined with black trim in a luxurious, modern effect, and the combination of Greyscale upholstery and black trim provides a fantastic monotone nuance.
A new Tsuyasumi ornament is available for the console, with an anthracite finish with subtle polished veins, similar to a natural marble block. The effect is created through the superimposition of numerous layers, a process using advanced technology supervised by Lexus’ Takumi craftsmen.
The atmosphere in the cabin is enhanced by an ambient lighting system with a spectrum of 64 colours, grouped into 14 different themes to create the right atmosphere for the journey. The colour and brightness of each lamp can be adjusted using the settings screen in the central display.
The RZ features a new In-ei lighting effect, which casts a pattern of light and shadow on the door panels, creating different effects as the surrounding light conditions change with the time of day.
The seats feature Lexus’ global architecture design and are upholstered with “deep” stitching to promote more comfortable support and posture during long journeys. Integrated heaters have been redesigned to operate throughout the seat, with temperature adjustment for the shoulder, back and upper leg areas.
The rear seat backrests have a two-stage reclining function. The rear seats are available with heaters with high and low temperature settings.
Available for the new RZ is Ultrasuede upholstery, a sustainable suede-like material for the seats and upper door trim, partly made from organic and recycled materials. The other options are Tahara synthetic leather with a cloud effect finish and a woven weave fabric. The fabric is made using a centrifuge-dyed yarn, reducing waste water from the dyeing process.
Omotenashi welcome display
The driver’s instrument display features a full-screen, customised ‘Omotenashi welcome’. When the customer opens the doors and enters the vehicle, he is greeted with his name (registered with the smart key) and a sequence of animations begins, showing the vehicle in silhouette. When the ignition button is pressed, animated graphics and sounds are coordinated between the indicators, head-up display and central display, drawing the driver’s attention forward.
A sequence of welcome lights illuminates the front door handles and cabin lighting as the driver approaches the car. When exiting, the lights remain on for up to seven seconds if the customer remains close to the vehicle.
Customisable indicators and multi-information displays
The gauges in the main instrumentation can be customised to the customer’s preference and their appearance automatically changes according to the driving mode selected. They are designed for clear and instantaneous readability and on top-of-the-range models feature high definition.
There is a choice of three central instrument dials, selectable via the central display customisation screen: Power Indicator and Excess Energy Indicator; Analogue Tachometer and Digital Tachometer. The Excess Energy Indicator gives the driver peace of mind by showing the available energy in real time, in relation to the power of the electric motor and the level of regenerated energy.
The content of the multi-information display can be selected and adjusted using the touch-tracer switches on the steering wheel on top-of-the-range models; on other versions, standard steering wheel controls and switches can be used.
The head-up display is projected onto the base of the windscreen in the driver’s front view. Its position, layout and content can be adjusted according to personal preference. Three content versions are available: full, standard and minimum.
Keys and controls
While the Tazuna cockpit concept ensures that the main driving-related controls are placed within easy reach for the driver, less important and less frequently used controls are now accessible via the central touchscreen. Physical buttons have been retained in the central display for intuitive operation, including audio and climate controls.
Another example of the easy and intuitive control offered by the Tazuna concept are the touch-sensitive switches on the steering wheel. Introduced for the first time in the new Lexus NX, they can be customised to manage the driver’s preferred functions, such as driving mode, navigation and audio. When the driver touches the switch, its shape and function are shown on the head-up display, so the driver does not have to look down at the steering wheel to check that he has pressed the correct button. Although they operate using electronic signals, they have a satisfying ‘click’ feeling to confirm operation.
The RZ’s shift-by-wire system is operated using a new gear selector on the centre console. The driver presses the control down and rotates the outer ring clockwise for drive and counterclockwise for reverse; pressing the control down puts the vehicle in neutral. There are additional controls on the console for ‘Park’ and the electronic parking brake.
Panoramic screened and tinted roof
The optional panoramic sunroof increases the feeling of space and light in the cabin, extending far back to provide a wide view for rear passengers, even when the rear seats are reclined (the roof is 44 mm wider and longer than on the Lexus NX). The glass has a low-e (low emissivity) coating that reflects infrared radiation and reduces radiant heat on sunny days, helping to keep heat inside the passenger compartment when it is cold.
The roof has an electrical dimming function, which makes it opaque at the touch of a switch. As a result, there is less need to use the air conditioning system to maintain a comfortable temperature and there is no need for a retractable sunshade, a weight-saving choice; these factors reduce the RZ’s energy consumption and help maintain its driving range. The elimination of a sunshade also helps provide more headroom, as does the shaping of the roof to increase ceiling height.
New air conditioning system
The RZ uses a new compact air-conditioning system with integrated heater and fan. It employs an efficient heat pump system that uses a coolant to heat the passenger compartment while driving at low temperatures. This reduces the load on the vehicle’s power supply, helping to maximise driving range. Its compact size and central position under the dashboard free up more legroom for the front passenger.
The Lexus Climate Concierge coordinates the air conditioning, heated seats, heated steering wheel and (if fitted) radiant heaters to heat or cool the cabin to the desired temperature quickly and efficiently. Lexus’ S-FLOW control detects which seats are occupied and adjusts the air conditioning performance accordingly, saving energy.
Cabin air quality is maintained using nanoe X™ technology, which emits microscopic water particles containing hydroxyl radicals into the air stream. These are effective in inhibiting viruses, bacteria, pollen and other allergens and can act against the spread of mould. They can also counteract bad odours and stop moisture evaporation, helping to keep occupants’ hair and skin moisturised.
Air conditioning can be remotely activated using the Lexus Link smartphone app, so the cabin can be heated or the windscreen defrosted before embarking on a journey. The app allows temperature settings to be recorded and seat and steering wheel heating to be activated.
The new radiant heaters are located at knee height in front of the driver and front passenger, under the steering column and at the bottom of the dashboard. Unlike convection heating, they use infrared radiation to heat solid objects directly in front of them. They also consume about 8 per cent less energy.
Integrated into the Lexus Climate Concierge, they work in combination with the heated seats and heated steering wheel to accelerate the warming of the cabin, giving the feeling of a warm blanket around the legs. They work quietly and without draughts. They have automatic protection in case someone comes into contact with them, automatically reducing the panel temperature to 43˚C. As with the panoramic roof, they reduce the load on the air conditioning system and help preserve the car’s driving range.
Digital rear-view mirror
A digital rear-view mirror is also available that uses a rear camera to give the driver a clear view, unobstructed by passengers or luggage inside the car. Touch controls on the mirror can be used to adjust the mirror itself, resize the image or change the brightness level. The unit can also be switched to function as a conventional optical mirror when desired.
The space available in the load compartment is not compromised by the vehicle’s battery, and nine extra litres have been gained by mounting the audio system’s subwoofer inside the tailgate. With all seats in place, the compartment offers 522 litres; folding down the rear seats brings the maximum volume to 1,451 litres, with cargo up to the ceiling. With the awning in place, there is room for two suitcases (110 litres and 97 litres). Under the floor there is a further 58 litres of space in a fully lined, regularly shaped area, which is useful for storing the BEV charging cable.
Access is facilitated by a loading height of 740 mm and the availability of an electric tailgate. Motor modifications make the tailgate opening and closing sequence quicker and quieter, and the opening angle can be preset according to position, for example to avoid hitting the low roof of the garage. Depending on the model specification, a foot-operated sensor is provided for hands-free operation.
Lexus RZ 450e: multimedia and connectivity
- Faster, more intuitive Lexus Link multimedia system with 14-inch touchscreen
- Improved voice command control, including ‘Hey Lexus’ on-board assistant
- Bespoke 13-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround sound system
The RZ features the all-new Lexus Link multimedia platform, with faster, more intuitive operation and enhanced features for connectivity, efficient journey planning and information of all kinds.
The system includes ‘always-on’ cloud-based navigation, which benefits from up-to-date information on traffic events, accidents and road conditions. The voice recognition function understands and responds to conversational requests and is able to better detect commands in the presence of background noise. There is also a new ‘Hey Lexus’ on-board assistant and smartphone integration is available via Apple CarPlay (wireless connection) and Android Auto.
The vehicle’s DCM (data communication module) allows functions to be conveniently updated or added over the air, without any interruption to vehicle use.
Information, entertainment, navigation, air conditioning and access to vehicle settings is via a 14-inch touchscreen. Mounted in the centre of the dashboard, it also includes physical buttons for frequently used functions, including audio on/off and air conditioning temperature.
The screen features an icon-based menu with crisp, colourful high-definition graphics. In addition to touch operations, voice commands can be used: dynamic voice recognition can distinguish different voices and operate in the presence of background noise – e.g. the audio should not be muted.
On-board assistant ‘Hey Lexus
The ‘Hey Lexus’ assistant can be used for multimedia controls and to adjust certain vehicle functions, such as air conditioning and opening or closing windows. It can detect whether commands are coming from the driver or the front passenger.
The My Setting function allows customisation of audio, navigation, driving position, cabin lighting, main display and Lexus Safety System + for up to three drivers/users. They can be accessed using the multimedia screen or via a Bluetooth device. The vehicle will also recognise an individual driver when using the registered smart key and automatically recall the chosen settings when entering the car.
Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system
Lexus’ exclusive audio partner, Mark Levinson, has developed a 13-speaker system that delivers high-quality sound reproduction comparable to a high-quality system for all genres of music, creating a live ambience in purity, depth and faithful reproduction of the original sounds. The key to this is a dedicated Harman amplifier that enables the reproduction of high-resolution sound sources (96 kHz/24 bit) that contain more information than a compact disc (44.1 kHz.16 bit).
The speakers are optimally positioned in the passenger compartment: 9 cm Unity elements left, right and in the centre of the dashboard; 8×9 inch woofers in the lower part of the doors; 9 cm Unity speakers in the rear doors. Completing the system is a 22.4 cm subwoofer installed in the tailgate, avoiding any loss of space in the load compartment. Its construction includes a large neodymium magnetic circuit for perfect bass sound reproduction.
10-speaker audio system
The standard audio package for the RZ is a premium 10-speaker system, built to deliver clear mid and high tones and rich, crisp bass tones. As with the Mark Levinson Premium Surround System, the amplifier has the ability to reproduce high-resolution sound sources, greater than the information contained in CD files. A 20 cm subwoofer is housed in the tailgate.
There are three USB ports on the centre console: one for multimedia connectivity and two for charging devices. Two more charging sockets are available on the rear console, along with an AC outlet in the Luxury version.
Lexus RZ 450e: Safety
- Latest generation Lexus Safety System + with new and improved functions
- New Driver Monitor and Proactive Driving Assist
- Future software updates always available over-the-air
Lexus’ goal was to equip the RZ with a first-class preventive safety package capable of recognising and reacting to an even wider range of accident risk scenarios. The car benefits from the latest generation Lexus Safety System +, with new and improved features that are a perfect match for a battery electric vehicle.
Advanced technologies are employed to detect multiple hazards, provide driver warnings and initiate steering, braking and acceleration assistance when necessary to help avoid a collision or mitigate the consequences in the event of an impact. They also reduce the burden on the driver, making each journey less tiring.
Using the car’s data communication module (DCM), safety systems can be updated over the air, without the need to take the vehicle to a service centre.
These features combine with the RZ’s comprehensive passive safety features and robust structure to provide comprehensive protection for all occupants.
The radar and camera used by the RZ’s Pre-Collision System (PCS) have a wider detection range and can recognise a wider range of hazards than ever before. This includes the risk of a head-on collision with traffic coming from the left or right when making a turn at an intersection. The system’s response time is shorter and it can now also identify motorbikes, cyclists and pedestrians.
The Emergency Steering Assist system helps keep the car stable and within its lane when the driver needs to avoid a parked car, pedestrian or other obstacle on the side of the road. The system is also available with Active Support, which works to avoid a collision by providing gentle braking and steering.
The PCS also provides low-speed acceleration reduction by recognising sudden, unintended use of the accelerator.
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
The RZ’s Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) offers a wider range of vehicle-to-vehicle distance adjustments, so that the driver has more freedom to tailor operation to personal preference. Activation of the system has been made more intuitive with simple switch operation and a voice command option to set the cruising speed and distance to the vehicle in front.
New functions include cornering speed reduction, which ensures an appropriate speed for smooth cornering, and overtaking prevention, which adjusts the car’s speed to avoid overtaking a slower vehicle on the wrong side on a multi-lane road. The driver can also easily reset the cruising speed to adapt to changes in the speed limit detected by the Road Sign Assist (RSA) system.
Lane Departure Alert and Lane Tracing Assist
The Lane Departure Alert (LDA) has been improved so that it can now recognise more objects, including adjacent street furniture such as light poles, pavements and guardrails. It can also recognise when the driver is swerving to avoid a person or vehicle parked in the RZ lane.
The high-performance camera used by Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) can better distinguish road markings; when they are difficult to read, for example in heavy traffic, the system will follow the path of the vehicle in front. The expansion of the system’s DNN (deep neural network) has enabled it to recognise 3D objects. This means it can adjust its performance to provide adequate lateral distance from vehicles in adjacent lanes or roadworks, operating naturally for the driver.
Lane Change Assist
Lane Change Assist can be used when the car’s LTA is activated. When the driver signals that he wants to make a lane change, the system monitors safety using the radar and PCS camera, calculates the desired trajectory and provides appropriate steering control. Once the lane change is complete, the LTA returns to its normal operating state.
Lexus RZ 450e Driver Monitor
The Driver Monitor is a new feature that uses a camera mounted above the steering wheel to constantly monitor the driver’s condition. If it recognises that he has lost concentration due to fatigue or malaise, it activates visual and audible warnings. For the first time in the world, the system is linked to the car’s active safety systems, so that if the driver fails to respond, the car can be brought to a gentle stop with the emergency lights activated (Emergency Driving Stop).
Proactive Driving Assist
The Proactive Driving Assist (PDA) system includes the Obstacle Anticipation Assist, Deceleration Assist and Steering Assist system. The PDA operates at limited speeds, e.g. during city driving. The front camera of the PCS scans the area in front of the car for hazards such as pedestrians about to cross or walking along the roadside, parked cars and cyclists. If there is a risk of collision, the system will support with braking and steering to avoid the obstacle, keeping the car in its lane.
Additional functions for Lexus RZ 450e
The Lexus Safety System + package for the RZ also offers automatic high beams or an adaptive high beam system for automatic beam adjustment to achieve optimum front lighting without dazzling oncoming traffic. The RZ is the first Lexus to be equipped with AHS, with a single bi-projector LED headlamp.
Road Sign Assist (RSA) can recognise and display a wider range of motorway warning and obligation signs. The car’s speed limiter can be linked to the RSA, reducing power to the powertrain and braking if necessary to keep the car within the speed limit on a given road.
The RZ is fully equipped in terms of SRS airbags, including a central airbag between the front seats, which helps protect driver and passenger from colliding with each other in the event of a side impact. A dual-stage airbag for the driver is integrated into the newly developed One Motion Grip steering clutch in the same way as a conventional steering wheel.
The shock-absorbing quality of the car’s chassis has been improved with a new design of the inner door cross-member and pillar bases. The design helps ensure that shock loads are shared by each of the car’s pillars and sills; the pillar bases prevent the wheel arch from being crushed.
With Lexus RZ 450e easy and assisted driving
- Multiple assistance systems for easy and precise manoeuvring
- Easy, automated parking with the Advanced Park system
- e-Latch with Safe Exit Assist, which helps prevent accidents caused by unintentional door opening
In addition to the Lexus Safety System + features, the new RZ offers a wide range of systems to support easy and safe car use: from automatic parking to blind spot monitoring and safe door opening control.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Rear Camera Detection
The driver’s view can be restricted when moving in tight, confined spaces, such as car parks. The RZ uses sonar and cameras that can detect static objects as well as vehicles and pedestrians crossing behind the car (when moving at low speed). If a hazard is detected, an acoustic signal is emitted and a warning is displayed on the multi-information display showing the vehicle’s position in relation to the hazard.
In addition, the Advanced Park system (see below) warns of accidental contact with static objects on either side of the car, using side-mounted sensors and cameras to detect hazards such as bollards when pulling out of a parking space. The Parking Assist Brake controls traction and braking force if there is a risk of contact with pedestrians, objects or approaching vehicles.
Advanced Park takes all the stress out of parking by providing automatic control of the steering, shifting and braking, to move the car smoothly and efficiently in series and parallel parking. The system can recognise up to three regularly used parking spaces.
Lexus e-latch with Safe Exit Assist
The RZ follows the new RX and NX in adopting the practical and simple electronic door-opening system. It is linked to the car’s Blind Spot Monitor and prevents doors opening in the path of bicycles or vehicles approaching from behind. Lexus estimates that this protection can help prevent more than 95 per cent of accidents caused by dangerous door opening. The system can be customised with a choice of three levels of sensitivity.
Panoramic View Monitor
The Panoramic View Monitor uses four cameras and 12 sensors to provide the driver with a 360-degree view of the surroundings and the possibility of a composite view from above. Cameras in the exterior mirrors provide a side view to help monitor lanes and tight spaces, and there is also a ‘clear’ view option underneath the car to monitor the driving surface beneath the car and the position of the wheels. A cornering view provides a diagonal image to facilitate manoeuvring on narrow roads and avoid contact with pavements. A moving view shows the car diagonally from above. A camera wash system keeps the monitor clean, activated when the rear window washer is used.
To try and prevent rear-end collisions, the hazard warning lights can be activated automatically to alert a following vehicle. Designed primarily to alert buses or trucks, the system operates at speeds between 30 and 100 km/h.
In the event of a rear-end collision, a secondary brake will operate automatically to prevent the RZ from being pushed forward against another vehicle.
The RZ is also equipped with Drive Start Control, a function that recognises excessive pressure on the accelerator when the gear selector is used and limits the acceleration itself. lexus.co.uk