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Lexus RZ450e Review: Developed From Deep Experience

With all of Lexus' experience in hybrids, it has created its first interpretation of what a BEV should be like.
James Wong
James Wong
07 Aug 2023
... enthusiasts would be keen to note that there are Yamaha performance dampers installed in the front and rear of the car to aid in handling.
What we like:
Excellent refinement even when compared among other BEVs
Brake and throttle pedal feel is top class precision
What we dislike:
Some interior parts feel below par
Infotainment system can be confusing to operate

The RZ is the first ground-up EV developed by Lexus built on the eTNGA, a BEV specific platform. As we know, when Lexus sets out to do something like that they aim to hit the ball out of the park.

The RZ has mostly succeeded in doing so. Although having to deal with the weight of batteries, the RZ rides better than the current generation RX. It has ‘frequency reactive’ damper suspension wizardry to thank for this, which alters the damping force according to the road. It’s close to the hallmark Lexus comfort that we’re expecting.

Its controls are so well-tuned that there really is no problem transiting between this and an ICE car. Its brake pedal feel, for example, is one of the most natural I’ve ever come across in an BEV, even though it has to juggle between regeneration and actual braking. The only other car that comes close in this aspect is the Porsche Taycan. Lexus’ technology to make this happen is called Braking Posture Control, which involves a newly developed pressurisation unit to coordinate front and rear regenerative braking through independent front and rear hydraulics. It has been developed from Lexus’ experience from its hybrids.

Its throttle pedal feel is also measured and not like the on-off switch that you may find in many EVs. This makes for smooth, assured progress that’s totally on-brand to Lexus.

Make no mistake though, the car is pretty quick even though it feels very serene, accomplishing 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds with 309 hp and 435 Nm of torque. It is also a tidy handler, and enthusiasts would be keen to note that there are Yamaha performance dampers installed in the front and rear of the car to aid in handling. With a dual motor setup that is able to transfer up to 80% of power to the rear, there is always plenty of grip at hand. We do not get the headline-grabbing Steer-by-Wire system including the steering yoke just yet, but Lexus says it will arrive in the near future.

The refinement is also worth mentioning, with exceptional quietness most of the time and hardly any wind noise. One of the measures Lexus has taken to reduce noise is to install a seal around the entire hood opening to help block outflow of air from gaps around the hood.

With a WLTP range of 440 km, the RZ is perfectly usable for a couple of days without needing a charge. It is equipped with AC and DC charging, the latter allowing a maximum charging speed of up to 150 kW.

There are some innovations about the RZ that make it stand out. For one, its panoramic roof is made of low emissivity glass that cuts UV by 99%, so it never feels hot at all despite lending a wonderful brightness to the cabin. It is also instantly dimmable, which is definitely a party trick that will wow passengers.

Instead of going for traditional leather, Lexus has taken the bold approach to use ‘Ultrasuede’ for its seating surfaces. To me, it feels wonderful and refreshingly different. On a hot day, it doesn’t heat up as quickly as leather, too. And to get you cooled down pronto, there is Lexus Climate Concierge that coordinates the air-conditioning and seat ventilation to make sure you are nice and comfortable. It also detects automatically if there are occupants at the rear seats, and switches off the rear AC if there is nobody.

And when it gets dark, you can see Lexus’ innovative approach to ambient lighting, which is projected onto the doors like an artful light show.

Overall, The RZ presents a very credible option in the BEV market, offering Lexus values that dovetails very nicely with an electric drivetrain. We can’t wait to see more.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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