PALOS VERDES, California — Lexus threw two debut bashes for its new midsize luxury sedan on opposite sides of the globe: one in Beijing as part of the Auto China 2018 show and one in our backyard in Palos Verdes, California. The all-new ES is the seventh-generation of a mainstay of the Lexus lineup. The latest spindle grille and crisply designed sheet metal are the most surface-level changes, but there’s much more to the plush four-door inside.
Buyers can pick from both gas and hybrid-powered options. Lexus’ 3.5-liter V-6 engine is standard across the range developing 302 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Lexus says the eight-speed automatic has wider gear ratios and taller gearing to prioritize efficiency. The ES 350h hybrid uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired to an electric motor with a combined output of 215 hp.
The sedan is bigger than ever too. It’s 2.6-inch longer, 1.8-inch wider, 0.2-inch lower, and has a longer wheelbase by a full 2-inches. Lexus added new color choices across the range: Moonbeam Beige Metallic and Sunlit Green.
It’s also the first time the ES sedan can be equipped with the F Sport package. This adds such appointments like more aggressive styling, including a blacked out grille with an “L” pattern, and an upgraded suspension with adjustable dampers. Buyers who opt for the sportier version of the ES also get a rear spoiler and standard 19-inch wheels, which Lexus says, are similar to the LC coupe.
An exclusive “Ultra Sonic Blue Mica” is also part the suite of F Sport cosmetic embellishments. These touches reach the interior as well, which is trimmed with aluminum and F badged seats up front.
Apple iPhone junkies will be excited to hear that Apple CarPlay can be equipped as part of the infotainment suite, another first for the ES. The system is also enabled with Amazon Alexa, which allows owners to issue commands between the car and-home or from the home to the car. An 8.0-inch display, standard across the lineup, but a much bigger 12.3-inch screen accompanies cars optioned with navigation. Available Verizon Wi-Fi tops off the new ES models’ assortment of tech. The ES sedan offers Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard equipment.
The ES is still based on the Toyota Avalon platform. We’ve just driven the newest-generation sedan, so for an idea of what can be expected from the Lexus ES dynamics-wise, check it out here. The 2019 Lexus ES hits the market in September 2018 with pricing available soon.