The yoke’s on them.
The upcoming Lexus RZ450e has been teased ahead of its April 20 reveal, and an interior photo reveals it’ll use a controversial steering yoke.
It’s not the first EV from Lexus, however – that title belongs to the small UX300e, based on the combustion-powered UX series.
Polarising yoke aside, the interior will look familiar to owners of the new NX with a similarly-shaped dashboard and other details common to the petrol/hybrid mid-sized SUV.
These include a centre stack angled towards the driver and featuring a large touchscreen running Lexus’ new-generation infotainment system, as well as a centre console with squared-off cupholders and a gloss black array encircling the shifter.
Another familiar Lexus touch is the instrument cluster, which features a single, circular dial in the centre.
The exterior teaser Lexus released is less revealing, however the company had already released a series of images earlier this year showing an RZ looking production-ready.
As with the interior, there’s a strong familial resemblance to other Lexus models with the RZ’s exterior.
In particular, the little uptick of the belt line at the C-pillar appears to pay homage to the RX, and the RZ has an evolved version of that car’s floating roof.
It also has a more steeply raked tailgate and sits lower to the ground to improve aerodynamics.
As with all the latest Lexus models, the corporate logo has been replaced with a Lexus wordmark across the tailgate, while there’s also a full-width lighting assembly.
While there’s no opening, the spindle-shaped surface area on the RZ’s front fascia ties it in with other members of the Lexus range.
The RZ will be available with the new Direct4 all-wheel drive system.
At a European event at the beginning of December 2021, Lexus Europe head Pascal Ruch said the RZ will have a different character to the bZ4X and Solterra, and Direct4 can “instantly shift between front-, rear- and all-wheel drive as circumstances dictate” so the RZ will have “incredible cornering and roadholding”.
Speaking with Koji Sato, president of Lexus, while driving the new RZ Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s CEO, noted that “while I do feel the 4 wheel contact sensation… this car feels a bit heavy”.
Those thoughts disappeared when he Toyoda-san mashed the accelerator pedal to floor.
The CEO then exclaimed “I’m seeing a whole new side of this car now!”
Details about the RZ450e’s drivetrain have yet to be revealed, but it’s possible it will be gutsier than the 160kW dual-motor setup available in the bZ4X and Solterra.
The AWD bZ4X and Solterra boast a 0-100km/h time of 7.7s, and a range of 460km from its 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Both the Solterra and bZ4X support AC charging up to 6.6kW, and DC charging at up to 150kW.
Over the past few months, Lexus has released teasers of a range of electric vehicles including a successor to the LFA supercar, a mid-sized sports sedan that could succeed the IS, and a large, three-row crossover.
Lexus is planning to stop production of internal combustion-engine vehicles by 2035. In some markets, it’ll transition completely to electric vehicles as soon as 2030.
Before then, Lexus Australia wants 80 per cent of its sales by 2025 to come from cars running either hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV), or battery electric (BEV) drivetrains – making petrol-only offerings a sliver of its volume.
This is well up on its record 39 per cent hybrid share achieved in 2021.
MORE: Lexus gives closer look at electric supercar
MORE: Lexus reveals more of its Tesla Model X rival
MORE: Lexus Australia keen for electric IS successor, more images revealed
MORE: Lexus Australia seeks to double hybrid, BEV share by 2025