The Lexus ES, short for Executive Sedan, has long been admired for its comfort, elegant looks and luxury. Performance and cutting edge style, however, aren’t usually in the conversation when talking about the vehicle. Lexus aims to change this when the sixth iteration of the model is ushered in during the fall, complete with the addition of, for the first time, an F SPORT variant in the lineup.
Built on an all-new global GA-K platform, the mid-size four door sizes up growing 65 millimetres longer and 45 millimetres wider, while dropping five millimetres in height and gaining a wider track front and rear. The hood is lower and the roofline significantly raked, altogether resulting is a silhouette that is much more vibrant and youthful than the one it replaces.
The front end is characterized by thin, sharply designed headlamps and a choice of two different spindle grilles depending on the trim level. The 350 and 300h hybrid models receive a vertical-slatted unit, the F SPORTs a blacked out mesh grille made up of a repeating pattern of “L” shapes instead. The latter also adds a rear spoiler, lower diffuser, 19-inch wheels and an exclusive Ultra Sonic Blue Mica paint colour.
The cabin of the 2019 ES is purposefully driver focused, the central display, instrument panel and head-up display all placed in a way to promote easy viewing without having to shift attention away from the road. F SPORT interiors feature special “Hadori” metallic trim, influenced by traditional Japanese sword making. The alloy has a wavy, 3-D appearance to it highlighting the premium level of detail applied to the car.
Compared to the outgoing chassis, the GA-K is stiffer and lighter yielding a better feel of the road and a quieter ride as well. An Adaptive Variable Suspension, like the one on the LC coupe, is offered as optional equipment.
“We knew that this ES had to feel responsive and easy to drive, no matter what kind of road it was on and that can only be achieved with a solid foundation,” said chief engineer Yashuhiro Sakakibara.
Two powerplants are available. The ES 350 utilizes a 3.5-litre V6 producing 302 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, and the ES 300h takes advantage of a fourth-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system delivering 215 net horsepower and a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of approximately 5.3 L/100 km.
Be on the lookout for the 2019 Lexus ES in dealerships come September.