The Lexus ES has launched in Australia from $63,000, marking the end of a seven-year Australian market hiatus for the luxury model.
Also, in a world first for the ES and an Australian first for any model line, the hybrid variant (ES300h) undercuts its petrol-powered sibling (ES350) – at $65,000 the conventional engine comes at a $2000 premium.
Teaming a 118kW/213Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – a less sophisticated version of that found in the cheaper IS300h – with a 105kW/270Nm electric motor, the ES300h has a combined total output of 151kW.
With an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) sending drive to the front wheels, the hybrid claims combined-cycle fuel economy of 5.5 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 130 grams per kilometre.
Apart from claiming a 0-100km/h of 8.5 seconds, from start-up, at speeds up to 45km/h and when reversing, the ES300h can also operate off electric power alone.
More than a second faster to 100km/h (7.4 seconds), the 204kW/346Nm 3.5-litre V6-powered Lexus ES350 claims efficiency figures of 9.5L/100km and 224g/km.
Available on both hybrid and petrol models, Lexus’ Drive Mode Select system allows drivers to select between Eco, Sport and Normal vehicle behaviour settings depending on their preference for either performance or efficiency. Affecting steering, throttle response and the air conditioner, the system’s three modes can be selected via the centre console-mounted rotary knob.
Both variants will be offered in entry-level Luxury and high-grade Sports Luxury trim levels, with the base ES300h Luxury optionally available with a $3000 Enhancement Pack that includes pre-collison safety systems and active cruise control.
Standard for all ES models in Australia is satellite navigation, reversing camera, parking sensors, blind spot monitor, sunroof, keyless entry with push-button start, 10 airbags, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, Lexus Remote Touch, and an eight-speaker audio system with digital radio.
Commanding a $9000 premium, the Sports Luxury grade gains HID headlamps, power boot lid, three-zone climate control, semi-aniline leather-accented upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, rear centre armrest controls, rear sun shades, and a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
Inside, 1015.4mm of rear seat legroom joins 490 litres of luggage capacity – 425L for the hybrid – with both variants coming with a full size spare.
Helping to distinguish the ES300h from its petrol counterpart are blue-tinged Lexus badges front and rear, ‘Hybrid’ emblems on the rear doors and a boot lid spoiler. Model-specific 17-inch wheels are also added to both Luxury and Sports Luxury hybrid models.
The ES350 Luxury gains six-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, while 10-spoke items adorn the ES350 Sports Luxury.
Read: Lexus ES Review.
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Lexus ES manufacturer’s list prices: