South Africa – Lexus revamped all of its models with distinctive lines and styling cues, most notably its spindle grille and signature headlamps and taillights. This commitment to design was reflected on the Lexus display at this year’s Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS).
The stand was inspired by Lexus’ design philosophy and provided an ideal showcase for the new look, luxury and technology of Lexus vehicles.
The Lexus display incorporated dramatic features such as the ‘treasure’ box with mirror accents to showcase the iconic LFA supercar.
As Justin Ryan, General Manager of Lexus South Africa pointed out, Lexus has always been about mastering the details, whether it’s in its products, or how customers are treated. “Now, as we enter a new phase, we are looking at every detail of how customers see the Lexus brand and ensuring we look ‘perfect’ from every angle,” Ryan said.
Lexus ES 250
The all-new Lexus ES 250 rightfully moved into the place of honour at JIMS, a simple raised plinth at the front of the stand, to indicate its top billing at the show.
Now in its sixth generation and credited with being the top-selling Lexus sedan globally, the ES will present unrivalled value in the premium segment of the South African market when it goes on sale this month.
As the luxury vehicle subsidiary of automotive giant Toyota, Lexus has always managed to effectively combine affordability with premium luxury, reliability and performance – accomplished ranges such as the IS, GS, CT and LS offer excellent value for money in their respective passenger car segments.
However, with the ES, the company sets out to redefine the entry-premium segment, because in terms of pricing, the ES at R435 900 slots in just below the newly minted IS range, but in terms of interior space, it offers roominess closer to that of the GS.
For the first time in its 24-year history, the ES is available with Lexus Hybrid Drive (see ‘Also available in Green’), while the ES 250 is powered by a 2,5-litre four-cylinder engine that employs dual-VVT-i technology that controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts for optimal performance and efficiency at all engine speeds.
The ES 250’s peak output figures are 135 kW at 6 000 r/min and 235 Nm of torque at 4 100 r/min, and the engine is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. The ES 250 will sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 9,8 seconds and achieve a maximum speed of 207 km/h, with a combined fuel consumption figure of 8,0 litres/100 km and a CO2 emissions figure of 188 g/km.
The model features a Drive Mode selector that allows a driver to choose Normal, Eco and Sport driving modes. Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is suited to everyday driving conditions, while Eco mode favours fuel economy. Sport mode increases powertrain and steering responsiveness, which, allied with a stiffer body, wider track and an upgraded suspension, endows the ES with commendable handling properties.
The ES’s interior is also particularly roomy. Compared with the outgoing model (which was not made available in SA), the newcomer has a reduced steering-wheel angle for improved driving comfort, while the front seats can be lowered by a further 15 mm for better headroom. Rear headroom has increased by 20 mm and rear kneeroom by 60 mm. Luggage capacity is 490 dm3.
The simplicity and elegance of the interior complements the graceful L-Finesse-inspired exterior design to a tee. Standard features include the second-generation Remote Touch interface with eight-inch full-colour monitor, a navigation system, leather trim with high-quality stitching and tasteful ambient lighting. The ES also shares features such as a classic analogue clock and Nano-e climate-control system with its sibling, the GS.
Also available in green
The ES 300h marks the first time that a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain is offered in the ES range. It’s powered by a 2,5-litre single VVT-i petrol engine (which develops 118 kW at 5 700 r/min and 213 N.m of torque at 4 500) mated with a 105 kW electric motor fed by a 650 V nickel-metal hydride battery, for a combined output of 151 kW.
The ES 300h is equipped with an eCVT transmission and accelerates to 100 km/h from standstill in 8,5 seconds, but offers a level of combined fuel consumption (5,5 litres/100km) that’s generally associated with those of compact vehicles. The ES 300h features a hybrid-specific front grille and rear spoiler.
As with the ES 250, drive mode select is standard on the ES 300h, but there is an additional EV mode specific to the hybrid. The model’s also equipped with a hill-start-assist system and a revised instrument cluster that includes hybrid-specific instrumentation.
The addition of batteries for the ES 300h’s electric motor does encroach on the car’s boot space, but still leaves more than enough room (the luggage capacity is 425 dm3 as opposed to the 490 dm3 of the ES 250 model).