FeaturesLexus ES: Sixth Generation

Driving the All-New 2019 Lexus ES 350 & ES 300h

Lexus ES Hero Image

Lexus Enthusiast editor Kevin Watts traveled to Nashville, Tennessee last month to test drive the all-new 2019 Lexus ES 350 & ES 300h hybrid. This is his personal impressions of the car, a full technical overview was posted last week.

For one moment, forget about the new Lexus ES sedan. Instead, think about every ES previous, and how you would describe it. It would likely be with words like Comfortable or Predictable, perhaps Conservative or even Dull if you were being less charitable.

For six generations, the ES has epitomized the old-school approach to luxury vehicles by being plush and dependable, never pushing the envelope or stepping outside of the lines. As a formula, the success is undeniable — Lexus has sold 2.12 million ES sedans since 1989, with over 1 million in the USA alone.

But that was then, and this is now. Sedan sales used to be able to support the IS sports sedan, the GS mid-size sedan, and the ES that straddled the two in price and size, respectively. Now, the entire automotive market thinks only of crossovers & SUVS, and Lexus has to be selective when updating its sedan lineup.

Enter the seventh-generation ES, a sedan that moves the needle closer to mid-size luxury in class and quality, while maintaining its price position as an entry-level luxury car. The times have changed, and the formula must change with it.


In the past, there’s been a hard limit in terms of the ES design. Despite the similarities in character to the LS flagship, Lexus has been mindful to maintain a respectful distance between the two models. This is no longer the case with the new model, as the ES now borrows from the LS sedan extensively. Even so, it’s only in the broad strokes — the seventh-generation ES is a much simpler design, free from the trappings of being a flagship.

My mixed feelings on the waterfall grille of the standard model have subsided somewhat, though I much prefer the styling of the ES F SPORT on the whole. There are certain configurations of color and angle where the car looks more expensive and upscale than necessary.

(As for the new colors: Sunlit Green is surprisingly intense with a wide spectrum depending on lighting. Moonbeam Beige Metallic is not my thing.)


Inside, the cabin is dominated by the 12.3-inch multimedia display, to the point where the rest of the interior practically fades away. It’s well enough that the biggest upgrade happens behind that screen, with the introduction of Apple CarPlay and the integration of the Amazon Alexa voice service.

Lexus ES Interior

There will be the usual complaints about the Remote Touch controller, which appears as a touchpad in the ES, but the new openness of the Lexus infotainment software makes manual input feel archaic. Voice control is fluid, working well regardless of the preferred service.

After so many years without support, having Apple CarPlay should be the turning point in discussing Lexus infotainment. Lack of Google integration is a valid complaint, but anyone in the Apple or Amazon ecosystem will be very happy.

(Unfortunate that the in-car Alexa must be launched every time the car is turned on, but there’s surely a contingent of buyers that are happy for that additional layer of privacy.)

For the rest of the cabin, some point-form from my notes:

  • The “wave” leather pattern available with some packages is subtle in appearance but bold in design. Lexus took a real chance adding texture to the trim, but it ends up elevating the interior.
  • A full black interior does the cabin no favors, as it hides the details and highlights the plastics. On the flip side, the Circuit Red interior is brilliant, perfectly in line with F SPORT while keeping a semblance of maturity expected with the ES.
  • There just isn’t enough wood trim in the cabin, though it does allow for a nice upgrade in the mid-cycle refresh down the line.

While I made sure to drive the standard ES 350 and the hybrid ES 300h, I was unable to escape the siren call of the Ultra White ES 350 F SPORT and its Circuit Red interior. There will be those that deride the very existence of a front-wheel-drive ES performance package, but the benefits are real and pronounced.

As expected, the upgrades all center on the driver — the steering wheel is leather-wrapped and thicker, the seats have extended side bolsters, there’s aluminum pedals and a G-Force gauge in the instrument panel. An Adaptive Variable Suspension is standard.

Lexus ES Driving

The thing that sold me was the steering, where the ES F SPORT is a significant upgrade over the standard model. There’s more weight to the wheel, providing better feedback and increasing the luxury factor of the driving experience. Again, the ES emulates a more expensive car in a very positive way.

(It should be noted that steering feel becomes much heavier in Sport mode for both Luxury and F Sport models.)


There’s a point during the day when I’m out in an ES 300h, driving around the Tennessee countryside, looking for somewhere to take photos and maybe shoot a video. My expectation of a quick turnaround quickly subsides, and I find myself driving aimlessly, pulling into small driveways, backing out onto busy roads, trying to find a patch of privacy with a good view.

Here’s the kicker — I never end up finding a spot. 40 minutes in the southern wilderness, and not a photo opportunity anywhere. But in the process, I do learn a couple things about the ES, the hybrid in particular.

Lexus ES Driving

Where the ES F SPORT feels like a distant relative to the previous generation, the ES hybrid is more evolutionary in its handling — light to the touch, but still grounded on the road.

The ES 300h is whisper quiet at moderate load, but even with the additional hybrid frequency-specific sound dampening, I’m not a fan of the engine & electric interplay. During heightened acceleration, the whine is audible and mechanical, like a washing machine spinning too fast.

But the driving experience is almost besides the point, because the ES 300h delivers a combined 44 mpg for city & highway driving. Outside of a plug-in, there is no more fuel-efficient luxury car available in the USA. I’m convinced my IQ went up a few points in my time behind the wheel.


In a lucky turn of events, the standard ES 350 is the last car I drive — it’s an amalgamation of the other two cars, with the F SPORT’s V6 and its eight-speed transmission with the lighter driving touch of the ES 300h.

If you have any familiarity with the ES sedan over the years, and perhaps are looking to capture that classic experience, the ES 350 is the car for you. The core experience remains the same — the cabin is still comfortably isolating, and the driving remains suitably effortless. The drive back to the hotel is a breeze, just as you would hope for after a long day.


Lexus ES Final

So what words would I use to describe this new ES? Comfortable most certainly, but I would add Confident and even Compelling as new qualities. Lexus may want to position this car against the Mercedes C-Class & Audi A4, but its true competitors are a class above and $10,000 more expensive. There is a lot of car for the money here.

This leads to wondering about how the front-wheel drive of the ES will compete against the rear-wheel drive performance of the E-Class or the all-wheel drive of the A6, but this is only one part of the formula. The better question is, how can Mercedes and Audi afford to compete with this car?

Comments
Toyota/Lexus typically have fewer first year bugs than other makers; I don't think the LC had any recall-type issues at all.
S
lsu5508
Just out of curiosity how major are the typical first year bugs? My current lease was up last month so I extended 6 months so i'm not going to have the luxury of waiting an additional year. I will be buying the F-sport most probably depending on options and price so lease deals are not a huge concern to me.
Ian Schmidt
Toyota/Lexus typically have fewer first year bugs than other makers; I don't think the LC had any recall-type issues at all.
Like Ian said, Toyota/Lexus tends to have less first year bugs than other car-makers. It doesn't mean they are free from it though.

I wasn't specially talking about issues so big it needs a recall but rather just imperfections that tend to happen on the first year models. Example: The 2014 Lexus IS infotainment system has bugs where it tends to crash and reboot all the time. This was fixed in 2015 (second model year).

While we can't predict what kind of issues the Lexus ES will have, its safe to assume that there might be a few minor things that the 2019 will have to deal with that the 2020 model year won't have to. Its safe to assume this, in my opinion, because majority of the car within the 40-50K price range usually has a few minor flaws. These cars tend to not have so much in depth details applied to it compared to the 100K price tag LS and LC. I mean - you get what you paid for.

I do understand you don't have the luxury to wait. But, my personal advice is, if you are buying and already focused on keeping this Lexus ES for the long-haul. I would recommend either buying the second year model of the ES to avoid any minor issues it might have.
Or lease another vehicle and wait for the refreshed model Lexus ES. I personally recommend refresh models of cars to buy and keep because refresh models allow you to get more features on the car. Since you are keeping it for the long haul, you'll benefit from the features in the longer run.
I'm predicting the refresh Lexus ES F-Sport in the future will have some of the luxury amenities only offered on the Luxury packages previously. This is exactly what happened with the Lexus IS F-Sport. As time went on, they started offering more of the equipment from the luxury pack.
spwolf
Yes, you are biased against Lexus ES, despite all the reviews telling you not to be. I am not sure what does that have to do with being Toyota shareholder, at the time I worked for Toyota, we invested millions into it, and does not make me more qualified than other drivers/buyers of the brand.
Sakura
^^ These criticism doesn't make me bias. Its legit points. I gave a fair balanced opinion of the Lexus ES. I never say one car is 100% good like you are alluding to. I think you are the one here that is bias. (I know about your Pro-Lexus ES posts on CL too.)

But - I want to say thank you for our conversation together. However - this will be my last reply to you because you came off extremely passive-aggressive towards me for posting a honest fair opinion about the Lexus ES. Its just a car, bro.
Let's slow this down and drop the personal back-and-forth. It's unnecessary.
lsu5508
Just out of curiosity how major are the typical first year bugs? My current lease was up last month so I extended 6 months so i'm not going to have the luxury of waiting an additional year. I will be buying the F-sport most probably depending on options and price so lease deals are not a huge concern to me.
Most of what is coming in the ES has been in the Camry for a year and the Avalon for ~2 months now, so I think the ES should be pretty well sorted out.
Gecko
Most of what is coming in the ES has been in the Camry for a year and the Avalon for ~2 months now, so I think the ES should be pretty well sorted out.
Yeah, I think that's actually why Toyota likes to introduce new technology in bottom-tier models first - lets them shake the bugs out in a production environment where expectations are a little lower.
S
maiaramdan
That's exactly sir what I have been saying long time ago, honestly the ES not only killing the GS but also the IS, Crown, Avalon and Mark-X

So 1 car will destroy another 6
Why with God sake Toyota not putting the Avalon in the current ES market, I even thought that the Avalon is better all around than the ES and with rumors about killing the IS we start to hear the same about the Mark-X

This is as if they don't want to make cars anymore this is all crazy and I am really mad of the decision regarding sticking with the ES and killing the rest
Very true. The Lexus ES does somewhat harm IS sales as well. The starting price of the Lexus ES is very similar to the Lexus IS. Some consumers might be swayed by the idea of the bigger size of the ES for relatively not that much more.

The problem is: if they cancel both the IS and GS, Lexus is committing brand suicide.
If they cancel the IS, they are canceling the IS, RC (RC is based on IS - IS goes RC goes), and IS-F (no hope of return.)
If they cancel the GS, they are canceling the GS and GS-F.
This means they will leave the 3 Series, 4 Series, C-Class, C-Class Coupe, E-Class, A4, A5, S4, S5, A6, S6, and Q50 3.0T Silver Sport competition. Yup. Brand suicide.

The Lexus ES is an amazing car and its great for what it is. But its no A6, 5, or E competitor. The Lexus ES can barely compete against the 3, C-Class, and A4. Toyota will have to be on some special kind of stupid if they think the Lexus ES will be able to compete against all of those cars with its transverse FWD layout.
S
Ian Schmidt
Yeah, I think that's actually why Toyota likes to introduce new technology in bottom-tier models first - lets them shake the bugs out in a production environment where expectations are a little lower.
This is a very good point. I never thought of that before. It actually could make sense because Toyota products tend to get some new gear first before Lexus in some cases.

I also personally think Toyota puts more new stuff in their Toyota products first because that's where the majority of sales come from. Toyota is the cash-cow, Lexus is just there to appeal to a specific market.
@Sakura
Thanks a lot, you made me finally feels that I am not alone in the must killing of the ES

regarding the next generation GS, they already have the new crown, they can modified it in and out and have the next generation GS

regarding the next generation IS they can build it with the next generation Mark-X, based on the same length of the current generation Mark-X

So the Crown/Mark-X is the slightly narrow body "Japanese rules" and more soft riding and the GS/IS is the international wide body more athletic riding

regarding the Avalon they can give it the AWD from Highlander or Sienna and they can have even better car than the FWD ES
Sakura
Very true. The Lexus ES does somewhat harm IS sales as well. The starting price of the Lexus ES is very similar to the Lexus IS. Some consumers might be swayed by the idea of the bigger size of the ES for relatively not that much more.

The problem is: if they cancel both the IS and GS, Lexus is committing brand suicide.
If they cancel the IS, they are canceling the IS, RC (RC is based on IS - IS goes RC goes), and IS-F (no hope of return.)
If they cancel the GS, they are canceling the GS and GS-F.
This means they will leave the 3 Series, 4 Series, C-Class, C-Class Coupe, E-Class, A4, A5, S4, S5, A6, S6, and Q50 3.0T Silver Sport competition. Yup. Brand suicide.

The Lexus ES is an amazing car and its great for what it is. But its no A6, 5, or E competitor. The Lexus ES can barely compete against the 3, C-Class, and A4. Toyota will have to be on some special kind of stupid if they think the Lexus ES will be able to compete against all of those cars with its transverse FWD layout.

Do not compare Audi to Mercedes and BMW. Except the R8, all Audis are FWD based. That the engine is north south plays no role. Audi does not have symmetrical AWD as Suabru.


But back to ES being FWD, while you might not like it, neither do I, the thing is people buy it. And while you might like Mercedes and BMW RWD, people buy them because of badge, not because of RWD.

Whether or not you liked the previous X1, it was a true BMW (to the extent of crossovers). So it the current 1 Series. Journalists, quite likely paid by carmakers, have never criticized (when they should have) RWD cars going FWD. Read the new FWD X1 reviews, read the FWD Nissan Pathfinder reviews, FWD nfiniti QX50 reviews, the FWD Suzuki Vitara, the FWD Jeep Compass/Cherokee (successor of the Jeep Liberty), there is simply no end of cars that were RWD and went FWD. Except the few sad car enthusiasts, you and me, and 3 other, no one cares. Sadly, RWD is of the past, there is no return. What will be left are the few flagship models like LS and LC and the Supra kind of cars. I am sure Porsche could get away with a re-engineered A3 Hatch.
maiaramdan
That's exactly sir what I have been saying long time ago, honestly the ES not only killing the GS but also the IS, Crown, Avalon and Mark-X
It'd be one thing if ES was somehow destroying all those cars by subterfuge or some illegal maneuvers by TMC (against themselves?), but the reality is that it's a hell of a car for the price. The fact that no other automaker has any idea how to compete with it either is telling.
Sakura
The Lexus ES is an amazing car and its great for what it is. But its no A6, 5, or E competitor. The Lexus ES can barely compete against the 3, C-Class, and A4.
The ES is not a competitor of A6, 5, E.

It is a competitor of A4, 3, C.

Please a provide YOUR examples of why the ES barely competes in that segment. Quality? Performance? Sales?
Cancelling the IS will indeed be a brand suicide move since it means removing the gateway car. No luxury brand can exist without a gateway product. I doubt it will happen unless we are at the point where sedans account for less than 10% of total car sales.

If the recent boom of the CLA sedan is any indication, Lexus actually needs to bring the CT back and probably a CS as well for the emerging market. It is crucial to have an affordable product that gets new customers into the brand. That's the role IS should be playing, and it couldn't play that role very well because of, well, ES.

The "should they kill the ES" topic is another exhausting discussion that pops up again and again. The answer is a definitive yes, it should have been killed in 1989. But after three decades Lexus is now way past the point of no return, the answer is they can't. The question now is whether TMC could make the best out of this situation.
Ian Schmidt
It'd be one thing if ES was somehow destroying all those cars by subterfuge or some illegal maneuvers by TMC (against themselves?), but the reality is that it's a hell of a car for the price. The fact that no other automaker has any idea how to compete with it either is telling.

Honestly I feel the opposite
If it's a hell of a car why Toyota dump a lot of things inside the Avalon as for example the red leather seats and the big HUD which both can be found in the Rav4 & Camry

I think Toyota putting itself in a suicidal situation and by killing IS & GS they can kill Lexus brand itself because there will be no difference between Lexus and Toyota
S
zeusus
The ES is not a competitor of A6, 5, E.

It is a competitor of A4, 3, C.

Please a provide YOUR examples of why the ES barely competes in that segment. Quality? Performance? Sales?
I respectfully disagree. The Lexus ES isn't a competitor to the A4, 3, or C.
1) Layout. A4 is longitudinal FWD with AWD offering. 3 and C are both RWD.
2) Driving dynamics/handling. The A4 Quattro, 3, and C all handle better than the Lexus ES and Lexus ES F-Sport.
3) Performance. The A4 Quattro, 3 and C all outperform the Lexus ES.
4) The Lexus ES is too luxurious compared to the A4, 3, and C. The A4, 3, and C seem like a step down in quality and luxury compared to the ES.
5) The Lexus ES has more space and bigger than the A4, 3, and C by a huge amount.

Overall - the Lexus IS350 makes a better competitor to the A4, 3, and C. The sizing, handling, performance, luxurious features, and etc... are more closely related. I believe the Lexus ES hovers in a slot above the IS, A4, 3, and C competition, but below the GS, E, 5, and A6 competition. I don't think the Lexus ES has an actual German competitor is one of the reasons why I allude the Lexus ES to be in competition with the Buick, Acura TLX, and Genesis.
ssun30
The "should they kill the ES" topic is another exhausting discussion that pops up again and again. The answer is a definitive yes, it should have been killed in 1989. But after three decades Lexus is now way past the point of no return, the answer is they can't. The question now is whether TMC could make the best out of this situation.
What do you understand by "killing" the ES? The badge? They could keep the badge and make it RWD. In automotive history, it is usual for RWD to become FWD cars. It will soon happen again with the BMW 1 Series, 2 generations RWD, a USP, and BMW is ready to kill it in favor of FWD. They will come out unscathed thanks to badge. It is fare rarer, but it does happen, that a FWD car becomes RWD. After the Alfa 155, 156 and 159, the Giulia is now again a RWD car. The Jaguar X-Type that was FWD, now with the XE is RWD. Even more actual and significant because of the segment, while most CUVs the were RWD become FWD, Ford will be doing the contrary, and the new Ford Expedition will be RWD instead of FWD like the present one.




Sakura
I respectfully disagree. The Lexus ES isn't a competitor to the A4, 3, or C.
1) Layout. A4 is longitudinal FWD with AWD offering. 3 and C are both RWD.
2) Driving dynamics/handling. The A4 Quattro, 3, and C all handle better than the Lexus ES and Lexus ES F-Sport.
3) Performance. The A4 Quattro, 3 and C all outperform the Lexus ES.
4) The Lexus ES is too luxurious compared to the A4, 3, and C. The A4, 3, and C seem like a step down in quality and luxury compared to the ES.
5) The Lexus ES has more space and bigger than the A4, 3, and C by a huge amount.

Overall - the Lexus IS350 makes a better competitor to the A4, 3, and C. The sizing, handling, performance, luxurious features, and etc... are more closely related. I believe the Lexus ES hovers in a slot above the IS, A4, 3, and C competition, but below the GS, E, 5, and A6 competition. I don't think the Lexus ES has an actual German competitor is one of the reasons why I allude the Lexus ES to be in competition with the Buick, Acura TLX, and Genesis.
Why do you leave out the Passat or Aerton, which is an Audi in all aspects except engine layout? And do not mention Audi and driving dynamics in the same sentence. I have yet to drive a well handling Audi that is not an R8).
Sakura
I respectfully disagree. The Lexus ES isn't a competitor to the A4, 3, or C.
1) Layout. A4 is longitudinal FWD with AWD offering. 3 and C are both RWD.
2) Driving dynamics/handling. The A4 Quattro, 3, and C all handle better than the Lexus ES and Lexus ES F-Sport.
3) Performance. The A4 Quattro, 3 and C all outperform the Lexus ES.
4) The Lexus ES is too luxurious compared to the A4, 3, and C. The A4, 3, and C seem like a step down in quality and luxury compared to the ES.
5) The Lexus ES has more space and bigger than the A4, 3, and C by a huge amount.

Overall - the Lexus IS350 makes a better competitor to the A4, 3, and C. The sizing, handling, performance, luxurious features, and etc... are more closely related. I believe the Lexus ES hovers in a slot above the IS, A4, 3, and C competition, but below the GS, E, 5, and A6 competition. I don't think the Lexus ES has an actual German competitor is one of the reasons why I allude the Lexus ES to be in competition with the Buick, Acura TLX, and Genesis.
The general consumer does not care about FWD vs RWD, enthusiasts claim to think it is important (because thats the intellectual bubble enthusiasts live in) but the reality is no.

Sure there are some buyers who look at Buick, Acura and Genesis though there are plenty of buyers who are only willing to look at the top tier premium luxury brands.

So if given the choice of the obvious top three that Lexus competes with, which factors have the most influence with what cars buyers cross shop the ES with?

Could price be one of the most important factors? And what price range is the ES in?

Lastly, your assumption that the "A4, C, 3 all handle better than the ES and ES F-sport", is thrown around as if it were some fact, it isn't fact, none of us know. Maybe when comparisons come out we'll have a better idea. And it would be interesting to see which cars the mags compare the ES with.
S
Levi
Why do you leave out the Passat or Aerton, which is an Audi in all aspects except engine layout? And do not mention Audi and driving dynamics in the same sentence. I have yet to drive a well handling Audi that is not an R8).
VW Passat and Aerton are both transversely FWD layouts. The Audi A4 is a longitudinal FWD layout. Longitudinal FWD is by far more superior than transverse FWD layouts.

zeusus
The general consumer does not care about FWD vs RWD, enthusiasts claim to think it is important (because thats the intellectual bubble enthusiasts live in) but the reality is no.

Sure there are some buyers who look at Buick, Acura and Genesis though there are plenty of buyers who are only willing to look at the top tier premium luxury brands.

So if given the choice of the obvious top three that Lexus competes with, which factors have the most influence with what cars buyers cross shop the ES with?

Could price be one of the most important factors? And what price range is the ES in?

Lastly, your assumption that the "A4, C, 3 all handle better than the ES and ES F-sport", is thrown around as if it were some fact, it isn't fact, none of us know. Maybe when comparisons come out we'll have a better idea. And it would be interesting to see which cars the mags compare the ES with.
Agreed - the general public doesn't care about FWD vs RWD. Just because the general public doesn't care - doesn't mean the Lexus ES is a proper competitor to the A4, C, and 3. That's like saying the general public will think a Toyota Camry is a similar car to the Lexus IS. Or a Buick Regal is the same as a BMW 340i.

Firstly - I don't think the Lexus ES competes with the A4, 3, and C. Because I think the Lexus ES is a bigger car, more luxurious, and a better overall car compared to the A4, 3 and C Class. Also the A4, 3, and C are more sportier compared to the ES.
Secondly - I don't think the Lexus ES competes with the A6, 5, and E. Because I think the Lexus ES is not as luxurious nor it drives as well as the A6, 5, or E.

I think the Lexus ES falls in between the A4, 3, C and A6, 5 and E. In this grey area, where the Germans don't have a competitor. This is why I think it competes with Buick, Acura TLX or Genesis.

Sure - price plays a good part in where the ES belongs in a segment but its only one part. Just because a car cost a specific amount - doesn't mean it 100% competes with each other. Other factors are considered, like size, type of car, performance and etc...

Yes. No one knows for sure. But on paper - its impossible for the Lexus ES or ES F-Sport to handle better than the A4 Quattro, 3, and C. Its simply because its not built for it (on paper anyways).
Note: For longitudinal FWD layouts; the front-to-rear weight distribution of the car as a whole will be preferable to a transverse orientation where mass is accumulated at the front of the chassis. This should make a car more predictable and is advantageous to all-wheel drive vehicles. The in-line nature of these setups also allows manufacturers to implement complex all-wheel drive systems using torsen differentials and viscous couplings directly down the line from the transmission.
This is why I think the ES will fall short in handling when compared to A4 Quattro, 3, and C. Its transverse FWD layout is holding it back. Even if its fitted with AWD - a transverse AWD system isn't as a longitudinal AWD system.
Levi
What do you understand by "killing" the ES? The badge? They could keep the badge and make it RWD.
In an earlier post I mentioned how the original 89' ES could be based on the RWD Mark II platform instead of the V20 narrow-body Camry. That way the ES could be a much more likeable car and the brand would have a much more favorable image than it has now. I didn't mean 'killing' the ES literally, rather it was a scenario in which the GS never existed. Go search it in the forum (with keyword "Mark II" maybe?).
Sakura
VW Passat and Aerton are both transversely FWD layouts. The Audi A4 is a longitudinal FWD layout. Longitudinal FWD is by far more superior than transverse FWD layouts.

This is why I think the ES will fall short in handling when compared to A4 Quattro, 3, and C. Its transverse FWD layout is holding it back. Even if its fitted with AWD - a transverse AWD system isn't as a longitudinal AWD system.
You are beating a dead horse, even though I agree with you (except Audi).

First of all, we at LE are not the Lexus board.

Next, AWD will always be a compromise in ICEVs. Those compromises vanish with BEVs. Where car makers are wrong, really wrong about, and I wonder why you do not criticize that about BEVs, is that RWD BEVs are truly far better, cheaper, space efficient, and more simple and durable than FWD BEVs. Except Tesla and BMW i3, all other BEVs are FWD. With the torque they have, they are terrible to drive. With ESC, even more precisely programmable in BEVs than ICEVs, RWD will not be an issue for consumers. It is time for carmakers to stop transforming inefficient FWD ICEVs into BEVs.

Then, back to ICEVs, while FF-L is theoretically better than FF-T, it remains FF, and the difference between FF-L and FF-T is not a great as FR(-L) to FF-L.

We have already mentioned, that execution of a certain layout it more important than the selection of a certain layout. What good is it to select the right layout if it is not well implemented? Think of how IS XE20 was not praised initially for handling, although it was RWD.

I will repeat, that while FF-L might be better than FF-T, Audi is not well executed from my experience, and thus not comparable to the two other German rivals.

While FF-L is indeed great in Subaru products as F4-L, and Subaru has successful sales, although they market their symmetrical AWD system and Flat4 engine as a value-added USP, they are not bought for these characteristics, but rather for the fact of having AWD and their (now past) perception of reliability. Yet, in consumers eyes the Outback does not hold a candle to the objectively inferior A6 Avant. More than that, Subaru's AWD system in becoming less mechanical and more FWD-biased, thus negating their layout advantage compared to F4-T competitors.

What you are asking is impossible, and more than that incomplete. Passenger vehicles are all about space utilization. Safety standards affect that even more; front overhangs have no function other than crash safety, but the take space, making a vehicle longer without adding passenger or cargo volume.

I have already mentioned, that to get the most out of a given footprint, while not compromising handling -- and that is being RWD -- cars should have a FR-L layout with V4 and V6 (both 90° angle). But this just cannot happen anymore. The reason why cars with V6 have a long hood, is because they all have derivatives with I4 or V8 which are longer, thus V6s are usually inefficient in space utilization, there is empty space.

Platform layout and engine configuration are highly interrelated. First, the more parts different engine configurations can share, the cheaper to develop and produce. Thus I4 and I6. 60° V6 has always been a stand alone engine. 90° V6 can be derived from a 90° V8 as is mostly the case today with non-Japanese makers, but these are big engines for expensive cars, and as the I4 was already established a 90° V4 could not be cost efficient anymore, and many carmakers had no 90° V8 to derive it from.

Notice, that because of I4, and car makers have no incentives to make RWD cars. Because the 1 Series will have no more I6, it will be FWD. Same case with Volvo, even though it was FWD with I6 in transverse layout (Daewoo Magnus/Chevrolet Evanda is another notable exception).

I don't want to tell to go buy the FF-L Audi A4 that you praise so much, but be prepared that what is praise about the 3 German is (unfortunately) not the reason why consumers buy them. They buy them primarily because of the badge, secondarily, because they 'feel' better, third because of market value, related to desirability due to the two first points. If the ES can give consumers a better 'feel' and consumers are aware of it through good sales promotion, it will be a success, regardless of what journalist praise about the Germans: handling and infotainment (iDrive, MMI, MBUX).

There is a big discrepancy between Journalists and Consumers. Consumers need Journalists to help with their buying decision, but Journalists cater to Enthusiasts, that only want Journalists to confirm their personal preferences. That is a big problem for the Consumer, and ultimately for the general Carmaker.
zeusus
The ES is not a competitor of A6, 5, E.

It is a competitor of A4, 3, C.

Please a provide YOUR examples of why the ES barely competes in that segment. Quality? Performance? Sales?
Exactly! Lexus in their own words has stated that the ES competes directly with the A4, 3 Series and C Class but as we all know the ES is really in a class of it own. The IS line is really the true competitor to the A4, 3 Series and C Class.

Please watch this video from Lexus when they were in Nashville, TN, USA and Lexus shows a diagram at the 3:34 mark showing the ES competing with A4, 3 Series, C Class and TLX. So no the ES has never, currently or will ever compete with the A6, 5 Series or E Class...

Audi's longitudinal FWD with the flywheel, torque converter and gearbox behind the front axle is good, while RWD is even better for the enthusiast.
However, enthusiasts make up only a very small number of buyers.

True, that the Germans are mainly purchased for their badge and styling, rather than their RWD and front double wishbone suspension to maximise grip.

ES is not a driver's car with FWD, nor cheap single lower link MacPherson strut front suspension, but ES is probably more attractive than ever, and so spacious - hence it successfully sells to the mums & dads in the mass public - without Toyota Motor Corporation having to go to the expense of RWD with front double wishbone suspension.

ES has the weight of the flywheel, torque converter and gearbox - all in front of the front axle.
RX has a FWD-based AWD/4WD system where the rear wheels are passively activated only when the front wheels slip.
For ES transverse engine to have a Full Time FT AWD/4WD system like the Germans requires a complicated set up, where the transverse gearbox drives the center differential.

I have a feeling that the ES will only reach a certain limit in sales.
Eg, at their best, they sold about 80k units/year USA.
To get more sales, Lexus will still need RWD with double wishbone front suspension.

It would be great if TMC can keep going with 5GS as a halo model for enthusiasts like Sakura.
Normally, if the Crown is there, then is always potentially a 5GS, because such reskinning with sportier suspension wouldn't take much time, nor cost much.
I notice that the new Crown does not have 3.5L V6 TT.
Just as the last LS had an extended 11 year model cycle, I suspect current GS & IS may have its life cycle extended to 8 years.
It doesn't seem that 5GS is ready for release in 2019, but maybe 2020 5GS and 2021 release of 4IS - then a 3.5L V6 TT will be ready and more refined too.
peterharvey
True, that the Germans are mainly purchased for their badge and styling, rather than their RWD and front double wishbone suspension to maximise grip.
Not really true. M3/M4 has MacPherson strut. And many 'cheap' Japanese had double wishbone all round, even for FWD cars.
S
peterharvey
Audi's longitudinal FWD with the flywheel, torque converter and gearbox behind the front axle is good, while RWD is even better for the enthusiast.
However, enthusiasts make up only a very small number of buyers.

True, that the Germans are mainly purchased for their badge and styling, rather than their RWD and front double wishbone suspension to maximise grip.

ES is not a driver's car with FWD, nor cheap single lower link MacPherson strut front suspension, but ES is probably more attractive than ever, and so spacious - hence it successfully sells to the mums & dads in the mass public - without Toyota Motor Corporation having to go to the expense of RWD with front double wishbone suspension.

ES has the weight of the flywheel, torque converter and gearbox - all in front of the front axle.
RX has a FWD-based AWD/4WD system where the rear wheels are passively activated only when the front wheels slip.
For ES transverse engine to have a Full Time FT AWD/4WD system like the Germans requires a complicated set up, where the transverse gearbox drives the center differential.

I have a feeling that the ES will only reach a certain limit in sales.
Eg, at their best, they sold about 80k units/year USA.
To get more sales, Lexus will still need RWD with double wishbone front suspension.

It would be great if TMC can keep going with 5GS as a halo model for enthusiasts like Sakura.
Normally, if the Crown is there, then there is always potentially a 5GS, because such reskinning with sportier suspension wouldn't take much time, nor cost much.
I notice that the new Crown does not have 3.5L V6 TT.
Just as the last LS had an extended 11 year model cycle, I suspect current GS & IS may have its life cycle extended to 8 years.
It doesn't seem that 5GS is ready for release in 2019, but maybe 2020 5GS and 2021 release of 4IS - then a 3.5L V6 TT will be ready and more refined too.
Great post! I fully agree.

Enthusiasts do make up a low number of buyers and the average consumer is the main target. This is why I believe the Lexus ES got a lot of attention. The Lexus ES is Toyota's cash cow main demographic seller, much like their Camry, Avalon, RAV4, RX, and NX type vehicles. I predict their UX will be an insane seller too.

TMC can definitely keep the 5GS around. BMW keeps some cars around that sell less than 2-3K units per year. This is what makes lots of car enthusiasts like BMW. They sell stuff for the masses and for the little. I believe Toyota needs to do this. In my opinion, if Lexus wants to retain their Lexus IS consumer base, a GS is a must. The Lexus GS is seen as an upgrade to the Lexus IS because its a bigger car, better luxurious and with similar RWD handling dynamics. The Lexus ES just can't fill this void, not even with AWD, since it'll be a transverse AWD set up.

It wouldn't be an extension for the Lexus IS but it'll be an extension for the GS though. The 2G Lexus IS had 8 model years, so the 3G Lexus IS can definitely just follow what they did with the 2G Lexus IS.
If this happens, this gives room and time for Lexus to extend the GS timeline and maybe introduce a 3.5L V6 TT onto the GS for MY2021. And then the IS will be MY2022 (which will the 3G Lexus IS an 8 year cycle from 14-21).

Levi
Not really true. M3/M4 has MacPherson strut. And many 'cheap' Japanese had double wishbone all round, even for FWD cars.
The difference between Porsche and BMW M cars having the Macpherson strut is the Germans are using it to cut cost without any of the negative draw backs of it. Porsche and BMW reworks everything to make sure their cars handle great without feeling the draw-backs of Macpherson struts.
The Lexus ES, Avalon and Camry does not have this rework. Nor it should because its not a track/sporty car.
Sakura
The difference between Porsche and BMW M cars having the Macpherson strut is the Germans are using it to cut cost without any of the negative draw backs of it. Porsche and BMW reworks everything to make sure their cars handle great without feeling the draw-backs of Macpherson struts.
The Lexus ES, Avalon and Camry does not have this rework. Nor it should because its not a track/sporty car.
I have driven the A6 3.0 TDI. Had Quattro, double wishbone suspension. I have never driven a worse executive sedan (for the price). Harsh ride, week handling. Overpriced rubbish. I am not aware the the ES will compete against M3s and 911s.
Those look like the best value rear seats in the car industry. I hope buyers will appreciate the car for that, compared to anything alternative.
S
Levi
I have driven the A6 3.0 TDI. Had Quattro, double wishbone suspension. I have never driven a worse executive sedan (for the price). Harsh ride, week handling. Overpriced rubbish. I am not aware the the ES will compete against M3s and 911s.


By the way, the Acura Vigor that competed against the Lexus ES (XV10) had FMF-L layout, better than Audi's FF-L layout, and double wishbone front suspension, it was very sporty. Look where it is today, and where the ES is!
Well - according to car magazines - the Audi A6 handles pretty good.
Confident handling, zesty V-6 acceleration, spacious and well-built cabin.
The A6 is a quietly athletic car. Its suspension keeps body roll in check easily in high-speed corners, but its steering wheel broadcasts precious little information from the front wheels. Still, the A6, especially with Quattro all-wheel drive, is predictable and easy to drive quickly on twisty stretches of road. When driven sedately, the A6 coddles its passengers with a ride that even our scarred, winter-beaten Michigan roads can’t perturb.
Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-audi-a6-in-depth-model-review

We Like: The subtle, sophisticated style and predictable handling.
Source: http://www.motortrend.com/news/audi-a6-2016-motor-trend-car-of-the-year-contender/

The 2017 Audi A6 is a fun car to drive, especially considering its size and heft. Not many midsize luxury sedans forge such a gratifying connection with the driver. One demerit is the car's overly light and numb steering feel under normal circumstances, but we've found that the effort level in the Sport mode is much more to our liking.
Source: https://www.edmunds.com/audi/a6/2017/

Audi A6 handling from reviews have been positive.

I never said the ES will compete against the M3s and 911s. That was something you alluded to when you replied to me with this:
Not really true. M3/M4 has MacPherson strut. And many 'cheap' Japanese had double wishbone all round, even for FWD cars.
because I was talking about how the Lexus ES has MacPherson struts.

I'm just merely stating. Just because M3/M4 has MacPherson strut doesn't mean they handle the same as the Lexus ES. The M3/M4 and Porsches were built to handle well and everything was reworked not to have the downsides of MacPherson struts.
Levi
Not really true. M3/M4 has MacPherson strut. And many 'cheap' Japanese had double wishbone all round, even for FWD cars.
As cheap single lower link MacPherson strut compresses and rolls, the tires naturally exhibit positive camber and the car and the tires lean - thereby diminishing grip.
Double wishbone provides geometry to help keep the tires perpendicular to the road surface to maximize grip.
However, double wishbone is less critical when vehicles are "firmly" sprung, because firmly sprung vehicles don't have much compliance nor roll in the first place to change the camber of the tires.
It is the regular 3 Series sedans with a compliant ride where the springs "compress", and double wishbone front suspension is used to try to attain negative camber to maximize grip.

View attachment 2895

Levi
I have driven the A6 3.0 TDI. Had Quattro, double wishbone suspension. I have never driven a worse executive sedan (for the price). Harsh ride, week handling. Overpriced rubbish. I am not aware the the ES will compete against M3s and 911s.

By the way, the Acura Vigor that competed against the Lexus ES (XV10) had FMF-L layout, better than Audi's FF-L layout, and double wishbone front suspension, it was very sporty. Look where it is today, and where the ES is!
I last drove an A6 3.0T Supercharged AWD in 2014.
Very powerful engine.
Nice ride; much more compliant ride than my GS.
Because of that compliance, around corners the A6 had plenty of body roll - however the AWD would grip, grip and grip - it was limpet like!
Not a bad car at all.

I totally agree with you regarding the Acura Vigor with great specs including a longitudinal front mid-engine FWD and double wishbone suspension.
Compare that with ES with simple transverse FWD and cheap single lower link suspension, and look at where the Acura Vigor is now?
It's firstly the badge, secondly the styling, maybe thirdly the interior space, and maybe fourth might be engine performance that sells; especially for the ES, E Class and 5 Series.
The Acura Vigor totally lost it in the styling, and things worsened when the TL reverted to conventional transverse FWD with cheap single lower link suspension.
R
  • R
    RAL
  • June 22, 2018
Welcome new member! @peterharvey

R
Top