A bold statement indeed but with the latest revisions, ES which is the very epitome of attainable luxury, takes premium to the next level. Boasting a sportier visage, bolder rear styling, refined interior décor, updated finishes and enhanced dynamics, the new ES really is a package that lives up to its ‘more is more’ billing.
The rejuvenated facial features of the new ES comprise Lexus’s trademark spindle grille framed in brilliant satin chrome and a pair of newly designed headlights, now equipped with LED projector technology. Iconic “L”-shaped arrowhead Daytime Running Lights (DRL) extend outside the headlight element for a distinctive look that links it with other Lexus models. In addition, redesigned LED fog lamps areas have been relocated to the outer lower corners of the front fascia and amplify the vehicle’s wide stance, while emphasising the fluidity of design.
The sleek shape continues with the ES’ graceful roofline that flows effortlessly to the rear, where a modernised taillight design evokes the “L”-shaped theme, furnishing an instantly recognisable glow. Spanning the rear is a re-worked, stylised chrome license plate garnish that flows visually into the clear elements of the lamps to communicate the vehicle’s newfound muscularity. Lending a considerable amount of flair to the vehicle’s already sporty attitude are newly sculpted chrome-tipped rectangular exhaust ports on the ES 250.
To complement the impactful new form, two new 17-inch wheels with directional spoke patterns have been developed. A branching dark grey metallic, multi-plane machined 20-spoke wheel is standard on the ES 250, while the ES 350 is distinguished by a 10-spoke rotary design with machine finish over medium grey.
New exterior colours join the ES palette: Sonic Quartz (white), Black and Deep Blue, each featuring Lexus’ innovative cutting-edge paint technology designed to allow the paint’s clear coat to heal itself even from light damage. Each of the eight colours were carefully selected to reflect the ES’ dynamic surface and is brought to life by the renowned, multi-stage paint process that gives Lexus models their deep, jewel-like lustre.
Lexus frankly has no equal when it comes to fit and finish. Sweeping dashboard architecture, intuitive ergonomics mated with the finest materials and a suite of standard spec, the ES cultivates a feeling of sheer quality with every touch.
New trim enhancements to cabin-facing door surfaces and the centre console unite the interior in upscale feel and design cohesion. Colour-matched upholstery appears along the centre console as well, coupled with a new leather boot-enclosed gear selector.
A new, smaller-diameter sporty steering wheel provides better driving engagement. A larger 4.2-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) colour multi-information display conveniently places vital vehicle information as well as multimedia information front and centre.Other stand-out features include wall-to-wall leather with high quality stitching and new embossed pattern.
The ES also shares many features with the GS such as the analogue clock, ambient lighting and the Nano-e climate system. Additional standard niceties include a moonroof, remote keyless entry, power seats with seat heaters (driver’s seat memory), electrochromatic mirror, back guide monitor with smart camera (new) and PDC.
The ES is the benchmark in its class for ride comfort and overall driving composure. In fact the words most often bandied around are sublime, magic carpet ride, hushed and relaxing. The new 2016 ES upholds that tradition – dare we say it, even enhancing comfort – but provides a refreshing twist in the form of enhanced dynamics.
Lexus engineers have applied structural reinforcements to foster stiffness in the vehicle’s unibody construction. Adapted from the Lexus IS sports sedan, this form of chassis tuning arms the ES with enhanced ride quality and interactive handling.
Additionally, this ES adds a sound-reducing layer behind the dashboard to better isolate engine noise from the cabin.
Under the skin it’s business as usual, which means you’re getting a finely fettled machine adhering to the very highest standards of quality and performance.
The ES 250 is powered by Lexus’ velvety smooth 2.5 litre Dual VVT-i twin-cam four-cylinder engine that produces 135 kW at 6,000 rpm and 235 Nm of torque at 4,100 rpm. With the aid of the standard six-speed auto, the Lexus ES 250 dispatches the obligatory 0-100 sprint in under ten seconds (9,8 seconds to be precise) and can exceed 200 km/h. The rotary drive mode selector allows the driver to access ECO, NORMAL, or SPORT settings. This enables a wide spectrum of driving experiences in the ES, from highly economical and relaxed driving in ECO – where features such as throttle responses and air conditioning are moderated for optimum efficiency – to the far more sporty and direct SPORT mode. Instrument cluster illumination reflects the mood: blue for ECO and red for SPORT. Fuel consumption is pegged at a very laudable 8 L/100km in the combined cycle.
The Lexus ES 300h sees a 2.5 litre single VVT-i twin-cam Atkinson cycle four-cylinder unit (118 kW at 5,700 rpm and 213 Nm of twist at 4,500 rpm) joining hands with a 105 kW electric motor that’s fed by a 650V nickel-metal hydride battery for a combined 151 kW output. Equipped with an ECVT system, the Lexus ES 300h clocks the 0-100 km/h in 8.5 seconds before being electronically reigned in at 180 km/h. Naturally fuel economy is superb – it sips a mere 5,5 L / 100km in the combined cycle. And, of course, something to bear in mind with the hybrid is that the more traffic-congested the roads, the lower your consumption as this allows the electric motor to really do its thing.
On the safety front, the new ES provides a wealth of advanced passive and active safety features, such as 10 airbags, Blind Spot Monitoring with Lane Change Assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), ABS with EBD and Brake Assist and Isofix child-seat anchorages. A significant feature that was recently added to the standard menu is Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). This feature is particularly useful when reversing, for instance, in a busy car park. The RCTA function uses the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) radar to detect vehicles approaching the difficult-to-see area behind the vehicle. When a vehicle is detected, RCTA alerts you with a visual display in the door mirrors and a buzzer. Another new feature is Hill Assist Control – standard on both models.
Believe it or not yes. The new ES does actually carry a smaller price tag than the outgoing model. This was made possible by some clever editing of features. Well, one feature only… in-car navigation. By removing this particularly pricey feature*, Lexus has been able to prune prices by R14 700 on the ES 250 and R16 600 on the ES 300h: