The Lexus ES will aim to find a niche between the Japanese luxury car maker's mid-sized and large sedans when it launches in Australia next month from $63,000.
While priced between the IS and GS lines, the 4895mm-long sixth-generation ES is actually larger than both, measuring 230mm longer than the former and 45mm longer than the latter.
The Lexus ES returns after a seven-year hiatus from the Australian market, as the previous-generation ES was produced in left-hand-drive only. It marks a comeback for what is Lexus’ most popular passenger vehicle in its history, with more than 1.5 million sold globally since the nameplate’s launch in 1989, including more than 7000 in Australia.
In a world first for the ES and an Australian first for any model line, the hybrid variant – the ES300h – will be the price leader while the conventional petrol model – the ES350 – will come with a $2000 price premium, starting at $65,000.
Powering the ES300h is a less sophisticated version of the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine found in the cheaper IS300h and an electric motor, which combine for a total output of 151kW. An automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) sends drive to the front wheels.
Lexus Australia will confirm official specifications at next month’s launch, but has previously suggested the hybrid’s combined cycle fuel consumption would dip below 6.0 litres per 100km.
The ES350 produces 204kW and 336Nm from its 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, which teams exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Both variants will be offered in entry-level Luxury and high-grade Sports Luxury trim levels.
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, Drive Mode Select, 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.
Lexus Australia CEO Sean Hanley says he expects to sell at least 100 ES sedans per month, bettering the numbers achieved by the ES the last time it was sold in our market.
Hanley expects a 60:40 sales split of hybrid to petrol models and a 70:30 split of Luxury versus Sports Luxury trims.
Addressing a criticism of past generations, the ES no longer directly shares its platform with the Toyota Camry, instead employing the underpinnings of the US-market Toyota Avalon.
The sixth-generation Lexus ES will arrive in local showrooms in November, around 18 months after it debuted at last year’s New York auto show.
Lexus ES manufacturer’s list prices:
- ES300h Luxury – $63,000
- ES350 Luxury – $65,000
- ES300h Sports Luxury – $72,000
- ES350 Sports Luxury – $74,000