The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is the luxury brand’s first electric vehicle. Unsurprisingly, the RZ 450e is based on an e-TNGA architecture similar to parent company Toyota’s first EV, the bZ4X, and Subaru’s Solterra EV. Unsurprisingly, the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e turned out to be the best-looking of the bunch and has genuine substance behind its flashy styling.
Lexus aims to have only battery electric vehicles in its portfolio by 2035, with the RZ 450e helping them achieve a carbon-neutral lineup soon. However, given the brand’s notoriety for starting the “big front grille” trend many years ago, we longed for a radically different Lexus EV. Still, the RZ 450e is off to a good start despite having less power and range than premium rivals like the Genesis GV60 and Cadillac Lyriq.
Dual electric motors, standard AWD
The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e will arrive sporadically in dealerships with two electric motors and a standard all-wheel drive called DIRECT4. Those two engines together generate 308 horsepower that is directed to all four wheels while optimizing traction, drive power and stance control.
Meanwhile, standard torque vectoring can shift 100 percent of the grunt to the front or rear wheels. Lexus claims zero to 60 mph in five seconds, which isn’t bad for a relatively cumbersome crossover. The motors draw power from a 71.4 kWh battery that offers up to 220 miles of range with the standard 18-inch wheels. However, selecting the optional 20-inch wheels results in a dismal 196-mile range.
When the batteries run low, the RZ 450e recharges from zero to 100 percent in 9.5 hours with a Level 2 charger and from zero to 80 percent in about 30 minutes with DC fast charging.
Lexus Driving Signature
Lexus promises an engaging drive with its RZ 450e, and the brand insists that its Lexus Driving Signature philosophy is at the core when making the transition from conventional ICE-powered cars to electric cars. As a result, it has a rigid steel body with high-strength steel body panels and an aluminum hood. In addition, the trailing-arm rear suspension features Frequency Reactive (FRD) dampers for a sportier, more comfortable ride.
Stopping power comes courtesy of an Active Hydraulic Booster-G braking system that communicates with the DIRECT4 transmission and regenerative braking system. Additionally, the Lexus RZ 450e has a steer-by-wire system that turns the front wheels without a mechanical linkage.
It’s hard to deny the origins of the Toyota bz4X when viewed from the sides. The standout giveaways are those black-wrapped fenders, but the spindle front grille’s active shutters and aerodynamic sculpted panels are pure Lexus. In short, it looks more dignified than its Toyota and Subaru stablemates and wears a dressier suit than the Genesis GV60.
Inside, the luxurious cabin of the Lexus RZ 450e will delight the senses. The contact points and expansive dashboard feature premium suede and cowhide materials. Lexus refers to the Japanese concept of “tazuna” (kingdom of horses) and “oto-kukan” (sound space) when describing the RZ 450e’s driving environment. Still, it seems to offer generous legroom and a greater feeling of spaciousness, an essential feature in any luxury vehicle. And in case you need to carry three golf bags, the RZ 450e’s trunk is big enough to accommodate you.
The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e has a large 14-inch touchscreen infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Plus, there’s an available intelligent voice assistant, a head-up display, and a Mark Levinson audio system with 13 speakers. Other nifty features include cloud navigation and digital key functions and remote connection via the Lexus app.
2023 Lexus RZ 450e Safety Features
The Lexus RZ 450e rolls out of the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan with the latest advanced driver assistance features included as part of Lexus Safety System+ 3.0. The package includes dynamic radar cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure alert, traffic signal assist, hazard-avoidance emergency steering assist and more.
2023 Lexus RZ 450e: Pricing and Availability
The Lexus RZ 450e starts at $59,650 for the Premium trim and $65,150 for the top-end Luxury variant. Those MSRP figures include the shipping charge of $1,150. Our free and easy search tools* will determine which dealers in your area offer the best prices on a 2023 Lexus RZ 450e.
Alvin Reyes is a columnist for Automoblog and an expert on sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics and accounting in his youth and is still very much in love with his old Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
Photos and source: Lexus.
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