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Shanghai show: Facelifted Lexus ES here later this year

Extra Special: The steady-selling Lexus ES sedan gets a mid-life makeover (pictured), while RX270 is elbowed aside to make way for turbo-powered RX200t.

Chassis and aesthetic tweaks for big ES sedan, while RX scores turbo engine for 2016


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20 Apr 2015

AFTER two years on sale, Lexus has given its mid-size ES sedan a refresh inside and out, with the updated four-door making its debut in one of its strongest markets at this week's Shanghai motor show.

Lexus also showed off the latest variant of its RX mid-size SUV, the RX200t. It follows in the wheel-tracks of the NX200t by using the same 2.0-litre turbocharged engine mated to a traditional six-speed automatic, and becomes only the second turbo model in the company’s line-up in the process.

The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine – codenamed 8AR-FTS – features VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) cam actuation and a twin-scroll turbocharger with air-to-water intercooler.

It will replace the three-year-old RX270 – the first four-cylinder RX released in Australia – and will go on sale in 2016.

The updated ES, meanwhile, will arrive in Australian Lexus dealerships later this year.

The front end of the ES has been comprehensively reshaped to better fit in with the rest of the Lexus fleet, with the brand’s 'spindle' grille complemented by new LED projector headlights and daytime running lights that sit proud of the head-lamp units. The front fog-lights have been relocated, as well.

On the rear, the tail-lights are a new design, while the number plate surround and exhaust garnishes have also been tweaked.

Inside, there’s a new steering wheel and a larger 4.2-inch TFT screen in the centre console. New interior colours – including matt bamboo – and more options for customers have been implemented, while ‘enter’ buttons on either side of the ES’s distinctive mouse-style Remote Touch Interface toggle have been added.

Underneath, the ES’s chassis has had additional reinforcement added to the body shell to stiffen the suspension mounting points, while a new sound-deadening layer has been added behind the dashboard.

Lexus will also debut its new Safety System + in the ES, comprising a pre-collision safety package, lane-departure warning, automatic high beam and radar cruise control in the one package.

The ES was lightly tweaked in November last year, with an updated multimedia system bringing SD card-based navigation to the car. The safety package was also bolstered with Rear Cross Traffic Alert fitted as standard.

The ES will continue to be offered in two variants the 3.5-litre V6 petrol-powered ES350 and the petrol-electric hybrid ES300. So far, 117 ESs have found new homes in Australia this year.

It was the brand’s third-best selling model in 2014 with 667 units, behind the IS sedan and RX SUV. Prices and final specifications will be revealed closer to the car’s launch later in 2015.

"The new ES builds efficiently on what has made it one of the most popular luxury sedans in the world, and we are confident that this latest version of the ES will build upon its past successes," Lexus ES chief engineer Toshio Asahi said in a statement.

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