The Lexus ES medium sedan is a chance to return to Australia after Lexus today confirmed the all-new model will be produced in right-hand drive.

Lexus USA vice president and general manager Mark Templin took the wraps off the ES350 and ES300h hybrid models at the 2012 New York auto show, and confirmed right-hand-drive variants would go into production “later next year”.

The announcement is welcome news for local fans of the entry-luxury mid-sizer. Just last week, Lexus Australia’s Peter Evans told CarAdvice the brand would “strongly support a business case to bring the model to Australia, if and when it is produced as a right-hand drive vehicle”.

The ES nameplate has not featured in Lexus Australia’s line-up since 2006. At the time, the fourth-generation model was a slow seller locally, and was widely criticised for being too similar to the Toyota Camry on which it was based. The subsequent fifth-generation model was only produced in left-hand drive, forcing its exit from the local marketplace.

If the ES is confirmed for a return to Australia, it would be expected to be positioned between the IS and GS lines.

Templin believes there will be no quality concerns about the sixth-generation ES, however, insisting that it can go “toe-to-toe with cars in more expensive segments”, specifically picking out the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which he says is the same size as the ES but offers less interior space.

The ES350 will be powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels. The ES300h gets a hybrid system with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor – likely to be similar to the powertrain found in the new Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Lexus is yet to reveal powertrain specifications or performance data, but says the ES300h is expected to return combined cycle fuel consumption figures of 5.9 litres per 100km.

Both variants can be driven in Normal, Sport and Eco modes, while the hybrid can also be set to EV mode for short, battery-powered stints.

The signature Lexus spindle grille takes pride of place at the front along with standard daytime running lights, while the ES350 gets sporty dual exhausts at the rear.

Lexus focused on creating a classier cabin for the new ES, and has achieved that through the use of soft-touch plastics, numerous colours and textures, and new technology features.

The ES inherits the second-generation Remote Touch Interface system from the new GS to aid operation of climate, audio, phone and navigation controls.

The ES is also equipped with 10 airbags as standard and can be optioned with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure alert and pre-collision system.

With the reintroduction of right-hand drive production, Templin says ES is now “an important global vehicle for Lexus [that] will contribute greatly to the expansion of our brand in both mature and emerging markets all over the world”.

  • Zadro

    I must admit this is very neat..

  • F1

    Very nice car

  • Guesto

    Camry plus chrome.

    • Phil

      Yep and the unveiling of the new ES350 is right on queue after the release of the new Crapry/Ewwrion.

  • MisterZed

    In the USA, the ES350 is cheaper than the IS350.  If Lexus can do the same here in Australia, this would make the ES350 less than $65,000, which would be a great price.  At the moment, Australia lacks any kind of affordable luxury V6 sedan, so we *need* this.

    • Phil

      We have the Ewwrion Presara. Its the same car just different styling and price ($49,990).

      Also I think the Holden Crapice is supposed to be Australia’s affordable luxury sedan.

      • Jimt

        Actually the new ES is no longer based on the Camry/Aurion platform 😉

        Holden caprice? Lmao, that’s just a commodore with shiny plastic chrome hahahaaa

        • Phil

          You think the Toyota Avalon platform is any different? It’s just a enlarged Crapry/Ewwrion platform! It’ll still come with added shiny plastic chrome hahahaaaa

          • DWS1

            I think you will find the Aurion is just a 6 cylinder Camry with a slightly different face and badges.
            The Holden Calais is a V6 or V8 affordable Luxury sedan. The Caprice is a longer wheel based Holden Limo.

          • F1

            Since when was the Aurion ever considered to be a luxury sedan?

          • HP

            Who claimed that? 

  • Sherwin

    It’s interesting how the Lexus has the ES and GS to tackle the Mercedes E-class, essentially the BMW 5 series, and also the Audi A6. I really wonder why. If it isn’t then, is it in a class of it’s own? Nevertheless, the first impression is very positive, this car, is a big step away from the old ES, where it was ugly, and was essentially too well connected with the Camry, in terms of design. 

  • Sherwin

    Although I must say, it’s still got it’s camry connections, in the exterior, especially the rear. I think the front and rear are actually from the Aurion… just in more Luxurious detail. The interior is obviously Lexus and not Toyota at all. Even though I have noted these things, I really like the new interior, and the price is decent for a large car that is apparently going to tackle the E-class. I think it might even be cheaper than the GS’s base price of $77k. That would be a major plus, for a car with such a nice interior, and the exterior, even though, a fair amount like the Aurion, it’s still very nice and not exactly Aurion. So I would buy one. 

    • Sherwin

      Take that back, I would wait for what the experts think of the drive, and if it’s as good as the new GS, then I would get one. 

  • Mannmanly

    So it’s basically a FWD GS?

    • Phil

      No, it’s a Crapry/Ewwrion with different bodywork and interior and always has been.

      • Springvale Boi

        To say that Lexus ES = Camry/Aurion is like saying Audi = VW Golf. High quality materials, extremely tight tolerance control and strict QA aren’t cheap.

        • F1MotoGP

           I agree. People should check on youtube ”
          Lexus “The Hard Way”video.

  • GIG

    I just can’t deal with a FWD Luxury car…

  • Carson

    In the US, the ES in the the same price category as the IS. They are rivals rival for C-class, 3 Series, A4. GS is a class above and significantly more expensive.

    I’m not sure why Lexus have separate names for IS and ES when they are more or less the same price. IS350 about USD3.5k more expensive than ES350. So essentially it is the ES coupe.

    • Sherwin

      That’s really interesting, as the C clasd, A4 and the 3 series, are all smaller.

  • Springvale Boi

    This is a $60k car for people that don’t like road noise, road hum, cabin boom, suspension creak, wind baffle, engine noise and exhaust resonance. QC and attention to detail on this car is better than the Camry despite both sharing the same platform. 

    • Sherwin

      Which are the key elements to a good daily drive. Should also be very interesting how Lexus’ new driving dynamics will be.

    • Gmt

      Umm the new ES350 is no longer based on the Camry platform.

      It’s based on the Avalon platform..

      • Kd

        Which in turn is based on the Camry Platform. In fact it is just a stretched Camry platform.

        That makes this a Camry with woodgrain. WOOHOO!

  • Idt

    The Aurion is a pretty good car, good engine.. Zr6 one is nice

  • Spec1

    The 3.5L V6 (2GR-FE) is gonna be further improved.. With more low friction technology to be used..

    Power is gonna be bumped upto 210Kw, 370Nm @ 3800rpm

    Fuel consumption of 9.4/100Km

    Improved 6-speed transmission

    • JooberJCW

      Dunno why they bother having two identical engines one with direct and one without direct? cant all these 3.5 ltr Toyota and lexus have the same engine. I’d rather them spend the money improving the directinjected engine to make it superior against those offered by Nissan who are 200cc above. That would be a real selling point.

      • MisterZed

        Because the direct inject engines usually require more expensive premium fuel.  While the regular 3.5L V6 can use regular unleaded.

        • JooberJCW

           Actually bit of searching, and found out that the direct injected 2GR can run on 91, They say premium across the board, basing it off the US market where 91 octane is considered premium over there.

          • MisterZed

            It probably means that it runs on American 91 rating, which is not the same as our 91.  Their ‘regular’ is 87, I believe.

      • Spec1

        The reason is that the direct injected V6 is used for the more expensive models..

        IS250 has direct injection (4GR-FSE) the IS350&GS350 (2GR-FSE) have both port & direct injection..

        But the power difference is not from the injectors but with the Cam profiling, Valve timing and better exhuast.. Also better rocker ratios for the 2GR-FSE

        The 2GR is arguably the best V6 available today; velvety smooth, quiet & unruffled.. Beautiful power delivery..

  • mrxandthexfactor

    Quite disappointed that there is no F-Sport version. 

  • Alex

    Anyone else thinks it looks like an i45 from the rear a little?

    • Kol

      No, it doesn’t look like an i45 what so ever..

    • Martin

      Maybe not specifically i45, but the back does look like it could wear a Hyundai badge without looking out of place.

    • JH

      Looks more like the IS

    • Jimmy

      That’s te first thing I thought too, the rear end looks just like an I45!

    • Batsosi Busang Motsepeng

      It looks like Hyundai and very Korean.

  • Hnry

    It has an elegent style..

    Interior looks nice

  • coolbeans

    Only negative I see is the wood trim in the interior, otherwise a HUGE improvement!

  • Crikey

    That is probably the most stunning FWD car i have ever seen.

    Nice … very nice !

    • JooberJCW

      Yep nice, but I still rate the body of the Kia optima

      • Batsosi Busang Motsepeng

        You are right, the rear looks very Korean. 

  • Shak

    I really dont see the point of this car in Australia. Lexus already have the IS to go head to head with the 3 Series, C Class and the A4. Then they have the GS to mash it up with the 5, E and A6. Where would this car fit in? Its not as if there’s a huge pricing gap between the top spec IS and base model GS, in order for Lexus to be able to justify selling this on pricing. If they price it too low it will cannibalise IS sales, too high and no one will buy it. 

    Nothing against the car though, i do quite like it even thought it is FWD.

    • Coolio

      It’s sold in USA, more expensive then IS250 but cheaper then IS350.. So it won’t cannibalise sales of the IS..

  • Igv

    Lexus is substance..

    • Kd

      Lexus is Toyota with woodgrain

  • Gus

    Wait till you see the new Nissan Altima  

  • O123

    is that a cassette player?

    • PD


  • Ee

    I’ve driven aurion and those things are fast and very very smooth

    If this is priced between 60-70k it will do good

  • Jb1

    Very very nice car

  • TbCuzx

    If only the aurion was a rear wheel Drive

  • Poison_Eagle

    This is on the Camry platform? We should be building it here! We need something like this to bolster our industry. Oh wait a minute that makes too much sense. Nevermind….