The Lexus ES midsize sedan has always been known for refinement, comfort and luxury. And now, the high-end Japanese car brand is upping the ante with the seventh-generation model—in the process also introducing the first-ever F Sport model for the line.
Based on the all-new Global Architecture K platform, the new car is 2.6 inches longer and 1.8 inches wider than the outgoing model. This growth enabled the engineers to push the wheels closer to the corners as the car’s wheelbase had been stretched by a couple more inches. The tracks are slightly wider—by 0.4 inch up front and 1.5 inches at the rear. These small numbers and the all-new look give the new ES a more imposing stance that exudes refinement and luxury even more. “Provocative elegance” is how project chief designer Yasuo Kajino describes the styling of the new car.
The lower hood, the revised spindle grille and the sleek roofline make the ES stand lower by a fifth of an inch. This yields a more dynamic, yet still fluid, overall appearance. The well-chiseled rear end is equipped with wrap-around LED taillights that look great from any angle. Regular ES variants get 17- or 18-inch wheels, while the new F Sport version boasts bigger 19-inch rims that resemble the ones on Lexus’s very own LC coupe. There are also new exterior colors in the palette to choose from, while the F Sport can be had in an exclusive Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0 finish.
The ES250 receives an all-new, aluminum-intensive 2.5-liter, four-cylinder VVTi engine. The new powerplant has a long-stroke design and laser-clad intake valve seats that help it achieve an overall thermal efficiency of 38%. The ES350, meanwhile, has a new 3.5-liter V6 engine, complete with D4-S fuel injection, that produces 300hp and 355Nm. A new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission allows for perfectly timed shifts in the ES350. As for the ES300h hybrid model, it now uses Lexus’s fourth-generation Hybrid Drive System, pairing an Atkinson-cycle 2.5-liter four-cylinder VVTi-E engine with a new, lighter and self-charging hybrid system for a combined output of 205hp.
Inside, the new ES features a driver-centric cockpit. Lexus engineers placed the center display screen, the instrument panel and the heads-up display close to each other. Adjustments were made to the steering wheel angle and position, as well as the brake pedal angle and location, for a more natural driving position. The hip point was lowered and the legroom was increased to keep rear passengers more comfortable than ever in spite of the lower roofline.
The new ES is also safer, thanks to the Lexus Safety System + 2.0 that’s standard on all models. Its pre-collision system uses more radars that offer better range. These radars are so sensitive, they detect cyclists during the day and even pedestrians at night. The new, two-stage adaptive high-beam lighting system automatically controls the headlamps through its 24-element LED array. This system provides better illumination while reducing glare for oncoming drivers.