Electrifyingly spectacular - The Lexus UX 300e

The combustion engine is a thing of beauty and has served us perfectly for well over a hundred years. As a petrol-head I love everything about it but also, as someone who wants to embrace modern technology and look after the planet, I took the plunge and test-drove my first all-electric car thanks to Lexus.

Lexus UX 300e

I’ve loved the Lexus brand since its introduction into the US market in the eighties. Their attention to detail and luxury – coupled with Japanese reliability has helped the brand to the vanguard of automotive excellence. And thus I knew – despite my reservations – that the Lexus UX 300e that was delivered for review would be spectacular – and so it was.


All my preconceptions of all-electric vehicles – not as much fun to drive, worries about range, worries about charging points, being left stranded – were addressed and resolved with a few hours behind the wheel.


The Lexus UX is a sleek ultra-modern and angular-designed SUV in the Lexus mold. Luxury is a Lexus trademark and the cabin is a haven of technology and comfort and the drive is incredibly smooth, near-silent and razor sharp. The UX 300e delivers agile handling and pure, direct acceleration, giving the driver confidence and precise control. Cornering enjoyment is enhanced by the car’s low centre of gravity, with all heavier components concentrated close to the centre of the vehicle. The strengthened chassis and extra rigidity of the battery unit contribute to precise steering. True to the car’s Lexus character – the result of expert tuning by two Takumi drivers – acceleration is pure and linear, while deceleration is through four rhythmic and natural modes.

The first all-electric Lexus, based on the UX compact urban SUV, leverages the company’s 15 years of market leadership in manufacturing electrified hybrid cars. The UX 300e is the newest member of the UX compact SUV family that Lexus launched early in 2019. Since then, it has quickly become the best-selling Lexus in Europe. The UX 300e was developed for exciting urban performance. The engineers have kept the distinctive design and utility characteristics of the UX intact while focusing on the opportunity to build on the performance advantages that are unique to BEVs.


With the UX 300e, Lexus takes its electrification vision to the next level. But, first and foremost, this is a Lexus: nothing has been overlooked. This first Lexus BEV (battery electric vehicle) delivers exceptional craftsmanship, build quality, comfort and quietness. By studying BEV noise patterns, the development team was able to take specific measures, such as fitting bespoke tyres and wheel arch liners that reduce the noise of gravel spatter and water, to significantly reduce in-cabin noise. No detail was too small, even the shift selector has been shaped by hand.


“Fun” was also high on Chief Engineer Takashi Watanabe’s list of priorities, resulting in dynamic yet extremely refined driving quality. This is mainly due to the car’s low centre of gravity, a fundamental characteristic of the UX’s GA-C platform, reinforced in this case by the battery being located beneath the vehicle body and the electric motor being set low in the engine bay. The UX 300e also has its own suspension and steering, featuring elements of Lexus’s Advanced Posture Control, which was showcased on the LF30 Electrified concept presented at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.

Since the introduction of the RX 400h in 2005, Lexus has sold more than 1.8 million electrified hybrid cars worldwide, 450,000 of these in Europe and more than 130,500 in the UK. The UX 300e engineering team was thus able to draw on unequalled know-how in battery design, manufacturing and management systems.


Lexus has achieved a series of significant firsts in electrified powertrains since the launch of the RX 400h, the world’s first premium electrified hybrid, in 2005. It introduced the first V8 hybrid flagship, the LS 600h, in 2008, and broke new ground again with the CT 200h hybrid hatchback in 2011. More recently, Lexus engineers developed the high-performance Multi Stage Hybrid System, featured in the LC 500h and LS 500h coupe and saloon, and the latest, fourth generation Lexus self-charging hybrid system, which debuted last year on the UX 250h and ES 300h saloon.


The Lexus Electrified vision, announced alongside the LF-30 Electrified concept at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, targets a fundamental leap in vehicle performance, handling and control and driver enjoyment, even as mobility continues to evolve towards autonomous driving and vehicle electrification.


Evoking the original fun of driving, Lexus is developing an integrated approach to electric motor control and other electrification technologies to raise the level of driving pleasure and transform the essence of luxury vehicles for the future. To help achieve this, Lexus engineers can draw on the experience gained in developing the core technologies of today’s model range, such as battery management, power control modules and electric motors.


The drivetrain has been optimised for urban driving and features a high-output 201bhp/150kW electric motor/generator that gives the car natural yet brisk acceleration. It is powered by a new, high-capacity 54.35kWh battery located under the cabin floor. This gives a driving range of 196 miles.

From launch, the UX 300e is offered to UK customers in a single equipment grade, UX, together with optional Premium and Takumi Packs which provide additional equipment features.


The standard specification includes 17-inch alloy wheels, aluminium roof rails, bi-LED headlights, LED fog lights, front and rear parking sensors, illuminated entry, eight-way power front seat adjustment, power lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat, power steering wheel adjustment, seven-inch display, reversing camera with guidelines, six-speaker audio system with DAB, four USB ports and Aux socket, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and three-pin and Type 2 (Mennekes) charging cables.

The Premium Plus Pack adds smooth leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outer rear seats, rear privacy glass, smart keyless entry, card key, smartphone wireless charger and illuminated door handles with puddle lights. The 18- inch alloy wheels are available as an option with the Premium Plus Pack.


The Takumi Pack equips the car with all the Premium Plus Pack elements, together with 18-inch alloy wheels, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert with auto brake, triple-eye LED headlights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 360°panoramic view monitor, LED cornering lights, hands-free power tailgate, aluminium scuff plates, 13-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system, 10-3-inch Lexus Navigation, head-up display and a sunroof.

 

Performance data
  • Battery capacity (kWh) - 54.35

  • Cruising range – with 17in wheels (WLTP, miles) - 196*

  • System output(kW) - 150

  • System torque (Nm) - 300

  • Acceleration0-62mph (sec) - 7.5

  • Max. speed(mph) - 100

Normal home charging times (UK) (approx.)
  • System voltage - 230

  • Charging current - 13A / 32A

  • Charging time - 19hr / 8hr 15min


www.lexus.co.uk


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