The current generation of the Lexus ES is a popular car thanks to its honest approach to luxury. The model, though, was getting old and had a stale look that didn’t help its case. Lexus has fixed these issues and done a lot more to make the new 2019 model an even more attractive proposition.
The sixth-gen sedan that will be revealed at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show is much prettier and more tech forward than before. Underpinning the striking exterior is Toyota’s GA-K modular platform, which it shares with the 2019 Avalon. The platform has allowed the sedan to grow. Lexus claims the new ES is 2.6 inches longer and 1.8 inches wider than the outgoing model. The wheelbase also grows by 2.0 inches.
Updated powertrains to go with the new look
Like before, the ’19 ES will be available as the ES 350 and 300h. Just like the previous generation, the ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6. Power, though, is up to 302 hp (225 kW) and 267 lb-ft (362 Nm) of torque. Those figures are a decent increase from the previous generation, which produced 268 hp (199 kW) and 248 lb-ft (336 Nm) of torque. A new eight-speed automatic gearbox also replaces the old six-speed unit. While an all-wheel drive option is rumored to be in the works, the ES is front-wheel drive only for the moment.
On the hybrid front, the 300h gets various updates that make it more fuel efficient. The trim features an updated powertrain that has an all-new nickel metal hybrid battery that’s smaller than before, a more compact electric motor that’s also lighter than the old unit, and an all-new engine. The motor is a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four engine. Total output for the hybrid is up to 215 hp (160 kW) from 200 hp. Fuel economy is up too, as the current model has a combined rating of 40 mpg, while the new one is expected to get 44 mpg combined.
The most exciting bit of news for the ES is the addition of an F Sport trim. The sportier, more aggressive-looking sedan is only available on the ES 350 and retains the same 3.5-liter V6. It does come with Adaptive Variable Suspension, though, which we first saw on the LC Coupe. A Sport+ drive setting and an Engine Sound Enhancement feature, which is probably just noise being piped into the cabin, is also bespoke to the trim.
The ES still puts luxury first
Things look a lot better on the inside, too. Obviously, the cabin is just as upscale as we’ve come to expect from Lexus with things like real wood and aluminum trim, but it’s visually less cluttered and generally more appealing. The dashboard is now oriented towards the driver with an interesting cutout for the audio and HVAC controls. Lexus also mercifully relocated the analog clock that never lined up properly in the old vehicle to a smaller unit that sits directly to the left of the new screen.
In addition to a new interior design, the ES gets a massive technology overhaul, as well. There’s an 8.0-inch screen that sits a top of the dash that can be swapped out for an even larger 12.3-inch unit. Regardless of what display you go with, Lexus has still stuck with a control pad that sits to the right of the shifter, but it’s not propped up on a base like it was in the old sedan. The new ES is also the first Lexus to get Apple CarPlay – rejoice Apple fans – and also comes with Amazon Alexa integration. Built-in Wi-Fi hotspot is also available.
Other new tech features for the ES include an updated instrument cluster and an available head-up display system. When it comes to safety, the sedan also gets the brand’s Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 suite that comes with a pre-collision system that has daytime bicyclist detection.
Lexus will show the car off in real life for the first time at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show on Wednesday. Pricing for the vehicle is expected to come out before the sedan officially goes on sale later this September.