The 2019 Lexus ES is important for a number of reasons, one of which is that for the first time it will be available in Britain. But what else is worth knowing about the mid-size executive saloon? Ben Griffin jetted off to the launch in Brussels to investigate.
It is easy to forget the trusty saloon these days, what with SUV and crossover popularity in full bloom. But the beauty of the tried and tested executive cruiser is deep-rooted, a point still noticed by a lot of British buyers who, presumably, would rather eat their own hand than have an estate or 4×4.
The latest example to join the BMW 5 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes E-Class bunch is the 2019 Lexus ES. Replacing the outgoing GS, the ES is actually in its seventh generation though we doubt you knew that (or probably cared). It has been around since 1989 and millions have found themselves homes worldwide, but only now will it be sold in the UK.
Just like the average motorist, the 2019 Lexus ES has grown in size. It is now 65mm longer, 45mm wider and has a 50mm longer wheelbase compared to its predecessor, which means more interior space and slightly less room for error when parking. The front and rear track have widened, too.
Everything now sits on the new Global Architecture-K platform, unlike the LC. Benefits of the GA-K platform includes a lower centre of gravity, improved rigidity and a lower weight. This should mean improved handling.
Most Lexus ES models will be front-wheel drive (as opposed to the rear-wheel drive norm). The exception is the ES F Sport version, which is a first for the model and one of the two models that will be sold in the UK. It gets larger 19-inch alloys, inspired by the LC, a new metallic cabin trim (inspired by Japanese sword makers, apparently), two unique paintjobs and a prominent spindle front grille.
The other model coming to the UK is the 300h hybrid, which combines the combustion-based grumblings of a four-cylinder 2.5-litre Atkinson Cycle engine and an electric motor. The total power output is 215bhp and fuel economy is claimed to be up to 60.1mpg, which will make it more tempting to penny-conscious drivers.
Other improvements over the outgoing Lexus ES includes a better safety package. In the case of the ES 300h hybrid, the pre-collision system can now detect cyclists and even pedestrians at night and is a standard fixture. A two-stage adaptive high beam system, meanwhile, comprised a 24-LED array can adapt its light pattern to avoid blinding those driving towards you.
Apple CarPlay sees its debut on the ES, which will be good news for iOS users. Those in the car can also benefit from an optional 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. There is also a new interior, which is driver-centric and looks far more likely to tempt motorists away from the established Germanic competition.
The 2019 Lexus ES is yet to receive a UK price and details of the exact specifications, but that will change as we head towards the January 2019 release date. The first drive will take place either at the end of 2018 or the start of 2019 so stay tuned.
On a related note, our trip to Belgium also involved the unveiling of a Lexus airport lounge, which is located at Brussels airport. It is available to Star Alliance members, but Lexus is in talks to provide owners of its cars the same benefit.
Sadly, there is no time-frame on when this will come to fruition – if at all. So maybe bring your own coffee, pastries and magazines just in case.