Lexus has unveiled the next generation of its mid-size ES sedan ahead of its local introduction in the fourth quarter of 2018. The 2019 Lexus ES now sits on Lexus’ new global architecture platform – a variation of Toyota’s TNGA underneath the new Camry – and is longer, wider and taller than the car it replaces.
When it launches in Australia, the next generation of ES will be available only in hybrid form, with the ES350 3.5-litre V6 and eight-speed automatic offered in North American models to be left out for Australia. Available only in ES300h hybrid form, the ES will launch in Australia in two specifications – Luxury and Sports Luxury.
Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson said offering an advanced hybrid system as the sole powertrain aligned with the brand’s global direction of recasting the traditional image of the ES into one that is new and unexpected.
“In Australia, hybrid accounts for 30 percent of Lexus sales, so offering the latest generation ES solely with an advanced self-charging hybrid system represents another significant milestone towards greater electrification of our line-up,” Mr Thompson said.
Stylistically, the 2019 Lexus ES differs greatly from the car it replaces – it resembles the larger LS sedan, which is no mistake. Its front is low and slinky, with the latest version of the Lexus corporate spindle grille proudly present on the front. The headlights are thin and aggressive, whilst the The side and rear are more shapely than before, with large creases in the rear bumper and new all-LED tailights providing a much more handsome and expensive look than the previous ES.
Project chief designer Yasuo Kajino described the look of the ES as “provocative elegance”. He said: “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.”
The 2019 Lexus ES sits on the new Lexus Global Architecture-K platform, which is a variation of Toyota’s TNGA. It’s 65mm longer than before, with 45mm of extra width. The front is 10mm wider, whilst the rear track is 37mm wider than before. The wheelbase is now 50mm than before, making for less overhang on each end, whilst 5mm has been cut from the overall height of the car.
Mechanically, a new multi-link rear suspension setup is now standard, whilst Australian buyers will only be able to buy one powerplant – the hybrid ES300h. It uses a 2.5-litre Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor, making 153kW of power in total. Torque figures are yet to be released, but we’d expect it to be around 350Nm in total. Lexus hasn’t talked fuel economy figures yet, though it promises that the ES will use ‘under 6.0L/100km’ on a combined cycle. The hybrid system has been tuned to rely more on its battery pack than its engine, increasing the car’s fuel efficiency.
In Australia, the 2019 Lexus ES will be offered with a high standard of equipment. Lexus Safety System+ with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, radar cruise control with stop&go, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, as well as two-stage adaptive LED headlights.
The interior of the 2019 Lexus ES is a marked departure from the car it replaces as well, with strong influence from the larger LS. The cabin appears more expensive through the use of leather on the dashboard, and rich wood on the doors and upper dashboard.
The 2019 Lexus ES will go on sale in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2018, with local pricing and specifications to be announced before then. Stay tuned to Chasing Cars for Lexus news and reviews.