Within the stunning metropolis of Aix-en-Provence within the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur area of Southern France, Lexus, the posh model of the mighty Toyota Motor Company, assembled worldwide media to unveil the all-new electrical crossover Lexus RZ 450e. The RZ 450e is a landmark mannequin for the model, as it’s the first Lexus to be designed from the outset as a battery-electric automobile.
Why Aix-en-Provence? Maybe as a result of the outstanding historical past of the town runs parallel to the outstanding rise of the Lexus model. Aix-en-Provence was the birthplace of Put up-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. Throughout our time there, we have been handled to a strolling tour of components of the town the place Cezanne’s childhood house, Jas de Bouffan, and his former studio Atelier Cezanne are positioned. The gorgeous white sandstone cliffs of Mount Sainte-Victoire overlooking the town have been frequent topics of Cezanne’s works.
The Lexus story, whereas not historic, could be very spectacular as properly. In 1990, Lexus entered a luxurious market within the U.S. dominated by Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and BMW. Lexus hit the bottom working with fashions that supplied luxe interiors, first rate styling, and most significantly, ultra-reliable drivetrains. Lexus is now a most well-liked luxurious model, with very excessive resale values.
The RZ is the most recent electrified automobile within the Lexus lineup, which incorporates seven hybrid and plug-in hybrid automobiles. The portfolio enlargement strikes Lexus towards one other important objective: the conclusion of a sustainable international society. Lexus intends to contribute to a carbon-neutral society by aiming to supply 100% BEVs globally by 2035.
The assertion “aiming to supply 100% BEVs by 2035” makes a complete lot of sense as “aiming” is the important thing operative phrase. Frankly, if by 2035 the infrastructure and demand for EVs is solely not there amongst customers in giant numbers, Lexus and Toyota have an “out,” as their hybrid automobiles provide excellent gasoline economic system, and have lessened influence on the pure assets wanted to make a battery electrical automobile. For instance, Toyota can construct 90 Prius Hybrids with the nickel, copper, cobalt, lithium, manganese, and graphite wanted to make a full-electric automobile battery-pack for one full-electric automobile. Toyota additionally gives one other “inexperienced” vehicle the hydrogen-powered Mirai.
So what’s the RZ all about? It’s a true Lexus in each sense of the phrase. Lexus is now recognized, along with stellar reliability, for its excessive expertise. With the RZ 450e, all of it begins with the brand new e-TNGA automobile platform.
The light-weight platform employs high-tensile metal panels and an aluminum hood to scale back weight and enhance rigidity. To affix the physique and platform, progressive applied sciences, together with laser screw welding and laser peening, short-pitch spot welds, and high-rigidity enlargement joints are employed.
The light-weight platform gives enhanced stability and experience consolation by mounting the battery pack underneath the automobile flooring, making a low heart of gravity which interprets into higher dealing with.
RZ 450e Street Manners
RZ 450e highway manners are spectacular, however some will scoff on the mid-pack EPA estimated vary numbers. The 71.4 kWh 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack delivers 308 horsepower and a 0-60 acceleration time of 5.0 seconds. It has an EPA-estimated vary score of as much as 220 miles when outfitted with 18” wheels and an EPA-estimated MPGe score of 115/98/107 (metropolis/freeway/mixed). With the 20” wheels on premium trim ranges, the RZ has an EPA-estimated MPGe of 102/87/95 with an EPA-estimated vary of as much as 196 miles.
The RZ 450e makes use of DIRECT4, an all-wheel drive system first launched with the 2023 Lexus RX, which contains a rear eAxle coupled with the engine and entrance motor. RZ’s DIRECT4 system makes use of two high-output, high-torque eAxle models that every drive a wheelset, one within the entrance (150-kW) and the opposite on the rear (80-kW).
On the roads of Southern France, we discovered the general dealing with and experience high quality to be excellent. Lexus will provide a steer-by-wire system on the RZ, and we have been lucky to check that system again to again with normal electrical rack and pinion steering. The steer-by-wire system makes use of an aircraft-style yoke steering system that Lexus calls “One Movement Grip,” and lock-to-lock steering will be completed with a 180-degree flip of the yoke. It takes a short while to get used to the system, as small inputs imply lots of front-wheel journey, however as soon as acclimated, it’s spectacular and a characteristic I might go for.
RZ 450e Styling
The brand new RZ 450e is in a phrase, beautiful. Lexus’ identifiable spindle grille is changed by the Lexus spindle physique, as launched with the 2023 Lexus RX, showcasing a particular roof spoiler to suppress aerodynamic drive. The roof, trunk and undercover are formed to scale back aerodynamic drag and permit air to stream easily throughout the automobile.
Having no engine to chill ends in a low hood design and minimal entrance grille opening. The grille makes use of a grille shutter to enhance aerodynamic effectivity. When cooling air is just not required, the grille shutter is closed to scale back air resistance.
An out there illuminated entrance “L” emblem signifies charging standing and homes a millimeter wave radar sensor for dynamic cruise management. The Lexus emblem resides on the horizontal rear mixture lamps. The lowered heart portion of the crimson lens accentuates the brand sort and emphasizes a pointy look.
RZ 450e Inside
The RZ 450e inside is predicated on the idea of Tazuna, or a horse’s rein. It contains a driver-focused inside format impressed by the communicative relationship between horse and rider. Key Tazuna components embody steering wheel-mounted switches, an optimally positioned instrument panel for an improved discipline of view, and an out there 10-inch head-up show.
My favourite inside characteristic is the spectacular Dynamic Sky panoramic glass sunroof. The non-compulsory roof is a will need to have, because it eliminates the normal rolling sunshade in favor of a smart-function low-e coating that suppresses radiant warmth on scorching summer time days. If it’s an excessive amount of gentle or warmth coming in, a dimming operate which immediately reduces the quantity of sunshine getting into the inside.
One other tremendous cool inside characteristic is the radiant heaters for the driving force and entrance passenger. Situated beneath the steering column and dashboard, the system makes use of 8% much less power than typical local weather management programs.
After all, the remainder of the inside is full-luxe in typical Lexus style. And with out the noise of an inner combustion engine and further efforts to fight cabin noise by Lexus designers and engineers, the inside is serene. Lexus adopted the Japanese idea of Oto-Kukan (sound house) when fine-tuning inside sound and noise ranges. Noise abatement options embody a slimmer A-pillar cross-section to scale back wind noise; a steady hood seal rubber that reduces wind entry and turbulence; sound-dampening carpets, glass, and foam; and Energetic Sound Management that directs EV system sound frequencies into the cabin to cancel out undesirable outdoors noises.
Mark Levinson premium audio, a 14-inch high-definition touchscreen with cloud navigation, digital key, distant join and distant charging, and several other security and repair join options are normal or out there tools. 5 USB ports and wi-fi charging up entrance present myriad choices to maintain your Android or Apple merchandise absolutely charged.
The RZ has three inside coloration choices: Thunderstorm and Macadamia, Palomino, and Dapple Grey. Ambient illumination compliments the inside with a thematic multi-color choice normal on the Luxurious grade that provides customers a alternative of fifty colours and 14 themes. An all-new and normal Shadow Illumination creates an ornamental sample on the door trim.
Premium grade interiors have NuLuxe trim, whereas Ultrasuede trim, an upholstery materials comprised of bio-based sustainable supplies, is normal on Luxurious grade. As well as, Luxurious grade additionally has out there all-new “Tsuyasumi” movie, which brings a shiny charcoal impact to the middle console. The movie overlays layers of particular person veins and a pure cinder-like black coloration to create the ultimate extremely textured, trendy expression.
RZ 450e Security
Lexus has been a world chief in security, and the brand new RZ 450e retains that crucial issue a significant precedence with the usual Lexus Security System+ 3.0. The system contains:
- Pre-Collison System with Pedestrian Detection
- Danger Avoidance Emergency Steer Help
- Left Flip Oncoming Car Detection and Braking
- All Velocity Dynamic Radar Cruise Management
- Lane Hint Help
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Help
- Street Signal Help
- Proactive Driving Help
Moreover, anticipated security gadgets like a number of airbags, digital stability management, and anti-lock brakes are normal tools. The e-Latch digital door launch system with Protected Exit Help helps forestall accidents brought on by opening a door into the trail of approaching automobiles or cyclists. Nice characteristic!
RZ 450e Charging
The RZ comes with a Degree 1 vehicle-charging cable for 120v shops, and collaborating Lexus sellers provide an choice to buy a ChargePoint Residence Flex Degree 2 charger on the dealership or straight from ChargePoint on-line. With the ChargePoint charger, count on as much as 25 miles of vary per hour. Below best situations, the RZ can cost from 0-100% in roughly 9.5 hours with a Degree 2 charger and from 0-80% in roughly half-hour with a DC quick charger.
RZ 450e homeowners and lessees have entry to a concierge visitor expertise with a devoted workforce out there through cellphone to reply BEV questions.
RZ 450e homeowners are additionally enrolled within the all-new Lexus Reserve program, which supplies an unique complimentary rental service to anybody who purchases/leases the 2023 mannequin. The dealer-based Lexus Reserve program awards visitors with 30 complimentary reserve days for use over the course of three years from the date of buy/lease.
RZ 450e Pricing
The 2023 RZ is obtainable in three trims:
- Premium with 18-inch wheels – $59,650
- Premium with 20-inch wheels – $60,890
- Luxurious – $65,150
Supply, Processing, and Dealing with charges complete $1,150.
The all-new 2023 Lexus RZ 450e represents the “Subsequent Chapter” of electrified for the model. Based mostly on the excellence the brand new RZ gives, the way forward for the Subsequent Chapter is vibrant.
After departing stunning Aix-en-Provence, we traveled to Marseille.
Marseille is a port metropolis in southern France, and has been a crossroads of immigration and commerce since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C. At its coronary heart is the Vieux-Port (Previous Port), the place fishmongers promote their catch alongside the boat-lined quay. It’s an excellent strolling metropolis with myriad landmarks, nice eating places, and a vibrant nightlife scene.
We stayed on the ultra-luxe Intercontinental Lodge, with gorgeous views of this stunning metropolis.