They are not handlebars in the true sense of the word, but to mark what replaced the steering wheel with a stick does not fit. It’s just “something” you have to get used to.
The SS is the first step towards Lexus’ electrical future, which is set to begin in 2030. The new model for the world is – as is typical today – the SUV. The thick floor can hold batteries (71.4 kWh) and there must be room for the crew. And there is a lot of SS. Getting inside is a lexus-like experience, just gently touch the inside of the handle and the door will open. The opening from the inside is also push-button, only a little tiny.
Anyone who has studied modern lexuses will be at home in the SS. The developers of the infotainment system have already stopped experimenting, they have given the giant tablet with great clear graphics communicating in Czech, in addition to the touchscreen, also voice control and telematics and navigation services working on the cloud. The front seats seemed to have slightly flatter seats and low backs for the first time, we’ll see when they have to support a taller figure in action. An interesting revolution is the abolition of the box in front of the passenger, you can store junk from it in a large box at the bottom of the central tunnel.
Although the SS has a classic SUV silhouette, the designers tried to seat the crew lower than in a sedan. There is plenty of space at the back, it fits well, although a little low, so the seat does not support the thighs. The floor is almost flat there, a tiny protrusion as a reminder of the central tunnels for the cardan is there mainly to increase the rigidity of the floor. There is plenty of space above the head, even with a glass unopened roof, because the blind is replaced by blackout glass (just press the button), there is plenty of space for the knees, so it doesn’t matter that the toes can’t be tucked under the front seats.
At the back, you like the classic 230-volt plug, and at the front, the interior mirror uses a rear camera. An interesting decoration is the solution of the decor of the front door panels, which have panels that are smoothly upholstered, the pattern of which projects the light on the side of the instrument panel. The lexus classic is a quiet window pull-down, with a great way of slowing down when pulling out. And by the way, the windows can also be controlled by voice.
The trunk is big, wide, but due to the very sloping rear window, it won’t be a big move. The floor is also quite high. There is a place for a charging cable under it, they did not reserve a place for it under the hood. Tine Poels from the brand’s European headquarters explains this in an interesting way, but it makes sense: the owners of reliable lexuses are not used to “climbing” under the hood, so the brand doesn’t want to teach them even now. And it is said that in the end, the owners of electric cars do not use the frunk (front trunk) as much.
The first purely electric lexus completes the brand’s offer, the dimensions fit exactly between the NX and the popular RX.
The Lexus RZ was built on the basis of a battery-powered Toyota with an unforgettable and unpronounceable name, which they probably mistakenly confused with the password for wi-fi in the development center (if we copied the cipher correctly, it’s called the Toyota bZ4X). Lexus took over the mechanical foundation and used parts (such as the axles) of last year’s NX SUV. The SS has a length of 4805 mm (Toyota 4640 mm), the wheelbase is 2850 mm. The basic wheels are eighteen-inch, higher equipment gets twenty.
The e-TNGA power platform is a joint development with Subaru.
The Japanese carmaker has chosen a different solution for its purely battery platform (it was also lent by Subaru) than rival Volkswagen or Hyundai, which prefer rear-axle drive for their electric cars and create front wheels by adding an electric motor under the hood. Toyota bZ4X and therefore Lexus RZ are always ATVs, but they send more power to the front. However, Lexus has erased its own 4 × 4 drive control system called Direct4. On the front axle is an electric motor with an output of 150 kW to the rear 80 kg. However, the system can completely disconnect the front or rear engine, so if necessary, only the rear wheels will take up on a slippery hill. Only “on the back” is the SS also in the so-called range mode, focused on the longest possible range. Lexus promises about 400 kilometers for SS.
The look is classically Lexusian divided. The interesting silhouette and well-balanced proportions are complemented by a number of edges, protrusions, sharp notches. Until it’s a little crumpled origami. At the rear, the corners on the sides of the upper edge of the trunk lid replace the classic wing, which improves aerodynamics and helps stability on the highway. The bow works with the spindle motif, which the lexus has been using for a long time, but overall it is rounder and the nose is lighter.
The first cars will be manufactured in October, with the most eager customers arriving from Japan in January next year, Lexus has been collecting pre-orders since April 20. The carmaker confidently offers a warranty on batteries for one million kilometers and ten years, promising to maintain 90 percent of the original capacity. The condition is that the car arrives every year for a branded service for a battery inspection. Toyota doesn’t even want to limit this warranty by limiting fast charging, which batteries generally don’t like.
Plans for next year are expected, the largest market for SS is to be China (plan of 18 thousand cars in 2023), the second is Europe with sales wishes at the level of six thousand cars and the third America with five thousand pieces. It is worth noting that after Britain and Norway, Lexus is expected to be the third largest market for the electric model for the conglomerate of Central European countries (Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary), even though there is no significant support for the purchase of battery cars; Poland, where Toyota and Lexus have a unique position, will be the driving force behind this four.
Initial price estimates are around 1.8 million for the version with a normal steering wheel. The crazy thing that makes you feel like someone stole a steering wheel or a vandal got in your car will come at an additional cost. Lexus expects about a quarter of customers to turn to it
And we’re back at the handlebars that control the SS. At Lexus, they realize how much Elon Musk did not help them before the introduction of this bold element. .
After all, Lexus is just a carmaker, where, in addition to Ajťák and Twitter visionaries, there are also engineers. So they set out on a difficult journey. They designed wire steering – one where the command from the steering wheel does not transmit a rod to the wheels, but wires transmitting a signal to the electric motor on the steering gear. Knowingly, the homologation regulation still applies, according to which there must be a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels (Infiniti once solved this with its wire control by a clutch, which connected the mechanical control chain in the event of a system failure). At SS, however, we find only wire. However, Tine Poels of Toyota’s European headquarters claims that thanks to backing up the entire system in the form of a duplicate power supply, the system is secure and has received approval. Thanks to this, the car could get super-steep steering – with its hands firmly on the handles, it is only less than three-quarters of a turn from steering to steering, exactly Lexus indicates a maximum of 150 degrees of steering wheel steering to the left or right. Shortening the rudder and wiper levers to funny stumps is just an aesthetic trifle.
When we talked about the most significant and controversial element of the new lexus at the beginning, we also end it with it: I’ve only touched it on the spot so far, I’m still not sure I’ll get used to it and I’m curious about the sensitivity on the highway and precision maneuvering in cramped situations in city alleys and return. But the truth is, the driver still has both hands on those handlebars and there is no danger of twitching.