This Article

Production 2023 Lexus RZ revealed, brand doubles down on EVs

Toyota wasn’t the only brand that got some time in the spotlight during the company’s media briefing on its strategy for battery-electric vehicles. Lexus also got a lot of attention because its electrification plans are a little more aggressive than its parent’s. We also got our first look at its first EV, the 2023 Lexus RZ. It will be the first vehicle shown as part of the Lexus Electrified initiative, which will eventually see the addition of 13 new all-electric models across the brand’s global lineup.

The 2023 Lexus RZ is essentially the production version of the LF-Z Electrified Concept. Obviously, it’s been tamed down versus the show car and now has four doors. It still retains a low-slung roofline but it’s not as dramatic as the concept car it’s based on. The headlights are thicker and the LED daytime running lights are now housed within the cluster. You still get the spindle outline only this time there’s no grille in the front fascia since EVs don’t require much cooling. The air curtains with black accents, on the other hand, remain. In a way, the RZ looks like a mini RX, which isn’t a bad thing considering that is Lexus’ bestselling vehicle. Most of the design cues from the RX have been shrunken down to a more compact vehicle but the distinctiveness remains.

As Lexus electrifies its lineup, it intends to keep its so-called “driving signature” intact. That means the vehicle should feel connected, the power delivery and brake feel must be linear, and it must have good handling. This will culminate in the creation of a battery-electric sports car previewed by Electrified Sport Concept, which will build on the formula started by the LFA. Lexus says the production version will accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in the low 2.0-second range and have a range of 700 km or 435 miles per charge thanks to solid-state batteries.

The Electrified Sport has the traditional proportions of a sports car like a cab-rearward design and a long hood. It appears to have ditched the spindle outline that the RZ has or completely reworked it to allow for more cooling and/or better aerodynamics. Tiered LED headlights are nestled within openings on the outer part of the front fascia while the lower section has a large opening.

Alongside the production RZ and the Electrified Sport Concept, Lexus also showed off the Electrified Sedan and Electrified SUV prototypes. The former appears to be an all-electric take on the IS sedan based on its shape and what appears to be compact dimensions while the latter is a three-row crossover likely intended for markets like North America and China. The Electrified Sedan may be a sporty model because it has the same front-end treatment as the Electrified Sport. This time, it’s a little tamer but still hints at its performance-oriented nature with large openings for additional cooling and vents on the hood.

The Electrified SUV looks like an upsized RZ featuring the same grille-free spindle pattern and black trim on the outer part of the front fascia with air curtains. The headlights also look similar but the clusters are smaller and have a different pattern. Its greenhouse is more upright, hinting at the Electrified SUV being more family-oriented.

These four vehicles were the highlights for the Lexus brand but there were more. In one of the photos released by Toyota, there were three other vehicles alongside the four shown in the presentation. One appears to be a compact model, similar in size to the NX sporting the same front end as the Electrified SUV and the 2023 RZ. The other is a low-slung coupe-like wagon that may be a hint of a more utilitarian version of the Electrified Sedan. As for the convertible in the far left, it looks like a 2+2, meaning it’s not a variant of the Electrified Sport. This car is likely a grand tourer, think all-electric Lexus LC instead of a topless version of a GR Supra.

In the very back of the Lexus EV family photo, there are six other vehicles cloaked in shadows. From what we can tell, one is a sedan and the rest are crossovers. The three to the left are subcompact and compact models while the two to the right are mid-size vehicles, a two-row and a three-row respectively. We’re not sure whether these vehicles are on a dedicated EV platform or not but this is proof that Toyota is finally getting serious with electric vehicles.

Lexus intends to have a full lineup of battery-electric models in all segments by 2030. It also wants to have EVs account for 100 percent of sales in Europe, North America, and China, which should total 1 million units globally. By 2035, EVs will have 100 percent of their global sales. Between Toyota and Lexus, a total of 30 EVs will be launched through 2030 in both retail and commercial sectors. In total, Toyota will spend 8 trillion Yen, which is equivalent to $70 billion, to launch its EV lineup.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
Follow Author
Receive weekly updates on each of our electrifying articles.