1st Sept. 2019: Lexus are up and about again and the first of what might be a string of new models from the Japanese Master this year. The ‘Lexus ES 350 – ES 300h and F Sport 2019 Launch Bahrain’. E.K. Kanoo have moved quite quickly on this one, to bring the new models to the Island as soon as Lexus could get them on the boat it would seem.
It certainly does not reflect on the new model at all, but in a rather bland sort of way, if road users saw the new ES 350 or its sibling the ES 300h (Hybrid) on the back of a transporter coming from the doc, it is doubtful that any observer would have clocked the cars as being 2019 models. The same applied to the 2016 model and so on. It is only on closer observation that some of the subtle differences are noticeable.
The 2019 models are bigger for a start. Not by much, but they are longer and ever so slightly wider, plus a tad heavier. It is the stuff that we don’t see that makes the difference, particularly with the 3.5 litre – 6 cylinder ES 350. Higher torque, bigger ‘gee gees’ and quite a bit more punch under foot. The room inside the Lexus equates to moving from a small cramped apartment to a stately home when it comes to space – and now we have reclining back seats. How do they do it? The new model is also a little lower, which is not much help to granddad or grandma getting in and out, but unlike most saloons, the Lexus doors are a good size. Once snuggled in, anyone over 60 can’t get out….. or more to the point probably don’t want to.
The new head-up display is a bit of a novelty but cannot be bad. Anything that keeps drivers from taking their eyes off the road to look at the ever more complex screens cars of today have, has to be of benefit. However, saying that, the large LED panel with all the menus will take some getting used to. Thankfully, if the version with radar collision avoidance is in your hands (or out of your hands as the case may be), you can almost sit in the back seat and let the car drive itself.
Other improvements (according to Lexus), things like 3 stack more powerful LED lights along with larger grill (Oh why?) and some other cosmetic changes. Again, some of these items are optional which leaves one wondering what exactly is included in the basic version. When all is said and done, this is a Lexus we are talking about and surely it has ‘everything’.
How about an 8 speed gear shift now, up from a 6 speed. Exactly what the benefits of that are has to be tested on the road and perhaps in the overall fuel consumption.
Talking of which, the 2019 ES 300h is the hybrid version with a smaller engine but still a lot of kick due to the electrical side of the propulsion. It is the nominal 2.5 litre – 4 cylinder engine accompanied by 2 motors. Full economics have been improved as well as kick. Do you work in miles or kilometers? Well work it out; some reviewers reckon that the ES 300h will give you as much as 45 miles per gallon of the good stuff on a highway run, but obviously that is with some electric assistance. Incidently, that is only 10 mpg more than the ES 350 with the bigger engine. Let’s not mention the F Sport in that respect.
Ok, we will mention the F Sport or the little we actually know about it. It is not a GS, but perhaps an attempt at attracting a younger market to the nominal support the ES series gets by the older generation. It appears similar to the the ES 350 but trimmed up with variable suspension, 19 inch wheels as opposed to 17 inches on the other two models, plus some nice red sporting interior which would somehow look out of place in the standard ES 350. Is it faster? A bit! Other than that, it is the first time the F Sport has reached the shores of Bahrain so it is yet to be assessed.
2019 will see more from Lexus for sure and as of this report, there is the new Avalon due to be launched at any time. With basically the same chassis as the ES, the Avalon is the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ (or is that the Kardashians nowadays) when the neighbour has an ES but you can’t quite afford one.
Price? Don’t know yet, as of this launch. Taking a guess, 18,000 Bahrain Dinars might be round about the dealer asking price, but quite what that will include if not the ‘Executive’ all up version, then……..In the States where the Lexus ES 350 is the stalwart sedan for so many, they start around $40,000 which is around 4,000 Dinars cheaper than Bahrain. However, Whodoeswhat.tv believe that the American versions of the ES are actually manufactured in the States, so no shipping and duty.