Lexus’ latest electric car borrows a controversial feature from Tesla

Toyota-owned luxury automaker Lexus has lifted the lid on its latest electric car – and it’s taking design inspiration from the Tesla Model S Plaid in particular.

While delivering admittedly impressive performance (which we’ll detail below), the Lexus RZ 450e also offers the most maligned interior features: a steering yellow.

Criticized for their lack of circular grip and awkward handling in low-speed urban driving environments, steering yokes are more commonly found in airplanes – although they are, at least, just a optional extra in the RZ 450e.

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Close up of Lexus RZ 450e Fork Tilt Flywheel

(Photo credit: Lexus)
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Close up of Lexus RZ 450e forked steering wheel

(Photo credit: Lexus)
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Side view of forked steering wheel from open driver's door

(Photo credit: Lexus)
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Driver's view of the clevis steering wheel and large center display in the Lexus RZ 450e clevis steering wheel close-up

(Photo credit: Lexus)
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Full width view of dashboard inside Lexus RZ 450e caliper steering wheel closeup

The steering yoke is only an option though… (Photo credit: Lexus)
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Lexus RZ 450e traditional steering wheel

… a standard steering wheel is standard (Photo credit: Lexus)

Wheel grips are aside, however, and Lexus’ latest electric offering is a hulking beast. Sure, it looks pretty similar to many of the brand’s combustion engine offerings – as well as its closely related Subaru sibling, the Solterra – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The RZ 450e is sleek, aggressive and distinct enough to stand alongside its German-made electric counterparts (it at least puts the monstrous BMW XM to shame).

Under the hood – or rather in the floor of the car itself – drivers will have a 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery (the same one used in the Toyota bZ4X) offering, according to Lexus, more than 250 miles of range. The company has yet to share EV charging speeds, though we expect the RZ 450e to come equipped, like its Japanese siblings, with 150kW charging capabilities.

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Lexus’ latest will also launch with the brand’s “Direct4” four-wheel-drive powertrain, giving drivers two electric motors delivering a combined 308 hp and 321 lb-ft of torque.

According to the company, this performance will allow the RZ 450e to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.6 seconds, which is faster than the Audi Q4 E-tron 50 Quattro.

Angled view from the rear of the Lexus RZ 450e

(Photo credit: Lexus)

Inside the cabin, the RZ 450e packs all the tech trimmings we’ve come to expect from high-end EVs of late, including a slick 14-inch touchscreen.

Features such as a dimmable panoramic roof and heaters will also be standard, while the car is fitted with Lexus’ Safe Exit Assist system, which prevents doors from opening into the path of vehicles and cyclists. approaching from behind.

There’s been no word yet on the launch price of the Lexus RZ 450e, but we’re betting a figure higher than $80,000 / £60,000 / AU$110,000, given the price of its engined predecessor. combustion engine, the Lexus RX.

It’s no small change by any means, but the RZ 450e will inevitably undercut the price of high-end electric offerings from Tesla, Mercedes and BMW. On paper, then, it’s definitely worth considering – don’t go for the steering yellow.

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