Automotive

Published on April 26th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair

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The New Lexus ES Is A Quantum Leap In Every Sense

After six generations of success in the mid-size sedan category, the new, seventh generation Lexus ES is forging a new, more ambitious path.

The seventh generation Lexus ES will be the first to be introduced to markets in Western Europe, taking on the role once filled by the GS.

The range will include the ES 300h, on sale from December 2018, powered by a new self-charging hybrid system, together with the ES 200, ES 250 and ES 350 petrol engine models that will go on sale from September 2018.

The new ES is built on the all-new Global Architecture – K (GA-K) platform, giving Lexus the opportunity to explore the limits of mid-size luxury sedan design. The car is longer (+65 mm), lower (-5 mm) and wider (+45 mm) than its predecessor. The longer wheelbase (+50 mm) allows the wheels to be pushed closer to the car’s corners, with wider front and rear treads (+10 and +37 mm).

Rear passenger comfort has long been a hallmark of the Lexus ES and the new model upholds this quality, in spite of the sleeker exterior roof line. A lower hip point and carefully configured headlining preserve headroom while the longer wheelbase ensures generous legroom.

The interior colour options include a new combination that reflects the “provocative elegance” design theme. The Rich Cream option matches cream upholstery with a brown headlining to give the cabin a modern, yet warm look and feel. Other choices include Black, Chateau and Topaz Brown.

To create an entirely different appearance for the interior of the new F SPORT models, a new kind of metallic cabin trim was developed, unlike anything Lexus has used before. Inspired by traditional Japanese sword-making, the Hadori trim has fluctuating wave patterns that give it a three-dimensional look that varies depending on the viewing angle. The effect is subtle, but indicative of the level of detail and craftsmanship invested in giving the F SPORT a unique place in the line-up. The standard ES models will continue to make use of traditional materials such as bamboo and Shimamoku wood, which give the ES the kind of hand-crafted appearance that luxury customers expect and appreciate.

The starting point was the new GA-K platform. It is an exceptionally rigid, front-wheel drive chassis that rivals the GA-L rear-wheel drive platform used for the LC coupe and LS sedan in terms of torsional stiffness. Various grades of high-tensile steel reduce weight compared to previous platforms, while enhancements such as an all-new multi-link rear suspension design, rack-mounted electric power steering and a V-brace behind the rear seat gave the engineers the flexibility to tune the Lexus ES with a new-found precision.

For an even higher level of dynamic performance, F SPORT models will be available with Adaptive Variable Suspension, similar to that found in the LC coupe. This adds adjustable dampers at each wheel with 650 levels of damping force to provide ultimate control on any road surface. Another element exclusive to F SPORT is a Sport+ mode for the Drive Mode Select system, which engages the most responsive engine, transmission and suspension settings. The Lexus ES 350 F SPORT also features an engine sound enhancement system that adds a further layer to the sound of the engine, amplifying the natural rhythms of spirited driving.

The Lexus ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that is designed to deliver commanding acceleration and a stirring note. This impressively smooth engine benefits from an update to the D4-S fuel injection system and now develops 250 PS/183 kW of torque, marking significant increases on the performance of the previous generation V6 unit.

As well as the boost in power and torque, the ES 350 also gains a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. This uses an ultra-thin torque converter and a multi-plate lock-up clutch to transfer power to the front wheels more efficiently. It is tuned to deliver crisp, precisely timed shifts with quick pedal responses. With a wider spread of rations, it can us high-torque gears at the low end for quick starts, and tall gearing at the high end of optimum efficiency.

The ES 250 will be available with an all-new, high-efficiency 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a new eight-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. Constructed with lightweight aluminium, it has a long-stroke design, laser-clad intake valve seats and advanced intelligent variable valve timing (VVT-i) to achieve high-speed combustion. It has a high overall thermal efficiency of 38 per cent.


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