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Lexus ES to replace GS early next year

Latest Lexus ES to reach UK next year with petrol-electric power

Full details of the new Lexus ES saloon have been announced following its unveiling at the Beijing Motor Show. The newly designed Japanese model will replace the current GS in the range and aims to challenge the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF and Mercedes E-Class for customers when it arrives in January 2019.

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According to Lexus, the ES is “the product of a re-imagined luxury equation.”The brand also says it has focused on “engaging design, athletic performance and renowned refinement” when developing the new model. Earlier generations of the ES have been sold in other markets, and it’s especially popular in the US.

The ES will sit on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that underpins the Toyota Prius and C-HR, along with the forthcoming Lexus UX SUV. The use of these mechanical underpinnings mean that, unlike the outgoing Lexus GS, the ES will be front-wheel drive.

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On the styling front, the ES takes its design cues from the larger Lexus LS luxury saloon, with a trademark spindle grille that covers most of the nose, along with slim LED headlights and a striking signature Lexus graphic for the daytime running lights. The saloon’s upmarket status is cemented with lashings of chrome detailing that surrounds the grille, front bumper lip and side windows. A choice of 17 and 18-inch wheels will be offered on standard models.

While certain European markets will get petrol-only versions of the ES towards the end of 2018, the UK will only get the ES 300h – a petrol-electric hybrid with an electrified 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Lexus claims fuel economy of 60.1mpg thanks to a number of sophisticated engine technologies. Lexus also says the new engine boasts better driveability thanks to an improved hybrid system. No diesel will be offered, as per the rest of the Lexus range.

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The ES’ interior gets a futuristic look with a driver-focused design that still keeps passenger comfort in mind. Rear passenger space has been prioritised, while high-quality materials, exotic wood trim and a range of colour combinations mean the interior should be a match for those of its main rivals. A 17-speaker Mark Levinson PurePlay stereo is also offered.

There’s a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, controlled by a touchpad on the centre console, while a voice-recognition system that offers contactless smartphone control also features.

Offering a similarly sporty character to Audi S line and BMW M Sport models, Lexus’ F-Sport trim will return on the new ES, with various exterior trim additions and a rear spoiler, 19-inch alloys, exclusive exterior colours and even metallic interior trim inspired by Japanese sword-making. F-Sport models also come with a Sport+ mode for the car’s drive mode system, along with the option of adaptive suspension similar to that on the Lexus LC coupe.

Safety is top of Lexus’ priorities and as such the ES will come as standard with its ‘Lexus Safety System +’ suite of active safety features. A pre-collision system that can detect oncoming cars, pedestrians and cyclists is a headline feature, along with sophisticated adaptive LED headlights that can avoid dazzling other drivers while maximising visibility.

Reliability, comfort and overall driving experience will need to be exceptional to tempt customers away from the competition. Lexus will be hoping the ES can repeat the success of the Lexus RX and NX, which came fifth and sixth overall in our 2018 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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