There are many good, mid-sized saloons – the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 to name but three – but the Lexus GS has never really been one of them. But maybe things are about to change, for Lexus is killing the GS and replacing it with this: the ES, a car it promises delivers “more dynamic exterior design” and “even better driving performance”. We’ll be the judge of that, Lexus.
This is actually the seventh-generation ES, but the first to be brought to the UK. It’s built on an all new front-wheel drive platform (called GA-K) giving more space, more torsional rigidity and more freedom for Lexus’s designers to create a “distinctive silhouette”. Lexus doesn’t do diesel, so in Britain the core model will be the ES300h, which pairs a new 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with a small electric motor for 215bhp and claimed 60.1mpg. We’re promised the batteries, located beneath the rear bench, don’t intrude on boot space and that thanks to improvements in control electrics, the ES is “better able to mimic the feel and power delivery of a standard petrol engine” car. It’s not a plug-in, and though Lexus doesn’t mention it, is presumably equipped with a CVT transmission.
Which is odd, considering Lexus openly admits the aim of its engineers was to “transform the image of the ES” from a “saloon known primarily for comfort and quietness into one that is equally capable of delivering class-leading handling and power”. More high-tensile steel reduces weight, there’s new multi-link rear-suspension and, on F Sport models (hold your horses – we’re not talking about a proper V8-engined ES F. Just trim for now…), adaptive damping and a Sport + mode.
Inside there’s a 12.3in infotainment display offering all the usual tricks, a 17-speaker stereo and so-on. And naturally there’s all the driver assistance technologies we’ve come to expect from a car in this class.
The ES arrives in Britain in January 2019. This or something German, Swedish or British?
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