Just like old times

Well, you asked for it — that’s why the mild-man­nered ES is back

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@cars­guide.com.au

TOY­OTA’S lux­ury brand is bring­ing back its most Toy­ota-like car. The Lexus ES, which shares its un­der­pin­nings with the front-wheel-drive Toy­ota Avalon avail­able in the US, re­turns late this year seven years af­ter it was dropped. Lexus Aus­tralia is in talks over cost and spec­i­fi­ca­tion, which will de­ter­mine if both petrol and hy­brid ver­sions make it.

The ES de­sign closely re­sem­bles the GS’s but Lexus says its re­turn is based on ap­peal to a sep­a­rate set of cus­tomers. It is priced in the $70,000 range be­tween the IS and GS.

Lexus ES chief en­gi­neer Toshio Asahi says the new ve­hi­cle has been devel­oped from scratch, with some at­ten­tion paid to the dy­nam­ics.

‘‘ I drove all of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions to gain an un­der­stand­ing of its strengths and weak­nesses,’’ he says.

‘‘ Im­me­di­ately I de­ter­mined space, re­fine­ment and com­fort were the pri­or­ity, but I also knew dy­namic per­for­mance needed some at­ten­tion.’’ Asahi says the new ES plat­form is longer, wider, lower and more rigid to de­liver ‘‘ a driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence un­like any ve­hi­cle be­fore it, while main­tain­ing those hall­mark com­fort, space and re­fine­ment char­ac­ter­is­tics’’.

The front-drive lay­out gives the ES more rear legroom than the sportier rear-drive GS, plus a larger boot and more re­laxed road man­ners. It shares its petrol V6 and six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with the RX350 SUV, so peak out­puts are likely to be 204kW at 6200rpm and 346Nm at 4700rpm. US fig­ures sug­gest a thirst of about 9.8L/100km.

The hy­brid model, with peak petrol-elec­tric out­put of 220kW, weighs about 60kg more, uses about 5.9L/100km and has 340L of boot ca­pac­ity.

The ES is the brand’s sec­ond most pop­u­lar model glob­ally. Al­most 7000 ES 300s sold here from 1992.

‘‘ To­day we still have many loyal ES own­ers who refuse to pur­chase any­thing other than an ES and the great news is they won’t have to wait much longer,’’ Lexus Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Sean Han­ley says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.