Lexus is at the forefront when it comes to a saloon and it has been that way since the launch of their LS, a saloon of generous proportions which brought levels of comfort and refinement to the market to the envy of other carmakers. At around the same time the first ES was launched and this all new ES 300h, now in its seventh generation, carries on the line which to date has notched up more than 2.3 million sales around the world.
The latest is version totally new from the ground up and it scores extremely well in a number of key areas, namely design, technology, comfort and performance.
In order for a saloon to succeed in the current market, it simply has to deliver and with the ES, it does just that. I had the opportunity to drive a number of versions in Southern Spain over a mix of roads, both motorway routes and those of the windy variety in the hills above Malaga.
Modern styling with that subtle hint of sporty, should give it a wider appeal than ever before and with this model, I believe Lexus can take on the big names from Germany which to date have ruled this segment.
Bringing the new model to market, as with all of the Lexus product range, extensive testing was a key some carried out in Europe and I can report it does transmit a “European feel”.
Just like every other model in the Lexus family, attention to detail has always been at the top of the priority list and an example of this; three years were spent in developing the seats, an indicator to the comfort level which you experience when you take the wheel.
Lexus for me has always brought one quality, low noise levels. By this, I mean really low and not to rest on their laurels, an even greater use of padding has been employed to make the new ES one of the quietest vehicles on the road. The slightest whisper can even be detected in the cabin.
Style is important and thanks to new Global-Architecture-K, the new ES scores well as it does when it comes to ride, handling and performance.
Beneath the bonnet lies a 2.5 litre Atkinson cycle four cylinder petrol engine with a more powerful, lightweight electric motor, which adds up to a total system power output of 215bhp and the engine is all new with thermal efficiency as high as 41 percent.
Research has indicated that this new hybrid model from Lexus can travel at 40 percent plus on EV, with the best result achieved in an urban environment.
Power alone is not simply enough to deliver and with the already noted new platform, revised suspension and highly responsive rack-assisted power steering, the reward is a fulfilling drive.
The F-Sport version employs adoptive sport suspension, similar to that on the LC Coupe. This delivers 650 levels of automatic seamless adjustment to the damping force at each wheel. AVS also brings with it additional Sport S and Sport S+ settings for the Drive Mode Select system.
The interior of the new ES is packed with sheer luxury and quality with all the technology you can expect from the modern luxury car. As you move up the range, you get a 12.3 inch display, heads up display and of course the highly rated Mark Levinson surround system with seventeen speakers.
Driver and fellow passengers are wrapped in luxury but surrounded by one of the best safety systems currently available. The five star Lexus Safety System+ abounds with features, including alerts and safeguards to prevent accidents. I know there is a huge move in the market towards SUVs and in this area Lexus offers a wide choice, however for many their preference remains with the conventional, and a saloon. The Lexus ES 300h is the complete package and in any case I would expect nothing less from this carmaker.
Even the entry level model comes with a standard specification that some rivals would class as range topping.