Lexus has just unveiled its radical LF-Z electric SUV concept that hopes to shine a light on the luxury brand’s future of performance, styling, and technology.
The electrified concept is expected to be built on Toyota’s latest e-TNGA platform, an all-electric chassis architecture that will serve as the base for many of the Japanese firm’s future EV models.
Drive will come from a rear-mounted electric motor and a liquid-cooled 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack that produces a highly charged 400kW and 700Nm.
Power will be sent to all four wheels, thanks to Lexus’ new variable force control technology known as 'DIRECT4'.
The new four-wheel drive system will help propel the 2100kg SUV from 0-100km/h in a supercar-beating 3.0 seconds, and the LF-Z won’t stop accelerating until it reaches 200km/h.
Charging power for the battery bank is rated at 150kW, and once fully charged, Lexus claims the LF-Z will be capable of a 600km WLTP-certified driving range.
The swept-back styling of the concept is compelling, and the front fascia of the car looks exceedingly contemporary, which is only to be expected of a carmaker like Lexus.
The ultra-thin headlights give the car an aggressive and purposeful appearance, while the large front bumper previews the future of the automaker’s quintessential ‘spindle grille, which will shift from a functional feature to one made purely for ornament and brand identity.
A sleek, hunkered down side profile highlights the concept’s relatively low roofline, with the height of the LF-Z measuring in at just 1600mm.
At the back, slim wrap-around tail lights with bright red LED slats cut with angularity into the concept’s rear quarter, while an illuminated ‘electrified’ badge sits centrally on the tailgate.
Below that, a deep black bumper is topped by a thin vertical strip of LEDs and flanked on either side by large, stygian cut-outs.
Overall, the LF-Z may look similarly sized to Lexus’ current RX large-size SUV, but it sports a wheelbase that is considerably longer, measuring 2950mm (160mm more than the RX).
Coupled with very short overhangs at both the front and rear, and when taking into account the benefit of EV architecture, the concept should provide a cabin with considerably more room for its occupants than the RX SUV it may one day replace.
The interior of the LF-Z is equally as avant-garde as its exterior, and easily the most noteworthy feature is the yoke-like steering wheel, which is starting to become the norm for EV concepts in 2021.
The cabin features a driver-centric environment, with a floating centre console angled towards the driver’s seat that also separates the front two occupants of the vehicle.
There’s a typical digital dash on show, as well as an augmented reality head-up display that can depict navigational prompts, audio system functions, and driving mode selections.
Sitting beside the dash is a large, square-like touch screen display that will allow occupants to interact with the car’s infotainment system.
All four seats are angular and of the bucket variety, further supporting the EV’s outwardly sporty remit, and there’s ambient lighting that runs along the car’s ultra-flat floor.
The LF-Z will utilise a new form of artificial intelligence, which according to Lexus memorises the driver's preferences and behavioural characteristics, and provides constant support to the driver.
Voice commands will also be available, and this will help to improve operational abilities while driving.
The concept also features a host of semi-autonomous driver functions and safety features, and for the first time in a Lexus, a steer-by-wire system that eliminates the need for a steering shaft.
It’s not known when we might see a production-ready variant of the LF-Z concept, however, Lexus has announced it intends to bring 10 new electrified models to market by 2025, and has confirmed that elements of this concept will be found in those future models.
The luxury automaker has also trademarked the 'RZ 450e' name in Australia, so we may see an all electric large SUV from Lexus in the not too distant future.
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