2015 Lexus ES 350 Sports Luxury

The ES goes back almost to the beginnings of Lexus in Australia in the early 1990s, being the second car to come here after the LS 400. Since then it has pretty much ploughed a straight, if unspectacular, furrow.

Now the mid-size sedan has been given a makeover to bring it into line with the latest company thinking and offer buyers an introduction, and possible step up, to the next level of Lexus luxury. This has been done by taking cues from the company’s L-Finesse design language.

The new ES comes in two versions – ES 350 V6 petrol and ES 300h four-cylinder petrol / electric hybrid, both in Luxury or Sports Luxury spec.

While the wide track and bold wheel arches of the previous model have been kept, the now traditional Lexus pinched waist radiator grille has been widened, giving the impression of more width and height.

The satin finished grille surround is angled inwards as in recent Lexus releases while emphasising the car’s individualism. Flanking this are new headlamps, daytime running lights and reflectors.

2015 Lexus ES 350 Sports Luxury

At the back, once again, there has been an attempt to give a wider look to the vehicle. Red sections of the lamp cluster have been lowered to do this, while the lower bumper has been broadened and boot lid garnish has been integrated into the lights and extended to the clear lenses.

The combination features an extended L-shaped motif and diamond shaped muffler diffusers bring the ES into line with the new Lexus NX and RC models. Two new 17-inch wheel patterns with directional spokes are offered, as well as four new exterior colours.
The paint has Lexus’s self-restoring surface which lets the paint’s clear coating ‘heal’ itself from minor damage.

The drag coefficient of 0.27 has been retained.

A great deal of attention has been paid by engineers to body structure, which benefits from the use of high strength materials and advanced construction techniques. The Lexus ES body contains five grades of high tensile steel.

Computer modelling and physical crash testing for the car’s ability to absorb front, side and rear impacts, while the roof and pillars were studied to help reduce the potential for head injuries to occupants.

ES also debuts the Lexus Safety System+ which combines four pieces of passive technology into a single network. These are a pre-collision system, lane departure warning, automatic high beam lighting and active cruise control.

2015 Lexus ES 350 Sports Luxury

The pre-collision system works via a grille mounted radar sensor which scans for potential crashes ahead and warns the drive in such a situation then automatically increases the braking force to slow the vehicle and limit the accident severity.

Active cruise control, via forward radar, monitors the vehicle ahead and adjusts the ES speed to keep a pre-set safe distance, while automatic high beam works at night by automatically switching between high and low beam to avoid dazzling other road users.

Prices of the ES range start at $62,500, plus on-road costs, for the ES 300h Luxury and top out at $71,500 for the ES 350 Sports Luxury. The latter can also be had with the Lexus-first panoramic glass roof for $2000. Other enhancement packs are available across the range.

At first look, the new ES appears a worthy introduction to Lexus luxury. The jury is still out on performance, a drive of the ES vehicles is for a later time.

Lexus ES 300h Luxury: $62,500
Lexus ES 300h Sports Luxury: $70,500
Lexus ES 350 Luxury: $63,500
Lexus ES 350 Sports Luxury: $71,500
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Lexus dealer for drive-away prices.

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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