In place of a conventional grille, a narrow black strip houses sensors for autonomous driving features, while sharply styled headlights and sculpted air channels are part of Toyota’s new “hammerhead” look, which aims to generate “a new attitude and road presence”.
The cabin has been designed primarily to give the driver “a sense of direct connection to the road and to important information”. The instrument panel is mounted low for improved forward visibility and to minimise distraction. The large central display, wide centre console and textured dashboard have been carried over from the concept.
Toyota chief engineer Koji Toyoshima explained the philosophy behind the new-look cabin design: “Our target customer is someone who places importance on time spent together with family and friends. When they want to enjoy such times, Toyota’s bZ4X concept can serve as a hub for them.”
The powertrains on offer draw on Toyota’s 20-plus years of offering electrified powertrains and are said to possess “class-leading efficiency and a very competitive driving range”.
Two variants are offered: the front-driven entry car with a single motor producing 201bhp and 195lb ft cracks the 0-62mph sprint in 8.4sec, while the twin-motor range-topper – which uses four-wheel drive technology developed by Subaru – boosts power to 214bhp and torque to 248bhp and cuts the 0-62mph time to 7.7sec.
The SUV’s range is optimised courtesy of an on-board solar charging system that helps to ensure colder weather has minimal impact on usability – a noted drawback of conventional battery tech.
Like the radical LF-Z concept shown by Toyota luxury brand Lexus recently, the bZ4X uses an innovative steer-by-wire system, which removes the mechanical link between the steering wheel and front axle. Toyota claims this enhances control while minimising the directional influence of rough surfaces and braking.
Toyota will take the concept’s distinctive yoke-style steering device to production as a result, in select global markets, given the driver has less cause to move their hands around the wheel. The bZ4X will, said Toyoshima, make “driving easier and more fun”.