Lexus is among a few luxury automakers who are yet to release or unveil an all-electric vehicle (a list that includes Bentley and Aston Martin, to name a few). However, that’s about to change with the Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept. Parent company Toyota and Lexus are somewhat late to the EV party, and we find this perplexing at the very least.
An Ambituous Plan
Lexus has been fiddling with hybrid technology since 2005. And yet, the brand doesn’t have an all-electric vehicle in its portfolio, but Lexus is catching up. Coinciding with the Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept’s online debut, the brand has unveiled plans of introducing 20 new or improved models by 2025, including more than 10 electrified models (consisting of battery-electric, hybrids, PHEVs, and hybrid-electric vehicles). By 2050, Lexus wants to achieve carbon neutrality across its entire model lineup – from the manufacturing of materials, parts, and vehicles, including the final disposal and recycling of older vehicles.
Also, Lexus is opening the Toyota Technical Center Shimoya in March 2024, a facility dedicated to planning, developing, designing, and producing future Lexus vehicles and high-performance Toyota cars (in fact, the 2021 Lexus IS was developed there). With the goal of “Building Even Better Cars,” we’re glad Lexus (and Toyota) are joining the EV bandwagon soon, and the LF-Z Electrified Concept is a worthy preliminary contender.
Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept: Game On!
No doubt, the Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept looks like a million bucks with its bevy of character lines, sharp creases, and sculpted shapes. It reminds us of the Lexus LF-30 concept unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, an electric crossover with fancy gullwing doors and a face only a mother could love. But in the new LF-Z, everything outrageous about the LF-30 has been toned down significantly to produce a desirable crossover shape.
Lexus claims the LF-Z concept is riding on a new BEV-dedicated platform which the carmaker has yet to unveil. Nevertheless, we’re drooling at the LF-Z’s rising window line, cockpit-like cabin, and that brilliant shark fin detail above the rear glass. Lexus also said the general silhouette is from the brand’s love-it or hate-it spindle grille design.
However, it’s all a concept at this point. But if Lexus can transition most of the styling details to the production model, it will be all for the better.
DIRECT4 Torque Vectoring & Steer-By-Wire
Lexus failed to disclose the powertrain options for its LF-Z Electrified Concept but did mention some new and innovative hardware. The DIRECT4 drivetrain is an all-wheel drive system with individual torque vectoring to all four wheels, made possible by dual electric motors in the front and rear. The system can independently transition from front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or full-blown all-wheel drive, depending on the situation.
Meanwhile, the Lexus LF-Z Concept ditches the conventional steering shaft to turn the front wheels. Instead, it relies on motors and sensors to calculate the steering angle based on steering wheel inputs, similar to Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering system first seen in the 2014 Q50 luxury sedan.
Futuristic Interior Powered by AI
The Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept’s interior layout is similar to the LF-30’s cabin with a sporty U-shaped steering wheel and a driver-centric orientation. Inspired by the concept of “Tazuna” (Japanese word for rein), Lexus claims the LF-Z’s cockpit is “inspired by the relationship between horse and rider who communicate in a single rein.” Lexus does this by using tiller-mounted switchgear, a low-mounted instrument panel, and an augmented reality heads-up display, the latter first seen in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
And like the Benz with its MBUX infotainment system, the Lexus LF-Z features artificial intelligence to learn the driver’s preferences and behavior. Using voice recognition software, the AI can learn, adapt, and recommend certain features to make driving more pleasurable.
Other yummy features in the Lexus LF-Z include an electrochromic panoramic roof (which turns from transparent to opaque by pressing a button), retractable door handles, and a digital key with smartphone compatibility. Of course, no Lexus is complete without a Mark Levinson audio system.
Production Lexus EV Coming Soon
Similar to Hyundai and Kia’s approach to electrification, Lexus is fast-tracking its very first production EV. And if it bears any resemblance to the LF-Z Electrified, it seems Lexus has a winner on its hands.
“Starting with two new models to be released this year, we will continue to develop innovative products that will add color to the diversifying lifestyles of our customers,” said Koji Sato, President and Chief Branding Officer of Lexus International. “We hope you will look forward to the future of Lexus with its strong will to create the future toward the realization of a hopeful mobility society.”
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.