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Carwow Review: The Lexus ES 300h

Lexus ES Review Carwow

Mat Watson from Carwow is one of the top car reviewers in the world, and this throughly entertaining look at the Lexus ES 300h is a perfect example of his craft:

Comments
Longer, lower, wider: not my idea of progress. And lumbar adjustment is no longer standard?
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Krew

Are you able to upgrade the sport model to luxury or ultra luxury to gain leather seating and wood trim? The way i'm reading your review is the sport package comes standard with the premium package which has Nuluxe seating. I don't see an upgrade option for leather trim.
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lsu5508
Krew

Are you able to upgrade the sport model to luxury or ultra luxury to gain leather seating and wood trim? The way i'm reading your review is the sport package comes standard with the premium package which has Nuluxe seating. I don't see an upgrade option for leather trim.
I don't believe you can. You can't get luxury nor the ultra packages on ES F-Sport.

Its pretty much gonna be like this:
Base model > Premium Pack > F-Sport (Premium Pack required).
Base model > Premium Pack > Luxury Pack (Premium Pack required) > Ultra Luxury Pack (Luxury Pack required).

So basically - F-Sport only gives with NuLuxe seats.

krew
I'll write more about this in my review next week, but there's a weight to the ES F SPORT steering that is missing from the standard model. I feel very confident saying the ES F SPORT is the car to buy -- driving experience is much better, but not at the expense of ride quality.
Agreed. For us car enthusiasts, if we were have to must have an ES, the F-Sport is the one to buy. But - I feel like for the target demographics of the ES - the Premium Pack to Luxury Package will be the most popular trim to buy.
L
The f-sport exterior looks great but to me the red interior is just not attractive for an everyday car and the black or black just looks boring in the videos i have watched.. The option of leather and a different trim package would seal the deal for me on the f-sport but now i am left having to choose one or the other. I cant see myself spending 40k-50k on a car and not getting a basic luxury amenity like leather seats. I understand the market for each car is different but i have to imagine there are alot of people that want some of both.
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lsu5508
The f-sport exterior looks great but to me the red interior is just not attractive for an everyday car and the black or black just looks boring in the videos i have watched.. The option of leather and a different trim package would seal the deal for me on the f-sport but now i am left having to choose one or the other.
Its pretty pick and choose, in this case. If you want luxury or sporty appearance. Similar how Acura TLX/RDX won't let you Advance Pack if you do A-Spec.

Now obviously its your money, but my advice would be to option for the Luxury or Ultra Luxury and skip the F-Sport if you want a 2019 ES.

The F-Sport ES is pretty much just all appearance. There's only a subtle difference between the F-Sport ES to the Luxury ES in driving dynamics. With that being said - the Lexus ES is also weighed down by its own weight, front wheel drive and a MacPherson suspension set-up. With a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds (respectable) but in context, its slow for a V6, because the Lexus IS300 Turbo (with less HP does it in 6.9 seconds). That's only a .3 second difference!
What I'm basically saying is - the F-Sport package is just not worth it, especially on a FWD car. The Lexus ES F-Sport won't beat anyone in a drag, doesn't handle like a RWD car in the hills/track, its big (so not nimble), and basically just not sporty - its just sporty looking. You are better off optioning for the luxury package and enjoy more comfort and luxurious features because that's what the Lexus ES is about.

Similarity - the Lexus LS500 too. The F-Sport model restricts you from getting the Executive Package with Kiriko Glass (hand-cut glass door panels). With a car like the Lexus LS, you would want the Executive Pack and skip the F-Sport because the F-Sport won't do it justice.
Sakura
Its pretty pick and choose, in this case. If you want luxury or sporty appearance. Similar how Acura TLX/RDX won't let you Advance Pack if you do A-Spec.

Now obviously its your money, but my advice would be to option for the Luxury or Ultra Luxury and skip the F-Sport if you want a 2019 ES.

The F-Sport ES is pretty much just all appearance. There's only a subtle difference between the F-Sport ES to the Luxury ES in driving dynamics. With that being said - the Lexus ES is also weighed down by its own weight, front wheel drive and a MacPherson suspension set-up. With a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds (respectable) but in context, its slow for a V6, because the Lexus IS300 Turbo (with less HP does it in 6.9 seconds). That's only a .3 second difference!
What I'm basically saying is - the F-Sport package is just not worth it, especially on a FWD car. The Lexus ES F-Sport won't beat anyone in a drag, doesn't handle like a RWD car in the hills/track, its big (so not nimble), and basically just not sporty - its just sporty looking. You are better off optioning for the luxury package and enjoy more comfort and luxurious features because that's what the Lexus ES is about.

Similarity - the Lexus LS500 too. The F-Sport model restricts you from getting the Executive Package with Kiriko Glass (hand-cut glass door panels). With a car like the Lexus LS, you would want the Executive Pack and skip the F-Sport because the F-Sport won't do it justice.
It is not black or white... F-Sport is fine if you want sportier ES, it is not a sports car, but goes and handles well according to all the reviews.
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spwolf
It is not black or white... F-Sport is fine if you want sportier ES, it is not a sports car, but goes and handles well according to all the reviews.
You are not wrong it just sucks that you cant have the high end interior with the f-sport. Just because i want a great handling car does not mean i dont want leather seats, an interior color other than black or red or an attractive trim package.I’m going to reserve judgment until I see it in person though.
Amazing report
But honestly my eye catcher was this
[​IMG]

Dreaming if they turn this exactly as the next GS
Sakura
The F-Sport ES is pretty much just all appearance. There's only a subtle difference between the F-Sport ES to the Luxury ES in driving dynamics. With that being said - the Lexus ES is also weighed down by its own weight, front wheel drive and a MacPherson suspension set-up. With a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds (respectable) but in context, its slow for a V6, because the Lexus IS300 Turbo (with less HP does it in 6.9 seconds). That's only a .3 second difference!
It's funny how Lexus posts overestimated acceleration figures for RWD cars but underestimated figures for FWD cars. The 5ES and 6ES are already tested to beat that number. Generally the ES350 are doing high-5s or low-6s, 1 second faster than the official number, with the 270hp 2GR-FE. On the other hand the LS500 is known to underdeliver by almost 1 second.

I doubt the 7ES will beat the 6ES by 0.5s (suggested by the official numbers) since the 6ES is already traction-limited. That extra horsepower seems to only cause more wheelspin on the 7ES, a good reason for them to add AWD. 5.8s is like the magic barrier that prevents FWD vehicles from getting any quicker, since weight transfer reduces grip at the front axle. One would need some special engineering tricks like those on the Type-R to get below that number. The new engine is mostly about fuel economy and wide power band.

Sakura
What I'm basically saying is - the F-Sport package is just not worth it, especially on a FWD car. The Lexus ES F-Sport won't beat anyone in a drag, doesn't handle like a RWD car in the hills/track, its big (so not nimble), and basically just not sporty - its just sporty looking. You are better off optioning for the luxury package and enjoy more comfort and luxurious features because that's what the Lexus ES is about.
You missed the point. F-sport is exactly about the appearance. It has a very high take rate because people just want a fancier exterior. For the same reason M Sport, AMG Sport, and S-line packages are very popular among BBA buyers. The NX and RX have nothing to do with handling dynamics or speed but they have F-sport packages anyway. It's a sad thing to happen but that's the way it is.

Sakura
Similarity - the Lexus LS500 too. The F-Sport model restricts you from getting the Executive Package with Kiriko Glass (hand-cut glass door panels). With a car like the Lexus LS, you would want the Executive Pack and skip the F-Sport because the F-Sport won't do it justice.
This has been brought up on this forum over and over again, but it doesn't seem Lexus will change their approach since F-Sport packages are selling so well. Again, it's a sad thing to happen but that's the way it is.
Another amazing job by Krew. I think all my questions are answered in that review.
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spwolf
It is not black or white... F-Sport is fine if you want sportier ES, it is not a sports car, but goes and handles well according to all the reviews.
Agree to disagree for this, I guess. I see it as more black and white for the Lexus ES because they are forcing you to either have F-Sport or Luxury Pack. It'll be less Black and White if they let you mix-package it. I would have loved it if we could get the Luxury Pack on top of the F-Sport pack. But they are making you choose Sport or Luxury - to me that's black/white. Either Apple or Orange.

Agreed. Its not a sports car - it never was meant to be one. That's why in my opinion, I see the luxury packages as more valuable and worth wild compared to the F-Sport. Some of the bells and whistles on both the Luxury and Ultra Luxury Pack seems more worth it to me than the F-Sport.

True. Overall review says the ES handles pretty decent for a FWD. However - from the reviews I saw - majority of them said the F-Sport + Sport+ mode changes were subtle, at best, changes to the handling. This is why, in my opinion, I would prefer the Lexus ES Luxury Pack. Similarly - I would prefer the Lexus LS with the Executive Pack with Kiriko (not available on F-Sport.) For these cars, I want the car to make me feel like home. If I wanted a F-Sport Lexus that's in the 50K, I'll get a IS350 F-Sport and skip the luxury stuff for the IS.

ssun30
1)It's funny how Lexus posts overestimated acceleration figures for RWD cars but underestimated figures for FWD cars. The 5ES and 6ES are already tested to beat that number. Generally the ES350 are doing high-5s or low-6s, 1 second faster than the official number, with the 270hp 2GR-FE. On the other hand the LS500 is known to underdeliver by almost 1 second.

2)I doubt the 7ES will beat the 6ES by 0.5s (suggested by the official numbers) since the 6ES is already traction-limited. That extra horsepower seems to only cause more wheelspin on the 7ES, a good reason for them to add AWD. 5.8s is like the magic barrier that prevents FWD vehicles from getting any quicker, since weight transfer reduces grip at the front axle. One would need some special engineering tricks like those on the Type-R to get below that number. The new engine is mostly about fuel economy and wide power band.

3)You missed the point. F-sport is exactly about the appearance. It has a very high take rate because people just want a fancier exterior. For the same reason M Sport, AMG Sport, and S-line packages are very popular among BBA buyers. The NX and RX have nothing to do with handling dynamics or speed but they have F-sport packages anyway. It's a sad thing to happen but that's the way it is.

4) This has been brought up on this forum over and over again, but it doesn't seem Lexus will change their approach since F-Sport packages are selling so well. Again, it's a sad thing to happen but that's the way it is.
Ssun30, I numbered your quote to make it easier to reply to :)

1) Thanks for that info. I never knew that. I thought it was a bit odd the 19 Lexus ES350 with the 2GR-FKS can only run 6.6 seconds to 60. I assume it'll be a tad bit slower than the Camry XSE due to weight probably.

2) Agreed. The wheel-spin alone will be a good reason for them to add AWD. However - this is from a car enthusiast's perspective. From my experience of being a heavy Toyota shareholder, Toyota doesn't really make choices for the car enthusiast. They make most of their decision for the share-holder and what will generate more profit. If they feel like the AWD will sell and is it needed, they'll add it.
But I don't think they will because its not needed from the business side. The ES target demographic is highly unlikely to floor it to a point where wheel-spin occur. ES target demographic isn't demanding AWD - only car enthusiasts are. Adding AWD will also increase the price of the ES on the top end, which they don't want to do. You know they were anal about the price when they were already hell-bent at keeping it under 40K for base price. And because the ES is pretty much a Camry/Avalon, they would have to add AWD to all three cars - not just the ES.

3) I wasn't suggesting that F-Sport models aren't good. I was suggesting, solely from the car enthusiasts perspective, the Ultra Luxury Pack will be better served for the ES than the F-Sport because the F-Sport doesn't really improve its overall handling. From the reviews I saw, there is only a subtle change/improvement to the ES handling. And to me, that's not worth the insane (near LS-like) features on the Ultra Luxury Pack.
But - the M Sport, AMG Line, and S-Line packages don't restrict you from getting the fancier luxury features. German's build are very liquid, you can option anything and pack anything regardless of design packages. However - Lexus and Acura restricts you.
Obviously - if an Ultra Luxury Pack F-Sport exist - I would love that. It would be amazing. But it doesn't, and since it doesn't, I personally would be more incline to take the Ultra Luxury Pack because I don't see a use in a F-Sport ES.
Sakura
But I don't think they will because its not needed from the business side. The ES target demographic is highly unlikely to floor it to a point where wheel-spin occur. ES target demographic isn't demanding AWD - only car enthusiasts are. Adding AWD will also increase the price of the ES on the top end, which they don't want to do. You know they were anal about the price when they were already hell-bent at keeping it under 40K for base price. And because the ES is pretty much a Camry/Avalon, they would have to add AWD to all three cars - not just the ES.
ES target demographic will surely want AWD. As many reviewers pointed out, premium buyers want AWD for that security factor; it's not entirely about performance. Once current generation GS is discontinued, Lexus will have no substitute to offer in Northern U.S. not to mention Canada where AWD is a must. Therefore they will be offering AWD on ES. It's evident from the floor hump in the second row. Toyota representatives always say "we are investigating it" regardless of whether they are really doing it.
ssun30
You missed the point. F-sport is exactly about the appearance. It has a very high take rate because people just want a fancier exterior. For the same reason M Sport, AMG Sport, and S-line packages are very popular among BBA buyers. The NX and RX have nothing to do with handling dynamics or speed but they have F-sport packages anyway. It's a sad thing to happen but that's the way it is.


This has been brought up on this forum over and over again, but it doesn't seem Lexus will change their approach since F-Sport packages are selling so well. Again, it's a sad thing to happen but that's the way it is.
Well, as krew said, it handles and feels better... it is not just about appearance, unlike german packages where you can buy just external package without any other changes.

So in fact, Lexus F-Sport is actually a lot more comprehensive package than just standard M Sport, AMG Sport and S-Line.
Sakura
3) I wasn't suggesting that F-Sport models aren't good. I was suggesting, solely from the car enthusiasts perspective, the Ultra Luxury Pack will be better served for the ES than the F-Sport because the F-Sport doesn't really improve its overall handling. From the reviews I saw, there is only a subtle change/improvement to the ES handling. A
but it does heavily effect handling and I bet when you try it you will discover that, just like @krew did.
For what it's worth, here's Autoblog's review. Seems that Jonathon Klein is one of their newest reviewers. I liked his Nissan Kicks review, but his ES review is kinda meh:

https://www.autoblog.com/2018/06/07/lexus-es-first-drive-review-entry-level-luxury-that-wants-to-h/
Joaquin Ruhi
For what it's worth, here's Autoblog's review. Seems that Jonathon Klein is one of their newest reviewers. I liked his Nissan Kicks review, but his ES review is kinda meh:

https://www.autoblog.com/2018/06/07/lexus-es-first-drive-review-entry-level-luxury-that-wants-to-h/
I want to buy a Camry that has that same steering wheel and same instrumentation, lol. In fact, it is LS steering wheel and instrumentation, seems like someone got confused.
lsu5508
You are not wrong it just sucks that you cant have the high end interior with the f-sport. Just because i want a great handling car does not mean i dont want leather seats and an attractive trim package.I’m going to reserve judgment until I see it in person though.
NuLuxe doesn't bug me at all, though I've never owned a car with it. I have to say, the Ultra White ES F SPORT with the red interior is out of this world. Would buy that car in a second.

ssun30
Another amazing job by Krew. I think all my questions are answered in that review.
Just wish I had more information for markets outside of North America. Should have something next week.
Joaquin Ruhi
For what it's worth, here's Autoblog's review. Seems that Jonathon Klein is one of their newest reviewers. I liked his Nissan Kicks review, but his ES review is kinda meh:

https://www.autoblog.com/2018/06/07/lexus-es-first-drive-review-entry-level-luxury-that-wants-to-h/
We're also not convinced that the interior is different enough from the Toyota Camry and Avalon to justify its expected price premium — Lexus was fuzzy with the numbers but gave us a ballpark. Though the ES does receive a new trim texture based on the finishes of a samurai's katana, if you were to compare interior shots of the Camry and the ES side by side, you'd find that the steering wheel, instrument display, starter button, transmission shifter, and lower console are interchangeable. It's only the infotainment screens, and some slightly higher-quality materials such as the leather seats, that differ significantly.

This interior parts-sharing quandary has always been a fact of life for the ES, but these days it's hard not to drive an ES and cast a glance at the Avalon, if you can get past the badge. What's more, recent Lexus models like the LC 500 have really impressed us with excellent materials, design, craftsmanship, and attention to detail, and it's disappointing that more of the LC's special sauce didn't make it to the ES.
I suppose the Camry and ES share the same interior -- I mean, both have steering wheels, instrument panels, seats, doors handles, some buttons, a glovebox, a center console, pedals, a stereo, cup holders.

View attachment 2879

View attachment 2880

Maybe he meant similar color schemes??
Sakura
Agreed. For us car enthusiasts, if we were have to must have an ES, the F-Sport is the one to buy. But - I feel like for the target demographics of the ES - the Premium Pack to Luxury Package will be the most popular trim to buy.
Agreed, but one thing to note. Remember when they announced the F sport package on the RX and everyone laughed, said it was unnecessary and that nobody would buy it? Look now! ES F-Sport could prove to be very popular, IMO.
lsu5508
The f-sport exterior looks great but to me the red interior is just not attractive for an everyday car and the black or black just looks boring in the videos i have watched.. The option of leather and a different trim package would seal the deal for me on the f-sport but now i am left having to choose one or the other. I cant see myself spending 40k-50k on a car and not getting a basic luxury amenity like leather seats. I understand the market for each car is different but i have to imagine there are alot of people that want some of both.
This is one of my biggest frustrations with F Sport, especially on the LS and some more expensive models. I do not want entry level looking aluminum trim on a $100k flagship sedan. And quite frankly, I'd like something other than red or black leather, too. Lexus needs to offer some other trim options like open poor woods, smoked/black woods, etc or allow F Sport to be added to other packages like you note. The aluminum has been an economy car trim for almost two decades now... it's got to go.
krew
Just wish I had more information for markets outside of North America. Should have something next week.
Things that I forgot to ask: how do the low profile tyres (w/19-inch) on the F-Sport affect ride quality? Is there a notable difference in harshness and road noise compared to the high profile tyres (w/17 or 18-inch)? What compound does the F-Sport use? Is it sport softs, or long life hards? Does the hybrid use low rolling-resistance tyres?
spwolf
I want to buy a Camry that has that same steering wheel and same instrumentation, lol. In fact, it is LS steering wheel and instrumentation, seems like someone got confused.
krew
I suppose the Camry and ES share the same interior -- I mean, both have steering wheels, instrument panels, seats, doors handles, some buttons, a glovebox, a center console, pedals, a stereo, cup holders.

Maybe he meant similar color schemes??
FWIW, at least one, if not more of the post-review comments blasted Autoblog's Klein for those stupid comments.
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ssun30
ES target demographic will surely want AWD. As many reviewers pointed out, premium buyers want AWD for that security factor; it's not entirely about performance. Once current generation GS is discontinued, Lexus will have no substitute to offer in Northern U.S. not to mention Canada where AWD is a must. Therefore they will be offering AWD on ES. It's evident from the floor hump in the second row. Toyota representatives always say "we are investigating it" regardless of whether they are really doing it.
What do you mean security factor? You mean traction?

I watched a couple review and read a couple on the Lexus ES too. The general opinion among car enthusiasts is we want an AWD Lexus ES. However - as some reviews noted - the AWD system will help the car from wheel-spinning but they also mention the typical ES driver will not push it that hard where wheel-spin occurs. So the typical average Lexus ES driver doesn't need it. (I'm strictly talking about the US-Market by the way. The main demographics for the ES is an older buyer that is at least 50+ years of age - for the US.)

According to sales numbers since 2002: the Lexus ES consumers don't seem to care (want) AWD. They averaged high 40K to 70K in yearly unit sales without AWD since 2002. As for Canada - the Lexus ES peaked sales was in 2007 at 4000 units. Then every other year - the Lexus ES averages 2000 to 3000 units per year. Its safe to say, Canadian market is not priority to Lexus. Also - Canadian market has been averaging 2000 to 3000 sales per year consistently with FWD so I don't think its at a point where Lexus really feels they need to add FWD.
I also personally think a AWD Lexus ES is bad choice as a snow car. I would get a Audi or Subaru for that. Or an Acura with SH-AWD.
I also think the GS needed an AWD option because it was RWD base. FWD does pretty well in the snow.

The floor hump in the second row is poor evidence though because the Camry and Avalon has a second row hump as well. It could really just mean its a design que. Unless they are planning to add AWD to the Camry, Avalon and the ES? Which is unlikely.
What I mean by design que is: Toyota is trying to make their cars more sporty - a second row hump just looks more sporty in design language. It separates it from the Corolla and etc...
Another example: The 1G and 2G Acura TSX had the second row hump. The 3G TL has it as well. None of them had AWD offered to them. The rumor back in 2007 was the Acura TSX will get the RDX Turbo + AWD in the 2G because of the second row hump. Nothing happened. Another K24 N/A engine + FWD.

Agreed. "We are investigating it" is a loose phrase to not stir media. It can allow them to go yay or nay. We really can't tell what they mean by that phrase, hell, they could have just said it and not be doing anything at all.

These are just my opinions and assumption for Toyota, anyways. They haven't been making cars in the car enthusiasts mind-set for a long time. This is why TMC is so rich.

spwolf
Well, as krew said, it handles and feels better... it is not just about appearance, unlike german packages where you can buy just external package without any other changes.

So in fact, Lexus F-Sport is actually a lot more comprehensive package than just standard M Sport, AMG Sport and S-Line.
The F-Sport model does handles and feels better than the standard ES. I agree. Its because of the different tuning of the suspensions. However - many reviewers I read - they notice its only a subtle change because the handling is some compromised by the FWD. That's where I'm just basing everything from.

krew
I suppose the Camry and ES share the same interior -- I mean, both have steering wheels, instrument panels, seats, doors handles, some buttons, a glovebox, a center console, pedals, a stereo, cup holders.

Maybe he meant similar color schemes??
From what I took from the Autoblog review, I think he means the interior is similarity put together (as in the location of everything is pretty much the same - interchangeable). But overall - I really have no clue what hes talking about.... Lol. But - benefit of the doubt - I do see some "Camry-ness" if I stare at it for long enough.

Gecko
Agreed, but one thing to note. Remember when they announced the F sport package on the RX and everyone laughed, said it was unnecessary and that nobody would buy it? Look now! ES F-Sport could prove to be very popular, IMO.
Agreed. +1 Good point. However - I think the biggest attractiveness to current line-up of F-Sport models is the digital gauges. With the new Lexus that are coming out, they'll be offering both digital gauges and LFA style gauges. I believe the Lexus RX packaging isn't also as restrictive as the ES because you can have leather seats on the Lexus RX F-Sport.
As to the AWD, while all the rumors say it is coming, lets keep in mind that AWD take rate is something like 8% in the USA and much less in Europe.
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spwolf
As to the AWD, while all the rumors say it is coming, lets keep in mind that AWD take rate is something like 8% in the USA and much less in Europe.
+1 Good info to know. While I never really thought about it, its true. The USA AWD take-rate is pretty low.
Krew, I want to thank you for your very thorough review. All my questions have been answered.
I don't want to incline you towards a new ES300h review from a Polish guy. His name is Pertyn Ględzi. I will tell you only that I like how he gives the sensation of acceleration from a camera being fitted at the driver's side windscreen pointing towards the cabin. Of course video has English subs.
Sakura
+1 Good info to know. While I never really thought about it, its true. The USA AWD take-rate is pretty low.
Now i'm no expert in sales and marketing...but I would think that AWD uptake would increase if they cull the GS. I know GS sales are not through the roof. But there will be IS owners wanting bigger cars but not necessarily looking at the SUV offerings being left without any viable options. They are not going to step down into a FWD. I mean yes, in the real world, FWD and RWD makes almost no difference to the driving experience. But luxury cars are not just about practicality right?

I also believe that the hump there is not just aesthetic. The GA-K platform does support AWD. As seen in the Toyota CH-R and upcoming RAV4 lexus UX and future Toyota/lexus SUVs like the next generation RX and NX. There was also rumours of a hotted up camry a while back (https://www.caradvice.com.au/603430/hotted-up-toyota-camry-chief-engineer-loves-the-idea/ ...i'm Australian...). And yes there are a lot of differences but at the end of the day, the drivetrains are pretty much the same. So there is still hope right?

Boy wouldn't it be awesome to have a more powerful ES...roughly 250kw AWD...10 speed...i'm not asking for too much right? Also gimme rear seet warmers and double wishbone front suspension...it seems such a waste to have such a beautiful car hindered by FWD...Australians get it even worse. Just two grades, no F-sport and no V6. such a shame.
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thtupid
Now i'm no expert in sales and marketing...but I would think that AWD uptake would increase if they cull the GS. I know GS sales are not through the roof. But there will be IS owners wanting bigger cars but not necessarily looking at the SUV offerings being left without any viable options. They are not going to step down into a FWD. I mean yes, in the real world, FWD and RWD makes almost no difference to the driving experience. But luxury cars are not just about practicality right?

I also believe that the hump there is not just aesthetic. The GA-K platform does support AWD. As seen in the Toyota CH-R and upcoming RAV4 lexus UX and future Toyota/lexus SUVs like the next generation RX and NX. There was also rumours of a hotted up camry a while back (https://www.caradvice.com.au/603430/hotted-up-toyota-camry-chief-engineer-loves-the-idea/ ...i'm Australian...). And yes there are a lot of differences but at the end of the day, the drivetrains are pretty much the same. So there is still hope right?

Boy wouldn't it be awesome to have a more powerful ES...roughly 250kw AWD...10 speed...i'm not asking for too much right? Also gimme rear seet warmers and double wishbone front suspension...it seems such a waste to have such a beautiful car hindered by FWD...Australians get it even worse. Just two grades, no F-sport and no V6. such a shame.
Not necessarily. The Lexus ES's core demographic is a male of 50 years of age or older. Its also - these likely owners are current Lexus ES owners or Camry/Avalon owners looking for a change. This shows evidence that the Lexus ES is in no demand of a AWD because sales of the previous were insanely good without AWD. With no complaints or demands for it from core consumers. The only reason why anyone is saying "AWD ES" is because of the rumors of the GS going away and these are from minority of people or enthusiasts.

The problem is: GS owners or potential GS buyers will not "drop a tier" to go buy an AWD ES. Its more likely GS owners will bail on the Lexus brand and go German. A lot of CL (ClubLexus) GS owners are saying this. And it make sense. A RWD owner wouldn't substitute having RWD for AWD.

Similarity, to the Lexus IS. Majority of IS owners are younger and want something entry-level + sporty + RWD. The Lexus IS loaded will be cheaper by at least by a couple thousand compared to a AWD ES.

Sure - maybe a little bit of the IS/GS owners will be in the minority and go to the ES. But the question is: how much money will Lexus make from an AWD ES? Will it be worth for the little bit extra of sales? You likely won't get enough GS and IS owners to buy the ES to make developing an AWD worth it. Especially since the USA market is on a SUV craze and the sedan is already facing tough competition. An AWD SUV will make more sense too because it has more clearance.

The hump, of course, is not purely aesthetics. The GA-K platform does support AWD. But Toyota is pretty much catching up in this department. Many FWD cars had humps for the exhaust pipes since the early 2000s. The Acura TSX had a hump and was never offered AWD.

Of course - it would be awesome. As car enthusiasts, we would love to see it. As a car enthusiasts, I would love to see an ES AWD with a Turbo engine. As a Toyota shareholder, an AWD Turbo ES would be bad business. An AWD will not generate enough return to create enough profits. It'll be a waste of development cash. A Turbo ES will damage the core image of the ES - will deter sales from mass consumers in favor of enthusiasts, which isn't the driving force of profits.
Sakura
The hump, of course, is not purely aesthetics. The GA-K platform does support AWD. But Toyota is pretty much catching up in this department. Many FWD cars had humps for the exhaust pipes since the early 2000s. The Acura TSX had a hump and was never offered AWD.

Of course - it would be awesome. As car enthusiasts, we would love to see it. As a car enthusiasts, I would love to see an ES AWD with a Turbo engine. As a Toyota shareholder, an AWD Turbo ES would be bad business. An AWD will not generate enough return to create enough profits. It'll be a waste of development cash. A Turbo ES will damage the core image of the ES - will deter sales from mass consumers in favor of enthusiasts, which isn't the driving force of profits.
1) First point is false. The hump is much more pronounced than a regular exhaust hump. The height is what you'd expect from a RWD or AWD car. If they didn't prepare it for the axle then they are just wasting valuable leg room in the rear.

2) Nobody is saying they are making an AWD Turbo ES, just an AWD ES in general. 8% take rate is just a statistic without context. In what segment? In which area? On what type of vehicle? Which category of consumers buy AWD? Is there a year-to-year trend that suggests it is staying that way? I would like to hear about the details. There are areas in North America where AWD is a must. What you are saying is they should stop selling the ES sedan in these areas because there aren't any ES buyers or potential ES buyers there, which makes between 1% and 50% sense. Going by that logic, the IS and LS shouldn't be offered AWD either because they are selling at a much lower volume than the ES, and thus the absolute number of AWD sales is even lower, and as a result spending resources on AWD models is an even bigger waste.

I'm not fully denying your point here. Sometimes it's okay to abandon a certain demographics to achieve better overall results, sometimes it's not. But the thing is, we can't really tell on this issue without the data analysis capability of the accounting department of a mega corporation.

Oh also on the matter of turbo, they will replace the 3.5 V6 with a turbo at some point if only to reduce fuel consumption. It has nothing to do with the core image of the car, or trying to favor the enthusiasts for that matter (seriously, what kind of enthusiast would choose a turbo 4 vs. a naturally aspirated V6?). In fact replacing V6s with turbo 4s is all it took Toyota and Lexus to drastically increase sales in regions that favor turbo engines like China. Not having a turbo 4 on the ES is restricting how high they can reach in China; they are confined to the lower end of the premium segment with the 2.5 and 2.5 hybrid.

By the way they have already made the R&D investment in multiple AWD systems and integration of AWD with GA-K. I would call engineering a LC-F or LS-F a bigger waste of development cash because these two programs are almost guaranteed to lose money. If we take the argument even further, to optimize their business results, all the company really need to invest in are crossovers. The fact that even the most optimized automaker in the world does not run an seemingly optimized strategy means those earning six-figures are analyzing things with much more depth than we could.

To bring an end to this AWD discussion (seriously, it has been brought up way too many times in this forum that it needs to end), I would say let's just wait and see. The ES lineup is surely not complete at this point but honestly I don't care. The ES300h is really the sweet spot.

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