The bad news first! Potential customers still have to wait around two years for the new high-tech “steer by wire” steering system in the new Lexus RZ 450e electric crossover. What sounds unspectacular and overly technical at first is a quantum leap into the future in the automotive industry, because until now the rigid connection between the steering wheel and the front axle was mandatory. Power steering, variable gear ratio and electric assistance – all of this has been around for a long time, but in 2025 the Lexus RZ 450e will be one of the first production models with purely electric steering without this rigid connection. This not only saves installation space in the front end, but also enables a completely new steering feel. Two two and a half revolutions will be enough in the future for short movements in the hands and forearms that the front axle hits the maximum and the car drives jaggedly around the corner.

But there are still two years to go and the Lexus RZ 450e can definitely shine with more than its future steering. Its electric all-wheel drive is mandatory. Unlike the related Toyota bz4x, which with its 4.69 meters is shorter than the 4.81 meter long Lexus, the luxury model is obligatorily driven on both axles. Surprisingly and in contrast to most of the competitors, the significantly more powerful engine is installed on the front axle of the RZ 450e. While the front electric motor has an output of 150 kW / 204 hp, the rear axle only has 80 kW / 109 hp. This is surprising because the Lexus offers its pilot a largely variable power distribution; in range mode for maximum range and a speed limit of 100 km/h, however, all of the power flows to the rear axle.

The Lexus RZ 450e does not want to be an athlete and a top speed of just 160 km/h, which is limited too early, is not only clearly too little in the premium segment, but the 2.1-ton all-wheel drive vehicle sprints from a standing start with its total of 230 kW / 313 hp from a standstill to 100 km/h in a brisk 5.3 seconds. Fast or brisk are hardly his favorite disciplines? Preferably as a cruiser and the electric Japanese can do that really well. The cabin is well insulated, so the RZ 450e moves as quietly as a whisper, even at a brisk pace, and the occupants are hardly forced to push the excellent Merk-Levinson sound system with its 13 speakers to its limits. The battery capacity is similarly limited, because 64 kWh of the 71.4 kWh battery size can be used and a second battery variant is not even available for an extra charge. Therefore, the 20-inch volume wheel set is already over at a range of around 400 kilometers. And the maximum charging speed of 150 kW is not much for a vehicle that will be on international roads in April / May 2023. It can be assumed that Toyota will adjust this via a radio update (over the air) in good time so that the charging station is even faster.

Despite a lot of wasted space due to the gently sloping windscreen and the powerful dashboard, the space is generous for a car that is significantly shorter than five meters. The seats are comfortable, leave potential in the adjustment range and only annoy in itself that Lexus only allows its customers a limited choice of materials. Leather, previously mandatory on most of the luxury Lexus models, has been eliminated and replaced with fabric or leatherette. Both fine – but not to be compared with the noble animal skins, which show off their tough qualities, especially in older vehicles. The instrumentation is also not convincing. The 14-inch central screen fits just like the head-up display, which reflects the most important information in the driver’s field of vision, but the instrument cavity behind the steering wheel is confusing and gloomy.

The basic package in the Lexus RZ 450e, which costs at least 68,000 euros, offers everything you need for a modern electric crossover – the 18-inch models alone seem a bit tired and an electric tailgate shouldn’t have been standard in this league for a long time. However, most customers will opt for the Executive and Luxury versions, which cost between 72,600 and 78,100 euros with 20-inch rims, electric tailgate and head-up display.