Lexus sponsored the local 2023 RMB Latitudes Art Fair by three talented artists. The marque was proud to be the exclusive vehicle partner. It was the ultimate indoor-outdoor art experience aimed at celebrating the creative spirit and fostering new relationships – connecting artists, galleries and sponsors alike.
Now in its fourth year as a physical exhibition, the RMB Latitudes brought art and nature together. Visitors soaked up the finest African contemporary art, while strolling through the iconic Shepstone Gardens in Johannesburg.
The event took place at the end of May and showcased a diverse work of art representing various exhibitors over the four-day show. With the Lexus brand being synonymous with craftsmanship, the partnership shared an adoration for people, creativity and amazing experiences.
‘We’re thrilled to have entered this new partnership with RMB Latitudes. The collaboration marks a shift in the brand’s strategy to reach a more diverse and socially engaged audience. The art fair was an ideal platform for a Lexus consumer, redefining modern luxury, lifestyle experiences and style’, states Lexus South Africa.
At the Fair, Lexus offered chauffeur driven experiences for all VIP guests in attendance. The highlight for the brand was sponsoring a bespoke and proudly South African exhibition, aptly titled ‘Essay’ – an exhibit that brings together the work of three artists, Sam Nhlengethwa, Katlego Tlabela and Cinthia Sifa Mulanga, to explore a nuanced dialogue in concept, and approach to colour and line.
This cross generational dialogue is pertinent to the zeitgeist as the African art market is expanding creating a need to analyse, expand and catalyse the critical middle between commerce and the academy. The three artists are known for their masterful skill, which ties in well with Lexus’ craftmanship philosophy.
Down to Basics
The next chapter of the Lexus Electrified Vision has arrived with the announcement of the new RZ battery-electric SUV, the first Lexus BEV built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform. The RZ is not a vehicle that simply adopts battery electric power in lieu of a conventional engine; it adapts exciting new technologies to enhance performance and driving pleasure, true to the Lexus Electrified philosophy.
Nearly two decades of Lexus expertise in battery and hybrid technology has been poured into the RZ 450e, resulting in a battery designed to perform at the highest levels. To achieve this re-invention, the RZ 450e has undergone extensive track testing and refinement at the Shimoyama Centre in Japan, a venue that is soon to be the marque’s new global headquarters.
Chief Engineer Takashi Watanabe says: ‘The RZ has been developed with the aim of creating a Lexus BEV that feels secure to ride in, is pleasing to the touch and is exhilarating to drive. Our vision is to use electrification technology as a means to enhance fundamental vehicle performance, so that we can continue to pursue driving pleasure for all future generations.’
The company has leveraged its experience of vehicle electrification to deliver the benefits of a BEV with the essential refinement and driving experience unique to Lexus.
High-quality handling, excellent body rigidity, a low centre of gravity and a long wheelbase as well as responsiveness are granted with this dedicated new electric vehicle platform. A powerful lithium-ion battery is fully integrated in the chassis.
The RZ will launch in South Africa in the first quarter of 2024. Model grades available for sale will be confirmed at launch timing. The model is powered by an efficient 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery, which deploys 230kW of power and 435Nm of instant torque to all four wheels and a driving range of over 400km.
Following the successful launch of the first Lexus BEV – the UX 300e in late 2021 – the RZ brings Lexus a step closer in its aim of offering a fully electrified range of Hybrid, Plug in Hybrid (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) by 2030.
Within this commitment, more than 10 new electrified vehicles will be introduced by 2025 as part of the luxury lifestyle brand’s ‘Lexus Electrified’ vision. Globally and by 2030, the brand plans to achieve a full line-up of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in all categories, and by 2035, aims to sell 100% BEVs globally, contributing to the realisation of a carbon-neutral society.
The new electric powertrain with e-Axle electric motors and DIRECT4 all-wheel drive adds to the renowned Lexus elements of luxurious Takumi craftsmanship and impeccable build quality.
Lexus South Africa states: ‘The new RZ retains all the signature Lexus elements customers have come to appreciate, but now with zero exhaust emissions.’
‘Lexus designers have worked to ensure the all-new RZ maintains the famous Lexus benchmarks of exceptional luxury and dynamic driving, faithful to the Lexus Driving Signature. The RZ is the right vehicle for those wanting a luxury SUV that evokes the feeling of Lexus driving with the addition of a smooth and quiet battery-electric powertrain.’
Instant torque and all-wheel traction allows the RZ to sprint from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.3 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 160km/h. Exact local figures will be shared closer to the launch period.
The RZ is underpinned by the rigid and sophisticated e-TNGA platform designed exclusively for electric vehicles, providing a low centre of gravity, excellent handling balance and a long wheelbase.
A pair of electric e-Axles are mounted at the front and rear of the RZ; each comprising a motor, gearing and Power Control Unit (PCU) to calculate and instantly distribute infinitely variable power to each individual wheel.
The e-Axles operate in harmony with the Lexus DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive system that constantly processes information including vehicle speed, steering angle and G-forces to best deploy motor torque.
DIRECT4 makes precise adjustments in milliseconds for an electric take on the Lexus Driving Signature, delivering a new dynamic benchmark where the vehicle responds faithfully to driver inputs and inspires confidence.
New design elements signalled from the exterior include the trademark Lexus spindle grille now more prominent as the shape extends through the vehicle body.