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Spark of Electric Lex – Lexus RZ450e Dynamic Review

The Lexus RZ was a bit of a milestone when it was unveiled last year. The first all-electric offering from a brand which has always been obsessed with “the pursuit of perfection”

I attended the nationwide launch of the RZ family last year and spent a week with the base RZ450e Core before Christmas and, while not perfection, there was still plenty to like overall. The RZ Core was still a solid first attempt by TNZ to give us a bespoke premium feeling EV. However, what happens when the premium part of that statement is amplified somewhat? Enter the flagship RZ450e Dynamic. Let’s see how the range topper compares to the base model.

Of course the RZ not the first all-electric offering to wear the Lexus emblem, that was the UX300e, the BEV variant of the small UX Crossover. The Dynamic namesake will only appear on the RZ as Lexus wish to differentiate the RZ from the likes of its other SUVs, like the RX for example. Talking of its hybrid only sibling, the RZ’s e-TNGA architecture actually sports the same 2850mm as the RX. However, that is where the similarities end.

Like the Core, the Dynamic is more hunkered down to look at than its RX counterpart. Also like the Core, you have the cool looking LED rear light bar with LEXUS lettering logo, twin lips on the roofline and of course, the Lexus spindle grill, which in this case isn’t a grill.

While the overall body design is basically the same, stylistically there are a handful of differences between the Core and Dynamic. The Dynamic stands out with 20-inch black and machined faced alloys and a two-tone Bi-tonal paint scheme. The latter will set you back an extra $2000 on top of the Dynamic’s $151,600 price tag.

The subject of price has been the elephant in the room with the RZ. The Dynamic is a snip over $10k darer than the entry level Core, but when you factor in its nearest rivals in the segment, the premium you pay for the RZ is quite considerable.

Power is identical to the Core with the RZ450e Dynamic getting a 71.4kWh battery pack. The Direct4 AWD system incorporates electric motors, one for each axle sending a fairly substantial 230kW of power and a combined 434Nm of torque. Zero to 100km/h? Try 5.3 seconds, which in anyone’s language is fairly peppy.

Range, according to WTLP statistics, sits at around 395Kms. Around town this is no problem, but I strongly recommend turning on Range mode when on a long journey, as things like the heater, air-con etc will mean that your range will deplete somewhat quicker. You can use both AC and DC fast charging and will give you a full charge in 6.5 hours if you use a 16A AC plug. However, a DC fast charger in 30 minutes can provide you with 80 per cent charge from empty, especially if said charger is one with 150kW.

The interior of the RZ450e Dynamic is very much the same as the Core, but with added luxurious features. There is no denying Lexus have embraced the modernity of the current EV cabin. There is plenty of minimalism while still feeling distinctly Lexus. I also loved the floating centre console, a common trend amongst this market and the new gear selector dial.

However, there is no glove box, as Lexus have got rid of it to increase legroom for the front passenger. In fact there is a decent amount of space all around and numerous places to store stuff. Much like the new RX and NX, I love how the old touchpad which you used to navigate the infotainment system is a thing of the past.

The current 14-inch touch screen system is very easy to get your head around and operate. Its visuals are clear and concise too. However, I find that too many sub-menus exist, especially for changing drive modes. I would much rather have a simple drive mode select switches on that aforementioned centre console.

You get dual zone climate control with Lexus Climate Concierge, one touch door handles, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 4x USB C-ports, sat nav and heated and ventilated seats as standard.

Features like a Pre Collision System with Auto Emergency Braking, Radar Cruise Control with Curve Speed Reduction, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Active Cornering Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Intersection Turn Assist, Panoramic View Monitor with Reversing Camera and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Steering Assist and Driver Monitor are all incorporated in the full Lexus Safety Suite+

The Dynamic also gives you wireless charging, a rather lovely Mark Levinson Premium Sound System and a very cool feature which electronically demists the panoramic roof to let the light in. This was a bit of a party piece when demonstrating it to fellow passengers. Boot space is rated at 530L.

My fondest memory of the RZ Core was the fact it was “chapel like quiet” when on the move. It is very much a case of silent running déjà vu with the Dynamic. Its ability to spool up some meaty electric torque and waft forward while making pretty much no noise at all is mighty impressive. You get used to experiencing a refined drive whenever you sample a Lexus product but the RZ takes this refinement to another level.

Despite the bigger alloys and the lower profiled Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, the Dynamic doesn’t feel any less plush on the tarmac. The ride is sublime. What isn’t so sublime is the Driver Monitoring system which tends to beep every time you take your eyes off the road for what feels like the briefest of moments. Happily however, you can either turn it off or get around it by wearing dark glasses. The latter of which is a big fat maybe.

Despite weighing in at 2640kg, the Dynamic feels, well, dynamic in the corners. It’s no sports SUV by any means but it feels well planted and sprightly even when flexing your big toe a tad on the go-pedal.

However, it is by far the nicest on sedate motorway cruise with the adaptive cruise set just so. If you can live with the slightly smaller range, town to town trips are a sublimely comfortable and soothing practice in the RZ450e Dynamic.

Range and the subject of price aside, the RZ450e Dynamic is still a very good thing. Its extra bits of luxury also make for it to be the one to go for if you wish an RZ to take pride of place if your garage. Basically, it brings what we have grown to love about Lexus and wraps it up in a contemporary and luxurious feeling all-electric package.

RATING: 7.5/10

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