New Lexus RX 450 e: the brand's first model created exclusively to be electric

Very few manufacturers boast greater experience than Lexus when it comes to electrification.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 March 2023 Wednesday 07:04
22 Reads
New Lexus RX 450 e: the brand's first model created exclusively to be electric

Very few manufacturers boast greater experience than Lexus when it comes to electrification. Toyota's luxury firm accumulates sales of more than 2.4 million electrified vehicles (65,000 of them in Spain). It launched its first hybrid model on the market almost 20 years ago and its commitment to sustainability is unwavering. With such a track record behind them, the appearance of a new emission-free model by this manufacturer must be taken into account by the competition. And, in this case, even more so, since it is a vehicle specifically designed to be electric only.

Silence, comfort, quality and innovation are part of what Lexus calls its "driving signature", a style behind the wheel, behavior and a driving experience with a unique, recognizable stamp that sets it apart from its rivals. In this sense, noise control and acoustic insulation have been fundamental, crucial elements in its development.

Based on the e-TNGA platform, it measures 4.80 meters long and despite its SUV dimensions it has a sedan-like driving arrangement. It is located halfway between an NX and an RX, but although it has the same wheelbase as an RX it is 8 cm shorter. Its boot capacity reaches 522 liters and its total weight is 2,055 kg, a figure that can be considered light for its category.

It is equipped with a 150 kW front motor and a 80 kW rear motor to develop a total power of 230 kW, equivalent to 313 HP of power that allows it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds (it is the second Lexus more than fast). Its standard Direct4 traction system also allows you to control the roll of the body and neutralize the sinking of the nose during acceleration and braking, in such a way that it always remains stable.

It has a 71.4 kWh gross capacity battery (64 net) that gives it between 395 and 440 km of WLTP autonomy, depending on the finish and equipment (size of tires, etc.). This equates to an average consumption of 16.8 to 18.7 kWh.

It has four driving modes (Sport, Normal, ECO and Range), the latter being more restrictive with regard to consumption than ECO, since air conditioning is suppressed and power and maximum speed are limited to 100 km/h for the sake of maximum autonomy.

Its battery is recharged in 6.30h in a three-phase socket or in 10h in a single-phase socket and its capacity is guaranteed by the manufacturer at least 90% for 10 years or up to 1,000,000 km, as long as the client complies with the Annual reviews (or every 15,000 km) in official network establishments according to the brand's maintenance program.

The most innovative and groundbreaking of the RZ450e is its electronic steering system (Steer by Wire). It is a revolutionary solution that does not use a mechanical connection to the wheels and is always accompanied by a butterfly-type steering wheel; a kind of aviation-type control without the upper section that replaces the traditional ring and that is currently offered as an extra, billed at 2,400 euros, but that will not reach the European market until 2025.

When equipped with this unique steering wheel -very similar to that of the Tesla Plaid-, the vehicle offers more control and comfort in its handling, since it hardly requires effort to maneuver, since there is no crossing of hands, the movements are minimal and the Turn ratio, variable according to speed, is up to 18º at high speeds but up to 1:1 at low speeds.

With which, a small hint is enough for the car to turn a lot when driving slowly. The brand also has an impact on improving visibility offered by the steering wheel without the upper section. The sensations are more "natural" once launched, already underway, but it requires a certain adaptation to get used to the direct reactions of the control when rolling at low speed, since the tendency is to have to correct for excessive turning.

Other notable innovations that the RZ 450e presents is radiant heating, which consumes significantly less, or a large 14-inch central touch screen. Inside, the RZ –which responds to the term Radiant Zero– shows a high commitment to sustainable materials since all its upholstery, trim and coverings are of vegetable, not animal origin, with a large presence of recycled materials.

It is already available in Bussines (77,000 euros), Executive (82,500 euros) and Luxury (89,400 euros) finishes, but for 800 euros per month with an entry fee of 18,500 euros, the model is also available, which arrives from April with a sales forecast in Spain of about 100 units by 2023, the production initially assigned to our country by Lexus.