Showcasing its first attempt to catch European rival carmakers in the challenging electric car sector, Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus finally launched its first electric vehicle earlier this year – called the RZ. Now comes a preview of the brand’s electric flagship model, the LF-ZC Concept.
Launched at the Japan Mobility Show late last month, the LF-ZC – where LF stands for Lexus Future – will compete with rivals including the BMW i4 and the upcoming electric Audi A4. Along with the LF-ZC, the LF-ZL was also enjoying its world premiere, previewing future flagship SUVs.
Specifically, the Japanese manufacturer revealed that the production version of the four-door LF-ZC model will offer a range of 621 miles, while other lower spec variants will offer less range. Lexus did not provide any details of the LF-ZC’s powertrain or battery, but did confirm that it will be offered in single-motor, rear-wheel drive form. A dual-motor, four-wheel-drive model will also be available. The company says it aims to achieve “double the range of conventional BEVs” through the use of next-generation batteries – possibly ‘prismatic’ – and improved energy efficiency.
With its aero-optimized design and low-slung appearance, Lexus claims the LF-ZC will be able to achieve a drag coefficient of less than 0.2, helping to maximize economy and range.
The LF-ZC uses steer-by-wire technology first seen on the RZ
The exterior design reveals the latest version of Lexus’ design language, with a key focus on the 4-door’s aerodynamic optimization. The front end retains a more stylish and toned-down version of the signature Lexus ‘spindle grille’, while flared rear wheel arches have been penciled in to enhance the stance of the car.
Inside, a bolder steering yoke utilized the steering-by-wire technology first seen on the RZ. The car’s main controls are spread across the dash and center console using multiple digital pads. The pad on the left is used to operate safety systems, driver assistance features, and drive mode selection. Audio, climate control and other functions are located on the right side.
The LF-ZC is based on a new general architecture that will serve as the foundation for most next-generation battery electric vehicles from Lexus and Toyota. Shared with the Lexus LF-ZL, Toyota FT-3E and Toyota FT-SE concepts, the platform is designed to be modular so that it can adapt to different sizes and types of vehicles.
According to Lexus, the production model of the LF-ZC will likely employ the company’s recently developed AREN operating system, which it says will have an “unprecedented impact” on driving dynamics by mimicking the driving characteristics of a variety of cars. , thus it will be enabled. The driver must adjust the handling to suit his driving style.
This new feature suggests that Lexus may finally offer its radically new “manual” EV transmission – yes, with three paddles! – It is currently under development in conjunction with the production version of the LF-ZC. EV with manual gearbox? the plot thickens. More on that later.