Mystery Lexus ES Spotted in California

Motor Trend spy photographers have spotted a mystery Lexus ES in California:

Mystery 2013 Lexus ES

Mystery 2013 Lexus ES Rear

For reference, here’s a shot of the “regular” ES 350:

2013 Lexus ES

Visible differences on the mystery model are black-painted wheels and different Frankenstein rear lights — curious modifications for a car that’s already seen its public debut, and makes for some interesting speculation:

  • We could be looking at a F SPORT edition of the ES, though I would expect to see some front-end camouflage were that the case.
  • Another possibility is that this is an ES equipped with All-Wheel Drive.
  • Lastly, it could simply be a ES 350 pre-production prototype, but that hardly explains the modifications.

Take a look at the photos and tell me what you think — F SPORT, AWD, ES prototype, or something else entirely?

[Source: Motor Trend] (Thanks Chris!)


  • kyle

    possibly a lexus ES ultra luxury edition..

    • krew

      Ultra Luxury package gets the panoramic glass roof.

    • krew

      Ultra Luxury package gets the panoramic glass roof.

  • Bomberpete

    could be an ES hybrid

    • krew

      ES hybrid doesn’t have visible mufflers, and has a little badge on the side. :-)

    • krew

      ES hybrid doesn’t have visible mufflers, and has a little badge on the side. :-)

  • Cor Cross

    Hoping its an ES AWD or F sport….id hazard a guess its an AWD if anything due to the standard ride height. 

  • kyle

    motor trend claims no ES F sport or AWD model will be put into production because of the way customers prefer to “steer rather than corner” this car.

    But they could always be wrong.. But i still wouldnt want an ES, F sport package.

    • blkpantha

      lexus said there was 5 f sport models this year… GS F SPORT RX F SPORT LS F SPORT AND IS F SPORT .. THE GX is out because it hasn’t changed for 2013 so it might be an f s sport and LX has all its config already and I don’t think a new CT is coming for 2013 as it already have the spindle gril from day 1

  • BlackDynamiteNY

    I vote AWD.

    I’m sure dealers were on Lexus about adding that.  And I’m sure it would help sales in the Northeast…..

  • Yong Thian Ding

    Familiar taillight , forget where I saw it before … AWD could be it , if it’s F-Sport , they should test with bigger wheels though .

    • Eddie

       Well the supposedly tweaked taillight kinda reminds me of the old Hyundai Elantra…hopefully it won’t end up looking too similar. : /

       My opinion, AWD!

      • blkpantha

        -_- u got to be blind there is tape on the other side relax

    • krew

      The right side taillight remains me of the HS.

    • Yong Thian Ding

      I think I’ve got the answer for my own question , 
      2nd generation Toyota Mark X’s tail-light , notice the indicator is place toward center of the car .

  • Ojaghian

    this is a emissions test model. 

  • Bobby

    must be the tweaked model! jk hahahaha
    but seriously, remove some badges and black wheels and this car would look hella cleean. I hope F-Sport, but the demographic really doesnt need that, i hardly see younger audience/enthusiasts in this car. So AWD maybe, but still wouldnt really be needed. and why cover the tails? why you confuse me lexus!? haha

    • Bobby

      By “this car” i was referring to an ES350, sorry that wasnt clear.

  • Roberto Mot

    Don’t matter if is AWD,F-Sport,etc…
    Why taillights have different shape from original ES 350 and hybrid?
    If you remember model like GS-GSh,LS-LS600L,RX-RX400h,Lexus change only the color from taillights and headlights but not shape,just I’m saying!

  • MT

    It is just a normal ES 350. They forgot to remove the taping after the official launch.

  • DuDE

    Possible European version?

  • Nate Vongshotivat

    A large rear diffuser on ES Oo? Maybe F Sport ES I think

  • Utt

    The Lexus ES would look cool with wheels a bit larger..

    • blkpantha

      I think so too I think for this new design the wheel are way too little and the give the car a different look.. I think 18 or 19′ would b perfect for this car

      • 2008ES

        I think 18″ will be an option.

  • Bruce Macfarlane

    2013 ES350 F-Sport and AWD confirmed to no be available in Canada.

  • CorradoMR2

    My vote is neither on the AWD, nor the F-Sport.  That would be for the IS.  My feeling it it’s just a standard ES 350 undergoing final testing/tweaking that is lightly camouflaged because it has not officially been sold on the market yet (August 2013).

    • Carmaker1

       The ES goes on sale in August 2012, not 2013.

    • Josh Daugherty

      August 2012………….

      • Corradomr2

        yep, typo

  • Erich Kerner

    i am pretty sure that a AWD model of the ES would help Lexus sell this car in some parts of the world….

  • mrxandthexfactor

    Unrelated: Is it me or does the first image makes the ES look boring? In the third image, the ES looks elegant.
    Related: This camouflaged car is unlikely to be the F-Sport. The wheels are way to small. And is the rear diffuser blacked out as well?