Lexus ES luxury sedan revealed in China


Lexus gave us a good preview of the new luxury sedan ahead of its Beijing reveal, and now we get to see the real thing. Visually, it’s pretty typical fare. It has the ever-controversial “spindle” grille up front with either form-following slats on standard models, or a sportier mesh on the new F Sport trim, a first for the model. It’s about 2 inches, give or take a few tenths, longer both in overall length and wheel base and wider than the previous model. The F Sport also adds a rear spoiler, 19-inch wheels, a unique rear valence and an available blue metallic shown above. The headlights are perhaps the most crisp and clean of any modern Lexus, incorporating a bit of edgy design without becoming overly curvy and complex. The same goes for the rest of the car, which has clean, muscular curves, a hint of a fastback roof, and sharp taillights, all of which have a Lexus feel, but toned down and more elegant. The ES also looks reasonably distinct from the Camry and Avalon with which it shares a TNGA platform, particularly in the roofline.

The inside is an even bigger departure from those Toyotas, and an evolution from the old ES. The instruments are housed in a trapezoidal cowl that looks to have come straight from an LS or LC, and comes complete with the little switch cylinders on either side. The instruments themselves also feature the multifunction display similar to those high-dollar Lexus models. The dash is fairly swoopy, but it also appears to be less busy than the outgoing model. It will come with either a standard 8-inch infotainment screen or an optional 12.3-inch screen, both of which are controlled with the Lexus touchpad. You’ll also be able to use Apple CarPlay, making the ES the first Lexus with the feature. The F Sport also brings new features such as aluminum trim with waves inspired by Japanese swords, and switchgear for the new Sport+ mode.

This brings us to the mechanicals, and the F Sport does bring updates. That Sport+ mode adjusts the throttle and transmission to be more aggressive, and it firms up the suspension. All purely gasoline-powered ES models will come with a 3.5-liter V6 making 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque,0 mated to an eight-speed automatic. The hybrid will come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor making 215 horsepower. Both powertrains are similar to those in the Camry, but the hybrid makes 12 more horsepower. Lexus also says the new chassis makes the ES more rigid and is comparable to the rear-drive LS and LC.

Pricing for the new ES has not yet been announced. Expect it to stay in its current high-$30,000 to low-$40,000 price range when it shows up on dealer lots this September.

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