Lexus has taken the wraps off the 7th generation ES midsize sedan at the Auto China 2018 in Beijing. The ES now comes with an F Sport model for the first time.
The new ES is built on a new platform called Global Architecture―K (GA-K), and is longer (+2.6 in), lower (-0.2 in) and wider (+1.8 in) than before with wheels that have been pushed closer to the corners, thanks to a 2-inch longer wheelbase and wider tracks front (+0.4 in) and rear (+1.5 in).
Project Chief Designer, Yasuo Kajino, describes the look of the ES as “provocative elegance”. “The ES has always been an elegant luxury sedan. For this generation, we have added daring design elements that challenge the traditional expectations of buyers,” Kajino said.
The standard ES 350 and the ES 300h use elegant vertical bars that radiate out from the center while the ES 350 F Sport model adopts a blacked out cross-hatch pattern that corresponds with cut outs at each corner of the fascia.
The rear end is clean and sharply chiseled, with LED tail lamps that wrap around the quarter panels to provide a continuous styling line from any angle. F Sport models add a rear spoiler, additional rear badging and a dark lower valance to further refine the look. There are three different wheel designs (17- and 18-inch) for the ES 350 and ES 300h while the ES 350 F Sport gets standard 19-inch wheels with a design similar to the one on the LC coupe.
A dozen colors make up the exterior paint palette including two new shades, one green and one beige, that are anything but typical. According to Lexus, the Moonbeam Beige Metallic was designed to mimic light reflecting off fresh snow, while Sunlight Green replicates the color of ocean water brightened by the sun. The F Sport models get an exclusive Heat Blue color.
For the F Sport cabin, Lexus said that they’ve developed an all-new kind of metallic trim, inspired by the making of a traditional Japanese sword. The Hadori trim features fluctuating wave patterns which give it a three-dimensional appearance that varies depending on the viewing angle.
The standard ES 350 and ES 300h will continue to offer traditional materials like Bamboo and Shimamoku hand-crafted wood.
All ES 350s are powered by a 3.5-litre V6 that now develops 302 hp and 267 pound-feet (362 Nm) of torque. Both these numbers are up (+34 hp, +26 Nm) compared to the previous generation V6.
There is a new 8-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. According to the company, the transmission has been tuned to deliver crisp, precisely timed shifts with quick pedal responses.
In select markets, the ES will be offered as an ES 250, powered by a new 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. This engine has an overall thermal efficiency of 38%.
As for the hybrid variant, the ES 300h gets fourth-generation Hybrid Drive System. The system combines an Atkinson cycle 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor, delivering a combined 215 total system horsepower and according to the company, more than 44 mpg in combined driving. Transmission is an electronically controlled CVT or E-CVT for short.
The nickel-hydrogen battery is smaller than before which allows it to be mounted underneath the back seat so it doesn’t infringe on the truck space.
The F Sport models will offer an Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) similar to the one on the LC coupe. This adds adjustable dampers at each corner that feature 650 levels of damping force for the ultimate control over any surface.
There is also Sport+ mode which gives the most aggressive engine, transmission and suspension settings for maximum performance. A new Engine Sound Enhancement feature is also activated in Sport+ mode that adds an additional layer of engine noise.
The Lexus Safety System + 2.0 is offered as standard which includes Pre-Collision System (PCS) that can detect bicyclists as well. There is also two-stage adaptive high beam system (AHS).