Lexus has dropped a teaser video glimpsing the brand’s first fully electric vehicle to be sold in the U.S. Called the Lexus RZ, it features the angular styling we’ve come to expect from Toyota’s luxury marque, but underneath the sheetmetal we’re probably getting a foundation we’ve seen quite a bit of in recent weeks.
That’s because the Lexus RZ is a third version of the battery-electric crossover co-developed by Toyota and Subaru, recently unveiled as the confusingly named Toyota bZ4X (it always requires a double check of the alphanumeric sequence) and the much better named Subaru Solterra.
All three are built on the e-TNGA platform that will underpin several EV models. However, the Lexus RZ signals a more significant departure from the bZ4X and Solterra, whose differences were quite limited. They looked almost indistinguishable, the only things setting them apart being a mild reshape of the front fasica and taillights, painted wheel arch cladding on the Toyota, and an option for a single-motor 2WD drivetrain on the bZ4X.
The Lexus, on the other hand, seems to wear completely new sheetmetal. Right away, the lack of gray cladding around the wheel wells is apparent. There still appears to be some, but much slimmer than that of the bZ4X and Solterra. A strong character line flows from the leading edge of the front wheel arch to the rear door, where it’s picked by another upturned character line leading into a blacked out C-pillar.
Naturally, the front features a large Lexus spindle grille shape (there doesn’t appear to be an actual open radiator intake, unnecessary for an EV) and unique headlights branded with “L” fishhook DRLs. The rear offers a much sleeker appearance as well, with slim taillights that don’t droop downward into the bodywork. A solid light bar features the word “Lexus” printed across rather than the traditional L-in-a-circle logo.
No details or interior images were shown, but we’d guess that the cabin is quite a bit nicer than the decent but run-of-the-mill cockpit of the bZ4X and Solterra. Lexus has stated it will not offer the single-motor option. However, its Direct4 all-wheel-drive system is a departure from Subaru’s, and the Lexus is said to be capable of 402 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Those figures completely blow the bZ4X and Solterra out of the water.
The RZ is scheduled for an official debut in the first half of 2022.