The exquisite Lexus ES ups its game

The new Lexus is built on the new Global Architecture-K platform, giving excellent body rigidity and design freedom.

30 April 2018 | Motors

"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." - Project chief designer Yasuo Kajino.

MOTORPRESS



After six generations of success in the mid-sized sedan category, the new, seventh-generation Lexus ES is forging a new, more ambitious path. Long renowned for its comfort, refinement and luxury appointments, the new ES builds on its strengths with an all-new chassis that allows for a more dynamic exterior design and even better driving performance.

It is a further expression of Lexus’s design direction and commitment to crafting vehicles that provide more excitement, emotional connection and passion, helping bring the brand’s vision for its future to a wider audience.

Traditional buyers will find the new ES more spacious, quieter and safer than ever before, while a new generation of customers will be introduced to a sedan with sharpened performance, class-leading safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this market segment.

The new generation ES is a true example of the new chapter in Lexus design that has a much stronger emotional quality. The model range features the ES 300h, powered by a new self-charging hybrid system, ES 200, ES 250 and ES 350 petrol engine.

New dimensions in ES design

Built on the all-new Global Architecture - K (GA-K) platform, the new Lexus ES is longer (+65mm), lower (-5mm) and wider (+45mm) with wheels that have been pushed closer to the corners thanks to a 50mm longer wheelbase and wider tracks front (+10mm) and rear (+37mm). Its stance and proportions reflect its new-found performance capabilities and give the ES the kind of eye-catching appeal that will make owners and admirers take a second look.

Project chief designer Yasuo Kajino described the look of the ES as "provocative elegance".

"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," he said.

To create a dynamic yet fluid shape, Kajino's team used the low bonnet enabled by the new ES platform to produce a distinctive silhouette emphasised by an aggressive downward slant.

In a break with ES models of the past, the seventh-generation design uses a fast roofline that emphasises its lower stance and slippery aerodynamics.

The rear end is clean and sharply chiselled, with LED tail lamps wrapping around the quarter panels to provide a continuous styling line from any angle.

Three different 17 and 18-inch wheel designs are available for the standard ES models, with the F Sport versions running on 19-inch wheels that are similar in appearance to those found on the Lexus LC coupe.

The future of Lexus interiors

When designing the look and feel of the ES interior, Kajino's team started with the Lexus Future Interior concept which blends a driver-centric cockpit with a spacious and comfortable area for the front passenger.

The driver's focus is kept on the road ahead by placing the centre display screen, instrument panel and head-up display in a tight cluster in the driver's field of view.

Adjustments to the steering wheel angle and position and to the brake pedal angle and location provide the driver with a natural driving position.

Front passengers, on the other hand, get a more open and spacious environment that promotes relaxation.

Rear-seat passenger comfort has long been a hallmark of the ES and the seventh-generation model prioritises rear package capability despite the sleeker exterior roofline.

A lower hip point and a carefully configured headliner preserve headroom while the longer wheelbase delivers uncharacteristically generous legroom.

Interior colours and materials give the cabin a modern, yet warm look and feel with a hand-crafted appearance that luxury buyers expect and will appreciate in this category.

A new era of performance

The engineering team had a clear goal - to transform the image of the ES. That meant turning a sedan known primarily for comfort and quietness into one that is equally capable of delivering class-leading handling and power that you can feel and hear.

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 ES with a new-found precision.

The chassis team sought to create a sense of comforting predictability coupled with a feeling of quick response to every movement.

“We want every kind of driver to feel a sense of complete control when they are behind the wheel of the ES. It’s a level of comfort that goes beyond merely delivering a smooth ride,” Yoshiaki Ito, the ES’ chief test driver, explained.

The next chapter in the ES story

The seventh-generation ES will usher in a new era for one of Lexus’s longest-established and most popular models. It delivers everything traditional Lexus buyers expect, together with qualities that will draw in those who may not have considered the brand before. Stronger styling, more dynamic performance, high-quality interior finishes and the latest safety technology will help recast the image of the ES into one that is new and unexpected.

Specification details may vary according to market; confirmed details of the Southern African model range and specifications will be announced nearer the launch date later this year.

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