Lexus RZ 450e, we tested the steering wheel and the direction of the future

For its first platform-specific electric SUV, Lexus is playing the forerunners by inaugurating a butterfly-shaped steering wheel and an electronic steering, with no mechanical link. A start to the future?

Lexus likes to be a pioneer. As proof, the Japanese manufacturer is the first of the premiums to bet on the hybrid in 2025. However, he took his time before switching to electricity, leaving the competition behind.

Patience assumed by the leaders of the brand, and in particular by the Frenchman Pascal Ruch, vice president of Lexus Europe: “96% of Lexus sales in Western Europe are electrified, with mostly hybrid models but also slightly plug-in and electric hybrids for 2 years with the Ux300e. We were waiting for electricity because we did not want to anticipate the needs of our customers, and we wanted to meet the needs of our consumers when the electricity infrastructure in Europe had reached maturity. » he justifies.

It’s good to know: anticipate buying and reselling.

It is possible to know the resale or exchange value of your vehicle thanks to the auto Turbo rating of your Lexus RZ, the alternative to the Argus rating.

A less busy style

So the time has come. And Lexus is embarking on the battle with its first electric model with a dedicated platform, the RZ. A coupe SUV, one more on the market, with a less tortured design than usual for the premium brand of the Toyota group. Especially in front with a softer face, less adorned with chrome, and especially on the back with a dynamic stylealmost Lamborghini Urus style with roof spoiler and light strip.

The real revolution of the RZ is not in its pencil stroke, neither on the outside nor on the inside. The habitability is generous for this imposing family vehicle of 4.81 m (between NX and RX), the quality of the finish is excellent even in its pre-series versions and the technological endowment largely corresponds to it. The inevitable 14-inch touch screen sit well in the middle of the board and the panoramic roof It is equipped with a shut-off function to prevent sunburn.

Electronic butterfly

No, the revolution has been taking place in the driver’s seat ever sincea strange steering wheel takes place in front of the on-board digital instrumentation. In the shape of a butterfly, similar to that of an F1 car, this yoke-style steering wheel like Tesla has another peculiarity. That of being electrically connected to the front wheels.

Mechanical connection point, magic works easily. The steering wheel is connected to an electrical block, connected itself to another motor in charge of transmitting the movement of the direction. And for the driving experience to be natural, Artificial force feedback is generated on the steering wheel, tightening the direction if necessary. Just like in driving simulators and game consoles.

In practice, the first few meters are quite rare. At low speed, the first turn can be surprising the reduction that doubles compared to a normal steering wheel car. The hoop, or rather the rectangle, only rotates 150 degreestherefore, strong movements of the steering wheel must be avoided so as not to cause marked movements of the steering wheel.

Mercedes EQS SUV, Lexus RZ 450 e, car sharing lanes – Zapping TURBO from 05/01/2022

The future is now

But as the speed increases, and the habit settles in, everything becomes lighter and the journey becomes exactly as usual. Without being the most accurate in the world, especially in the midpoint, theThe management offers a good feeling and allows the driver to link turns without ever detecting the slightest difference.

And the butterfly shape will force the most dissipated keep both hands on the wheel, at least to play, for a moment, F1 driver (in dreams). O king of the niche because even for maneuvers, the system comes out with honors. No need to fight behind the wheeljust find the right angle and you’re done!

Enemies of progress, rest assured, this very special technology is approved with emergency system. And above all it is an option. The RZ is too available with normal steering wheel and classic mechanical steering. The future yes, but not mandatory!

On average

Finally, the only obligation with the RZ 450e will be to choose the engine of 313 horsepower (435 Nm of torque). Or rather the two electric blocks, 204 horsepower at the front and 109 horsepower at the rear, powered by a 71.4 kWh battery offering a WLTP autonomy of at least 400 km.

Therefore, the 4-wheel-drive coupe SUV benefits from a slightly lower capacity than the competition, but which, according to Lexus, should be offset by higher efficiency and therefore less mixed consumption. To check in a classic course!

On the other hand, and this is where we least expected it, the RZ is accelerating sharply since it crashed. From 0 to 100 km / h in 5.6 seconds for the maximum speed limited to 160 km / h. Not bad for a big baby 2.3 tonsfar from being ridiculous in dynamic driving.

Lexus RZ 450e datasheet
Tested model: Lexus RZ 450e
Dimensions L x W x H 4,805 / 1,895 / 1,635m
wheelbase 2,850 m
Unloaded weight About 2,300 kg
Engines 204 hp front + 109 hp rear = 313 hp
Engine power 160 hp at 4,000 rpm
Couple 435 Nm
From 0 to 100 km / h 5.6 s
top speed 160 km / h
Battery capacity 71.4 kWh
WLTP autonomy More than 400 km

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