THE luxury mid-size ES Lexus arrives in Australia late this year – but only as a hybrid.
The seventh-generation ES is said to ‘push the limits of design’ with an extended wheelbase and longer, lower and wider body to build on the model’s reputation for comfort, refinement and luxury appointments.
It will have more space, a quieter cabin and the latest in class-leading safety technology.
Up front, the car’s nose is different with the ES 300h with vertical bars that radiating from the centre and it sports a sloping roofline to emphasise its lower stance and wind-cheating aerodynamics.
The rear end is clean and has wraparound LED taillights for a continuous styling line from any angle. There are two different wheel designs (17 and 18-inch).
Lexus Australia chief Scott Thompson said the hybrid system aligned with the brand’s global direction.
“In Australia, hybrid accounts for 30 per cent of Lexus sales, so offering the latest generation ES solely with an advanced self-charging hybrid system represents another milestone towards greater electrification of our line-up,” he said.
Inside, the centre display screen, instrument panel and head-up display is in a tight cluster in the driver’s field of view.
Rear-seat passenger comfort is improved by a lower hip point and the longer wheelbase makes for generous legroom.
The ES, known mainly for its comfort and quietness, will now also be capable of class-leading handling and power.
The car will have a new, exceptionally rigid front-wheel-drive chassis, an all-new multilink suspension design, rack-mounted electric power steering and a V-brace behind the rear seat.
The ES 300h lays claim to ‘exceptional fuel efficiency, responsive performance and minimal emissions for a mid-size luxury sedan.’
The new hybrid system couples an Atkinson cycle 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a lighter, more compact, more power-dense electric motor and self-charging hybrid system which combine to deliver 153kW and better than 6.0 litres/100km in combined driving.
Lexus says the car’s overall drivability has been improved via a more sophisticated hybrid system control computer that is better able to mimic the feel and power delivery of a standard petrol engine. The nickel-hydrogen battery is smaller, allowing it to be mounted underneath the rear seat so it doesn’t infringe on boot space.
A new safety feature is daytime cyclist detection which is part of the comprehensive pre-collision system which has also been enhanced to better detect pedestrians at night by increasing the radar’s sensitivity and dynamic range.
The car’s two-stage adaptive high beam system can turn the high beams on and off automatically and its 24 individual LED light array is capable of adapting the light pattern to provide enhanced illumination while reducing glare for oncoming drivers.
Lexus Australia will offer the seventh-generation ES 300h in Luxury and Sports Luxury grades. More details on grades and pricing will be announced at launch.