The return of the Lexus ES to Australia for the first time since 2006 has been confirmed by the Japanese brand.
Lexus had been expected to bring the mid-size luxury sedan back to the local market after the company revealed in April 2012 that the latest, sixth-generation model would be built in right-hand drive as well as left-hand drive.
The Lexus ES, the brand’s second most popular vehicle globally, will go on sale in the fourth quarter, positioned between the IS compact sedan and GS large sedan. A new-generation IS also launches in 2013.
The IS currently starts at $55,800 with the GS range kicking off at $77,400.
Lexus Australia says it will announce pricing and specification details closer to the ES’s launch, though there’s only one petrol and one hybrid model to choose from in other markets.
The Lexus ES350 employs a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine while the Lexus ES300h combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for fuel economy the company says will dip below 6.0L/100km.
The latest Lexus ES is 4.9 metres long and sits on a new platform that is longer, lower and wider than before.
It features the ‘spindle’ grille that is now a familiar design element of all Lexus vehicles, and the interior includes 10 airbags as well as the company’s ‘remote touch’ mouse-style menu controller system.
The last Lexus ES to be sold in Australia was the ES300, which ran from 2002 to 2006 but sold relatively slowly before the model line was forced out as a result of the fifth-generation model being left-hand-drive only.