Who thinks of Toyota or the noble daughter Lexus, has almost automatically hybrid drive in mind. Because of purely battery-electric vehicles, the Japanese wanted to know so far. But that is changing.
Toshio Asahi has a strategic task that seems quite contradictory. The chief engineer of Lexus is to make the model range even sportier in the future, but always keep two core values in mind: Whisper quiet and comfortable it should be in a car of the Toyota subsidiary.
Win on velvet paws at the traffic light start - mechanics and physics have so far placed limits on technology. But on the test track at the foot of Mount Fuji, the latest Lexus drive shows that Asahi has succeeded: the compact SUV UX starts as if it were shot out of the pistol when you step on the accelerator - and makes no mistake. The well-known hybrid cannot be under the hood. Together with the CVT gear used there, this drive always whines before the advance begins.
The quiet acceleration is due to the completely different drive that Asahi's squad has implanted in the UX: an 150 kW / 204 PS electric motor. Its 300 Newton meters are already available to drive from the start fully, in just seven seconds, the 100-hourly kilometers mark is reached. Starting this summer, the Elektro-UX will also roll to German customers.
You will have fun. The batteries weigh 350 kilos with a capacity of 54 kilowatt hours, mounted flat in the underbody. Compared to the hybrid-powered UX, the engineers have specifically strengthened the SUV and adjusted the dampers differently - with 1,9 tons, the compact has to cope with more weight. However, the focus is of course even lower, and this has a positive effect on the sometimes very narrow and winding route. The electric UX becomes a corner robber, which can also hold its own against the competition in terms of driving dynamics. The top speed is limited at 160 km / h, Lexus wants to guarantee a range of 400 km (NEDC).
The SUV is already quite fast in normal mode. The Sport mode then activates a really different world: With paddles, the recuperation can be strengthened once again in four stages, so that the UX drift with the strongest setting almost without a brake pedal through the winding track. When accelerating out, the 18 front wheels only have trouble getting traction on the wet track. Good that the assistants intervene before breaking out.
If you want, you can also be animated by a powerful motor whirring - but this is only generated by the speakers. It remains strong and quiet at the push of a button. Only in Eco mode does the UX forego dynamic acceleration and brake recuperation, becoming a modest glider for the long journey.
If you are on the go, you should even achieve more than the standard range. Because Asahi's team put the UX, the battery-powered premiere of the group, on the wheels. But the makers are not new to electrical efficiency. "We benefit from the experience from 1,5 million hybrids sold," says the engineer. There is also the important battery control unit in this drive - and Toyota knows more than any competitor about effective heat regulation.
Asahi therefore promises that the UX will not have to downsize its performance like many competitors even under dynamic continuous load. In addition, the lithium-ion pack will also bring "after ten years, more than 80 percent of its output power."
Long-term qualities promises the whole car. Branded very high quality and provided with fine infotainment including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay makes the stay in the very comfortable seats pleasure. By the way, the Stromer differs from the outside only by the missing exhaust and the electric lettering of the normal UX. The comparatively small trunk with high sill is, however, scarce for customers with a higher transport requirement. For the holiday trip for two is the UX but a fine choice.
But not a very cheap one either. The Japanese can pay for the luxury in the Lexus according to the demands. Officially, nothing is said about the price of the Stromer. But the hybrid starts at around 40.000 euros - as an electric version, it will probably be a few thousand more even after subsidies have been deducted. From this point of view, it is only for less well-heeled fans of the powerful electronic appearance to look enviously to China. Because there the same engine and battery are offered at significantly lower prices - in the sister model Toyota C-HR.
Peter Weissenberg / SP-X
Lexus UX 300 e - Specifications:
Five-door, five-seat compact crossover, length: 4,49 meters, width: 1,84 meters, height: 1,52 meters, wheelbase: 2,64 meters, trunk volume: 320 - 438 liters
Drive: electric motor with 150 kW / 204 PS, maximum torque: 300 Newton meters. Lithium-ion battery with 54,3 kW / h capacity. Charging time: not specified (standard charging with max 6,6 kW, fast charging with max 50 kW), 0 - 100 km / h: 7,0 s. Vmax: 160 km / h, consumption: not specified, range: 400 km (NEDC), CO2 emissions: 0 g / km, efficiency class: A +, price: not specified
Lexus UX - short profile:
Why: because UX makes the most electric driving pleasure
Why not: because the hybrid variant would be the more sensible choice
What else: Mercedes GLA, BMW X1, Volvo XC 40
When will he come: Middle 2020