MO­TOR­ING

The Lexus ES 350 gets a sharp and ag­gres­sive make over.

Friday - - Contents -

Lexus ES is a model as old as the brand it­self. Launched in1989, itwas oneof the­first two car sever towear the L badge, the other be­ing the flag­ship LS. While the full-size LS was area r-wheel drive car de­vel­oped from scratch to es­tab­lish Toy­ota’s premium divi­sion, the ES was a mid-size saloon based on the Camry’s front-wheel drive ar­chi­tec­ture.

This lay­out made the ES a unique player in the en­try-level lux­ury saloon seg­ment as it did not have many di­rect ri­vals ex­cept the Acura Leg­end in mar­kets where Honda’ s lux­ury arm was present. Un­der­stand­ably, the ES also gained a rep­u­ta­tion for cater­ing to a cer­tain de­mo­graphic that re­gards driv­ing as amun­dane daily rou­tine, tak­ing them from one point to an­other.

How­ever, in line with Lexus’s re­cent push for per­for­mance and ex­cite­ment, the sixth-gen­er­a­tion ES re­ceived some cos­metic and me­chan­i­cal fine-tun­ing three years ago.

For the 2016 model, which­was launched here a few weeks ago, the ES gets are styled front end, which aligns it with the rest of the Lexus line-up. A larger, more ag­gres­sive ver­sion of the spin­dle grille dom­i­nates the fas­cia, flanked by re­designed LED pro­jec­tor head­lights with in­te­grated L-shaped day­time run­ning lights.

While th­ese el­e­ments add a hint of bel­liger­ence to the ES’s pre­vi­ously con­ser­va­tive face, the new fog lamps that have been re­lo­cated to the outer lower cor­ners of the front bumper am­plify the car’s wide stance. This be­ing amid-life re­fresh, the side pro­file re­mains un­changed, which means there’ s still no crease or line to im­part that weeny bit of char­ac­ter it could do with along its flanks. The rear gets a mi­nor up­date too with the tail lamps also get­ting the L treat­ment and a pair of new rec­tan­gu­lar ex­haust tips. It looks much bet­ter now.

In­side, the 2016 Lexus ES350 re­mains the same, but for new colours and trims. Topaz Brown, Ivory, Moon Stone and Black are the newly avail­able cabin colours, while the four in­te­rior trim op­tions in­clude Bam­boo, Black Metal­lic, Bird’s-Eye Maple and Shi­mamoku, the last one only avail­able

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