Lexus ES: Sixth Generation

First Impressions of the 2019 Lexus ES & ES F SPORT

Lexus ES Hero Shot

Last week, I attended a unique event, something I’ve never seen before. Lexus had invited North American media to see the next-generation ES sedan, synchronized at the very same time it would debut at the Beijing Motor Show.

Lexus ES Media Presentation

This kind of production brings a sense of importance to the ES launch, and for good reason. Two major markets, Western Europe and Japan, will offer the ES for the very first time, making it a truly global Lexus model. This new level of responsibility, coupled with the task of following up the recent LC coupe and LS sedan, sets up a challenging situation all round.

And even as the cover is pulled aside and I see the ES in real life, I’m preoccupied. There’s an elephant in the room, one that has been dominating conversations among the Lexus faithful — what does this mean for the GS?

Lexus ES Launch

Let’s go back to the spring of last year, when the future of the Lexus ES sedan became directly linked with its GS stablemate. Japanese magazine Mag-X had just reported the next-generation ES would become the global mid-size sedan and replace the GS in all markets.

This turned out to be a divisive issue among enthusiasts, who lean predominantly towards the GS as a proper competitor to the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-series. Should the ES become the default Lexus mid-size, it was discussed, there would need to be some concessions towards performance — perhaps a smaller wheelbase, maybe a more powerful engine, possibly all-wheel drive to support that additional horsepower.

Lexus ES

With the seventh-generation ES revealed, Lexus has made it clear that the two models are not destined to become one and the same. The next-generation ES will be offered in place of the GS around the world, but only as an iteration of itself.

How did this happen? With so much of Lexus branding revolving around performance, how does their core mid-size product become a front-wheel drive cruiser with more rear interior space than the top-of-the-range LS?

Quite simply, it doesn’t. Whatever happens to the GS, be it cancelation or reinvention, will have little to do with this new ES. Through two successive full model changes, Lexus was never able to capitalize on the success of the second-generation GS sports sedan, and in a shrinking car market, something had to give.

The ES is already the best-selling Lexus sedan in the world, and that’s because it stands apart from the rest of automotive luxury. This is a car that is priced like an entry-level, specced out like a mid-size, and sized like a flagship. The ES defies any classification or segment, and that is the essence of its appeal.

Lexus ES Side Profil

In fact, the new seventh-generation ES takes that outsider status and elevates the sedan to a new high. Borrowing the LS design has transformed the exterior personality, and the introduction of the first ES F SPORT model brings the promise of a better driving experience. Design and dynamics are where the current model struggles, and while handling is the story for another day, the change to the exterior is profound.

The interior, rather plain in black, lights up when some contrasting colors are introduced:

Lexus ES Interior

The ES will be the first Lexus to be sold with Apple CarPlay, and the cabin layout takes full advantage, moving the screen closer to the driver. Everything still runs through the Remote Touch trackpad, but navigating the Apple interface is natural and sensible.

In brief, the new ES is a significant generation-over-generation upgrade, with a cohesive overall design and appealing interior technology. It also stands to reason that the ES will continue to be a value-packed luxury sedan perfect for a significant number of customers. Its appeal is undiminished, and all the more likely to grow. There’s only one major question left — what’s this thing like to drive?

Can't wait!
  • GTG
  • April 24, 2018
Thank you car Gods .
Hey guys, can someone link to a livestream, like there was for Detroit, Geneva for Lexus and Toyota? Please and thank you.
greencarreports broke the embargo:
Looks nice! Ready for more pics from other angles.
More than anything, the “hips” and rear end are actually very similar to the RC. I like.
Anyone got a link or something for the reveal ?
^TFL is suppose to have it live, but nothing is working. :(

^TFL is suppose to have it live, but nothing is working. :(

I know! I keep refreshing their page!
I wonder if the unveiling got delayed or something. I remember the face-lift Mazda6 unveiling in LA was postpone for like 20-30 mins.

Wait...what is ES260? Now they are doing the "power equivalency" trick with naturally aspirated engines?
PREVIOUS ES THREAD NOW LOCKED. We are moving to this new thread!!

Thanks Krew. Seems like what we all felt was coming. The hybrid specs are super impressive to me with 215hp and 44 MPG.

Really nice proportions, they seem to have nailed it in pics. The dimensions are HUGE, shocked it got so big.

They are going to sell every last one lol

They made a mistake not making it AWD or RWD
The white is gorgeous....
Why are they not showing regular interior trim in the US press release? That F-sport interior looks barren. How are they "redefining luxury" when they show an interior that is not luxurious at all? Someone is not doing their job properly. Show some wood!

The global version looks good.
NOOO! No AWD, well I guess they had to "cost cut" somewhere!
Why are they not showing regular interior trim in the US press release? That F-sport interior looks barren. How are they "redefining luxury" when they show an interior that is not luxurious at all? Someone is not doing their job properly. Show some wood!

The global version looks good.
Agree... can't see any detailing in the black FSport interior.

White F Sport with red/black interior looks amazing. Almost more like IS than ES or GS.

Looking forward to seeing more pics of the interior options to gauge design and quality.
Mon dieu! This is the most revolutionized car in the entire automotive industry. With something like the current ES, this new one, is simply fascinating. I have never seen a car changed so much in identity.

However I hate to be that one person though, and I probably share the same feelings as most people in this forum do, but there is no AWD. *sigh*
Looks nice but still no GS...they will sell these very well I wish more power.
There's this thing with lexus, they make every F-sport version dead and bland from the inside, removing options and offering bad leather choices..
I always prefer the exterior look of the F-sport over the regular ones, but i very much hate the interiors of the F-sports..
Why can't they just use the same interior for the F-sport ? because honestly the dashboard looks dead in the F-sport trim...
why is there big gap between wheel and wheel arch? It does not look very good...
I know some will say Mazda 6 rear but that is a good looking car so I have no issues with that. Stunned at how good looking this is and the proportions are fantastic. Loving the red interior. This does look properly upscale.

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They have really fallen down on this one.

The GS better be refreshed!
What engine is in "ES 260"?
F1 Silver Arrows
but there is no AWD. *sigh*
Someone brought up a good point in the now locked speculation thread. Maybe no AWD at launch is to milk every last bit from current gen IS and GS. The only reason these still sell in meaningful numbers is that current generation ES has no AWD.
Next generation ES appears rather promising by looking “younger” and more sport-orientated. Should help open new opportunities for the next GS if any, IMO. But the fact that ES remains natively FWD means that this car - for the purists - will never be a bona-fide E-Class/5-er rival. But then traditional ES buyers don’t care about such thing.