By Flore Chaumont × Vaughn Lowery
Lexus just released their new ES 350 and it’s now available in over 90 countries. The entire skeleton and skin of the previous Lexus ES has been redefined to attract a broader audience – scoot over empty nesters. Coupled with its F Sport package, the new Lexus ES is destined to attract a much more youthful and active generation. So, we decided to take it on an impromptu road trip from Manhattan to Maryland and all the hot spots in between during this summer’s blistering heat wave.
Koichi Suga, General Manager of Lexus Design Division, describes it as the most aggressive change for the emblematic ES. And indeed it is, the car now comes across as being more boisterous and bold. From the outside, the car has distinctive features which are unique to the F Sport trim. The 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, the dual integrated exhaust outlet, the F Sport badging as well as the low hoodline and long shoulders really make this car appear track ready. The inside reveals the same vibe, with aluminum pedals, Hadori sword wave-patterned aluminum appointments, red double stitching and red race-inspired interior seats. The 3.5L V6 24 Valve DOHC engine produces 302 hp and 287 lb-ft torque. Although it’s front-wheel drive, engineers managed to capture the emotional response of driving a rear-wheel drive vehicle. And, with 25 mpg (combined city/hwy), you can spend more time driving and less time at the pump.
Lexus has been traditionally known for the quietness of their ride. With active noise deadening technology and sound insulating wheels (which absorbs impact and vibration on the tires), the car is extremely silent, even while in sports mode. However, for the diehard car enthusiasts, there’s a setting to amplify exhaust notes. Overall, the drive is orgasmic; and one can easily cruise in it for long periods of time, feeling comfortable and pampered with ventilated heat/cool front seats. We practically lived inside the cabin when temperatures reached over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, this year’s extra two inches of wheelbase allows backseat passengers to have additional legroom.
At $44,635, one would expect a manufacturer to sacrifice quality during the fabrication process. Contrary to one’s expectations, most materials used feel supple and soft, from the steering wheel to the dashboard. There are also three different types of woods incorporated in the overall interior design, including a matt bamboo finish, a nod to Japanese culture and heritage. An apparent step forward from its predecessor which was full of peeling plastics.
In addition, the car is well-equipped with innovative technology. The ES features a an animated gage cluster, a trackpad with tactile sensors as well as a sleeker instrument board. Tech savy drivers will be pleased to pair it with Apple CarPlay, Siri Eyes Free or Google Voice CTRL. Our favorite is Lexus Enform which is an intuitive system that allows you to speak to a live agent to obtain an address and have it sent directly to your vehicle’s infotainment system. The representatives are accessible 24/7 and help you stay alert if you succumb to driver’s fatigue while on a lengthy trip. This came in handy while we were in traffic or already in route to a location. Not to mention, all the safety technology is standard: blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane departure assist.
In short, the all-new 2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport has a bodacious body that contantly turns heads and a 10-speaker Lexus premium sound system to make them nod.
By Flore Chaumont × Vaughn Lowery