Lexus RZ is a fully electric SUV and offers a steering yoke, as an option

Lexus has pulled the covers from the new Lexus RZ, a new fully electric SUV designed to offer a premium electric car experience. The new model has been designed from the ground up to be an electric car – there’s no combustion versions of this model.

It’s based on the e-TNGA platform – the same as the Toyota bZ4X and the Subaru Solterra – with the battery packed into the floor beneath the passenger cabin.

It will be all-wheel drive, using a new DIRECT4 system, with a pair of e-Axles. This means that there’s a motor, gearing and the ECU between the wheels for direct control. There’s a 150kW motor on the front axle and 80kW motor on the rear axle.

The battery capacity is 71.4kWh. Lexus hasn’t confirmed the charging times for the battery, but we know that 150kW charging is supported on this platform, so it might be the same. The only given range so far is “more than 400km” (250 miles).

The given performance is 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds.

Moving on to the design and at a glance you can tell it’s a Lexus from the nose, although it’s filled in a little without the need to suck in all that air for cooling. It’s a sleek looking thing with an interesting split rear roof spoiler giving a unique look.

Also unique is the option for the One Motion Grip steering yoke instead of a conventional wheel. This lends to the futuristic looks, and is a steer by wire system. Lexus says that it requires less steering effort with the yoke, avoiding hand-over-hand turning, while offering a better view of the driver display.

Exactly how drivers would take to changing such a fundamental aspect of car control remains to be seen – but it is optional and we don’t know where it will be available.

Elsewhere, the interior is designed around the driver, with a 14-inch central display and simple dial to select the drive mode, in an otherwise modern design.

There’s the option for a dimmable panoramic roof, while there are radiant heaters around knee level to improve the comfort of front passengers.

Sized as it is, it looks like the Lexus RZ will compete with the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Audi Q4 e-tron or Kia EV6.

The order books are now open for the Lexus RZ and asking for a £500 deposit (in the UK). The final pricing is still to be confirmed, but it looks like an interesting addition for the Lexus family.

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