Lexus says ES to new saloon

The old switcheroo: Lexus swaps out GS saloon for new ES, and it’s hy­brid-only. By Jake Groves

CAR (UK) - - Insider -

YOU’LL BARELY NO­TICE, but Lexus is qui­etly shuf­fling the GS saloon out of West­ern Europe to be re­placed with this: the new ES. It’s a model fa­mil­iar in the US and Rus­sia, but it’s the first gen­er­a­tion of the mid-sized exec to be sold in the UK.

The ES uses Toy­ota/Lexus’s GA-K plat­form also seen in the fresh ’n’ chunky new RAV4, so it swaps the GS’s rear-driven wheels for front-wheel drive and fea­tures adap­tive sus­pen­sion lifted from the LC coupe. In­side, it’s still trad Lexus with lux­u­ri­ous ma­te­ri­als, a track­pad-based in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem and dig­i­tal di­als.

F Sport spec uses a ‘Hadori’ metal­lic trim in­spired by Ja­panese sword mak­ers. Lexus’s ‘Safety Sense +’ semi-au­ton­o­mous safety kit is stan­dard, while a boom­ing Mark Levin­son au­dio sys­tem is op­tional.

Want con­ven­tional petrol or diesel power in West­ern Europe? Tough. Lexus, like Toy­ota, is phas­ing out diesel power, and the turbo petrol 200t en­gines are qui­etly be­ing bumped from the range due to poor sales, so the only ES pow­er­train over here is the 300h hy­brid. A 2.5-litre Atkin­son-cy­cle petrol en­gine linked to an elec­tric mo­tor cranks out 212bhp, and Lexus says it’s ca­pa­ble of achiev­ing 60.1mpg. UK de­liv­er­ies are com­ing in Jan­uary 2019.

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