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Lexus reveals more on ES saloon. Image by Lexus.

Lexus reveals more on ES saloon
Lexus ES saloon will be front-wheel drive and hybrid powered.
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What's all this about?

Lexus is replacing its GS mid-sized executive saloon, after four generations, with a new nameplate. It's called ES. And it's front-wheel drive .


Yup. Makes us wonder what Lexus will do if it wants to make an ES F performance model in the future - as the GS F is a storming machine. Anyway, we already knew about the FWD thing. And the fact the ES will sit on the 'Global Architecture - K' (GA-K) platform. Now we have a few more details to chew on, following the car's debut at the Beijing Show.

What have you got to tell me, then?

Well, the ES is 65mm longer, 45mm wider and 5mm lower than the outgoing Lexus GS, with a lower centre-of-gravity and improved aerodynamics. The wheelbase is also longer to the tune of 50mm, while the front and rear tracks are broader by 10- and 37mm respectively. That means more interior space, despite the ES having a sweeping roofline to make it look more coupe-esque than its predecessors. Indeed, chief designer Yasuo Kajino calls the exterior aesthetic of the ES 'provocative elegance', adding: "The ES has always been an elegant luxury sedan. For this generation, we have added daring design elements that challenge the traditional expectations of buyers."

OK. And what's the cabin like?

Driver-focused and a preview of 'the future of Lexus cabins,' apparently. The centre screen, instrument panel and head-up display are presented in a tight cluster in the driver's field of view, while the company has had a fiddle with the angle/position of the steering wheel and angle/location of the brake pedal to make the driving position more comfortable. Rear passengers are not given short shrift, either, as the lower hip point and clever sculpting of the lower headlining at the back do not result in diminished headroom - and legroom is generous, thanks to the longer wheelbase.

Is this going to be another Lexus powered by hybrid?

Indeed so. For Europe, it's highly likely that we'll get nothing but petrol-electric hybrids, unless an F high-performance model is forthcoming, but there's good news here. With only one drivetrain confirmed so far, you're looking at the ES 300h - which features a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder petrol motor and a 'lighter, more compact and more power-dense electric motor plus self-charging hybrid system.' Together, these units give the 300h an output of 208hp and yet fuel economy of up to 47.1mpg on the combined cycle. The best news, though, is that Lexus says the hybrid's more sophisticated management computer is 'better able to mimic the feel and power delivery of a standard petrol engine.'

And what about this FWD chassis?

It's 'exceptionally rigid' according to Lexus, thanks to the use of high-tensile steel, and the rear suspension is an all-new multi-link design. Rack-mounted electric power steering and a V-brace mounted behind the rear seats also aim to ensure the ES is fun to drive, even though the power is going to the leading axle.

Matt Robinson - 11 May 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Lexus ES

2018-04-18: New Lexus 5-Series rival goes front-wheel drive

2018 Lexus ES. Image by Lexus.2018 Lexus ES. Image by Lexus.2018 Lexus ES. Image by Lexus.2018 Lexus ES. Image by Lexus.2018 Lexus ES. Image by Lexus.

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