After six decades of success in the mid-size sedan category, the seventh generation Lexus ES is forging a new and more ambitious path. Long renowned for its comfort, refinement and luxury appointments, the new Lexus ES builds on its established strengths with an all-new chassis that allows for a more dynamic exterior design and even better driving performance. It stands as a further expression of Lexus’ design direction and commitment to crafting vehicles that provide more excitement, emotional connection and passion, helping bring its vision for its future to a wider audience. Traditional buyers will find the new ES more spacious, quieter and safer than ever before, while a new generation of customers will be introduced to a sedan with sharpened performance, class-leading safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this market segment.
The seventh generation model is the first ES to be introduced to Western and Central Europe. It follows the LS flagship sedan and LC luxury coupe in carrying forward a new chapter in Lexus design that has a much stronger emotional quality. The eye-catching styling, made possible by the use of an all-new Global Architecture-K (GA-K) platform, will have particular appeal to customers in the region, together with a more engaging driving experience and even higher safety provisions. Western and Central European markets will introduce the Lexus ES 300h, powered by a new self-charging hybrid system. In other global markets, ES is also available with different petrol engine options, as the ES 200, ES 250 and ES 350. Lexus achieved more than 75,000 sales in Europe in 2018, its highest total yet, marking a fifth consecutive year of growth. The new Lexus ES sedan becomes a core model in its line-up, contributing to Lexus’ ambition to reach 100,000 annual new car sales in Europe by 2020.
The new ES is built on the all-new Global Architecture-K (GA-K) platform, giving Lexus the opportunity to explore new territories in mid-size luxury sedan design. The car is longer (+65 mm), lower (-5 mm) and wider (+45 mm) than its predecessor. The longer wheelbase (+50 mm) allows the wheels to be pushed closer to the car’s corners, with wider front and rear treads (+10 and +37 mm). Its stance and proportions reflect its new-found performance capabilities and give the ES the kind of eye-catching appeal that will make owners and admirers take a second look. The new GA-K platform allowed for a lower bonnet line, which gave Kajino’s team the freedom to produce a distinctive silhouette with a strong downward slant, creating a dynamic yet fluid shape. Up front, the ES’ face is dramatically different, with variations according to model grade. The standard versions display elegant bars that radiate out from the centre of the signature Lexus spindle grille, while the F SPORT models – featured for the first time in the ES range – adopt a black cross-hatch pattern of interlocking ‘L’ shapes that correspond with cut-out sections at the car’s front corners.
When designing the look and feel of the ES’ cabin, Kajino’s team’s starting point was the Lexus Future Interior concept, which blends a driver-centric cockpit with a spacious and comfortable area for the front passenger. The driver’s focus is kept on the road ahead by locating the centre display screen, instrument panel and head-up display in a tight cluster within their field of view. Lexus calls this concept ‘Seat in Control,’ a simple idea that says from the moment you get in, all the controls you need are within reach and all the information you want is in plain view. Arm rests slide comfortably under your elbows and buttons can be pushed without taking your hands off the wheel. Another means to reduce driver distraction is an optional head-up display that projects relevant vehicle information onto the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight. Fully adjustable to suit the driver’s preferred parameters, the colour display is the largest in the luxury car class. In addition to basic functionality, such as speed, fuel level and shift position, the display can also present speed limit signs, Lane Tracing Assist warnings and navigation directions.
The new ES 300h is equipped with a new, fourth generation self-charging Lexus Hybrid Drive system that can deliver exceptional fuel efficiency, responsive performance and minimal emissions for a mid-size luxury sedan. It couples an ultra-efficient 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with a lighter, more compact and more power-dense electric motor. Total system power is 218 DIN hp / 160 kW and combined cycle fuel economy is from WLTP 5.3 l/100km. The 2.5-litre engine is all-new and incorporates fast-burn combustion technology that makes it the most thermally efficient engineto feature in a production vehicle (with thermal efficiency as high as 41% with a top level specific output). The result is more power without increasing emissions or fuel consumption. Features that help achieve such results include straight intake ports, increased valve angles and laser-clad valve seats. A variable-capacity oil pump, multi-hole injectors, VVT-iE electric intelligent variable valve-timing on the intake valves and a variable cooling system also contribute to the engine’s heat and combustion management. No fewer than 60 prototypes were built to achieve the best possible performance and more than 10 million kilometres of road testing were carried out.
The engineering team for the new Lexus ES, led by Chief Engineer Yasuhiro Sakakibara, had a clear goal: transform the model’s image. That meant turning a sedan known primarily for comfort and quietness into one that is equally capable of delivering class-leading handling and power that you can feel and hear. According to Sakakibara, this Lexus ES has been built to deliver a fundamentally higher level of performance than any of its predecessors. The starting point was the new GA-K platform. It is an exceptionally rigid, front-wheel drive chassis that rivals the GA-L rear-wheel drive platform used for the LC coupe and LS sedan in terms of torsional stiffness. Various grades of high-tensile steel reduce weight compared to previous platforms, while enhancements such as an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, rack-mounted electric power steering and a V-brace behind the rear seat gave the engineers the flexibility to tune the ES with a new-found precision.
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