There is change on the horizon for the Lexus range. Buyers are flocking to SUV’s and two of their mid-size luxury saloons are fighting against each other in the showroom. Unfortunately for RWD fans, the sportier GS is getting trounced in sales by the front wheel drive ES.
As a result, the GS is rumored to meet the chopping block, with the ES taking over as the luxury automaker’s sole mid-size sedan. So what will the next-generation ES look like? Let’s investigate further.
L(S)-finesse styling is coming
The current ES was never really much of a looker; its general appearance is rather subdued in comparison to other models in the Lexus lineup – or perhaps that’s why it sells so well? 2019 sharpens the pencil, with slinkier lines, more aggressive grilles and better proportions that seem to mimic the latest LS luxury sedan.
As you can see in the official teaser, headlights have interesting jagged outlines, whilst the grille will be offered in waterfall with vertical slats or mesh patterns for sportier versions (we could see F-Sport models coming to the range), as depicted in our render. Thick chrome makes the belt-line stand out near the c-pillar and sleek, horizontal taillights finish off the rear.
Under the skin with TNGA
No, TNGA is not some miss-abbreviated Mexican dish; it’s Toyota’s new global architecture that underpins almost everything from C-HR, Prius, Camry, plus new Avalon and Corolla models – just to name a few.
For the ES, this means it’ll share the same platform that sits beneath the new Avalon with a similar wheelbase, something that bodes well with significant strides in rear occupant space, dynamic prowess, ride quality and safety.
The 3.5-liter V-6 is expected to continue as an entry point into the ES range, upgraded to around 300-horsepower and mated to an eight-speed automatic replacing the outgoing six-speed. Power will still be fed to the front wheels; although with the GS said to disappear, an all-wheel drive option should appease those who’ll miss the latter’s rear-wheel drive setup.
Hybrid fans will also be pleased that a four-cylinder gasoline -electric powertrain will make a return, most likely with the same output and fuel economy range specs as the 2018 Camry.
Luxury and near-luxury rivals
The 2019 ES will be the freshest kid on the block when it arrives later this year. It remains to be seen if its sleek new attire can win over some buyers cross-shopping between Volvo S90, BMW 5-Series, Lincoln Continental, Jaguar XF, Audi A6 and the Mercedes-Benz E Class.
As a sign to Lexus’ more global aspirations, the new Lexus ES has been confirmed for a world premiere at the Beijing Auto Show, otherwise known as Auto China 2018, that starts on April 25.
*Update: Lexus dropped the first official images and a trailer of the 2019 ES, without providing any other details