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Two world premieres for Lexus

By Maxine Ashford | July 6, 2022


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It’s an important year for luxury Japanese carmaker Lexus with not one, but two global premieres to look forward to.

Two world premieres for Lexus

Firstly, we will see the all-new RX which is a large luxury SUV and this will be followed by the RZ 450e which is a new all-electric SUV.

While the RX has been a global favourite since 1998 and sold 3.5 million models worldwide, the latest fifth generation line-up will include a plug-in hybrid version and is being seen as pivotal to Lexus’ electrified strategy.

There will be three electrified powertrains to choose from – the RX 500h performance hybrid, RX 450h plug-in hybrid electric and RX 350h hybrid electric.

But it’s not just the powertrains that are new, the 2022 RX boasts a powerful, fresh look with more dynamic design cues without losing its Lexus identity.

Koji Sato, President of Lexus International, said: “For the all-new RX we were determined to keep the Lexus DNA of supreme quality, ride comfort and refinement and elevate the driving experience to the next level, delivering a unique Lexus driving signature.”

The driver-focused cockpit is pure luxury throughout with an emphasis on comfort. It features a new 14-inch multimedia touchscreen with the convenience of over-the-air updates. A smart voice assistant system is summoned by saying ‘Hey Lexus’ and it responds to questions and commands. And high grade models gain the outstanding, pitch perfect 21-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.

All models feature a wealth of safety specifications including the clever e-latch system. This is linked to the vehicle’s blind spot monitoring set-up and prevents the door from being opened into the path of a cyclist or passing car.

The car has also shed some weight and is now 90kg lighter than the outgoing model, and by lowering the height by 10mm, it boasts a more dynamic appearance, along with a lower centre of gravity.

According to Lexus, the increased wheelbase, along with an upgraded suspension system, result in improved balance, grip and handling.

Performance figures impress with the RX 500h (with 366bhp) delivering a 0-62mph sprint time of just 5.9 seconds. The RX 450h+ is slightly slower but offers tempting running costs, especially for business drivers, with a combined 235.4-256.8mpg and carbon emissions of 24-26g/km.

Next up is the RZ 450e, the first Lexus to be built on a fresh platform that is dedicated to electric vehicles and this car is new from the ground up. But designers and engineers were determined that this electric Lexus would still feature all the comfort, driving enjoyment and performance that its customers have become accustomed to.

Chief Engineer Takashi Watanabe explained: “Our vision is to use electrification technology as a means to enhance basic vehicle performance, so that we can continue to pursue driving pleasure for all future generations.”

The RZ 450e features an advanced powertrain with optional by-wire steering with a new One Grip Yoke (from 2023 in the UK) and front and rear e-Axles that work in conjunction with the new DIRECT4 all-wheel drive torque control.

A long wheelbase, low centre of gravity and excellent body rigidity guarantee strong performance and handling ability. 

The lithium-ion battery is fully integrated into the chassis, beneath the cabin floor and that means there is bundles of space within the car for occupants and their luggage.

The new e-TNGA platform, along with the battery electric drivetrain also open up more opportunities for designers. A first glance in the direction of the RZ 450h and you will notice a reinterpretation of the signature Lexus spindle shape and a sign of things to come.

The RZ is seen as the next step in Lexus’ mission to of becoming a 100 per cent BEV brand in Western and Central Europe by 2030.

Prices of both the new RX and RZ models, along with trim specifications and delivery dates, will be announced in due course.

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