All-new 2019 Lexus ES takes a grand rollout
Six years ago, I flew to the US to attend the global press launch of the sixth-generation Lexus ES. The grand reveal, followed by a thorough test drive, was conducted amid beautiful vineyards in Newberg, Oregon — and remains to be one of my favorite global launch experiences to this day. Perhaps it is because of the amount of attention to detail Lexus has dedicated into crafting the event, all of which allude to iconic Lexus brand virtues of refinement and luxury.
Back then, the 2013 ES was already a huge breakaway from its previous-gen, Toyota-Camry-based model. And today, the 2019 ES is yet again breaking away from its predecessor, surprising the market anew with another dramatically transformed product.
Immediately obvious in the 2019 model is the daring, Lexus interpretation of emotional styling. Of course, it follows suit with the latest styling of the recently introduced LC and LS, upholding the brand’s unique design DNA. The stance is lower and wider; the profile sleeker and more aerodynamic with its coupe-like silhouette. Its latest shell flaunts aggressive potential. And yet inside the cabin, it appears to have not compromised on its hallmarks of commodious space, comfort and quietness.
I can recall how fascinated I was when I first learned about the Japanese takumi. They are master craftsmen whose workmanship is nothing short of impeccable; they are sort of the demigods of handiwork, whose artisan work is the product of several years of experience and undistracted dedication. Lexus has ever since only hired takumis to craft the details of its cars’ intricate interiors, and this is well reflected in the fine points of the cabin of the luxurious ES.
Building on what has always been a shining asset of the ES, the seventh-generation model has brought its acoustics to a whole new level. On top of being gifted with a 17-speaker, Mark Levinson premium surround sound system that is enhanced with QLS (Quantum Logic Surround) sound technology, the new ES aims to not only insulate outside noise, but to also fill the cabin with the right kind of noise, in the right levels. By this, we are talking about achieving a comfortably natural level of quietness — opposed to an unreal silence. Smart insulation on the vehicle’s glass area, sound-absorbing materials and even the car’s proprietary Global Architecture-K chassis all contribute toward reducing unwanted noise and vibrations.
And speaking of its new, Global Architecture-K (GA-K) platform — it is important to keep in mind that this was developed exclusively for the ES, being such an important product; as a matter of fact, being the second bestselling vehicle (only after the RX) in Lexus history. Let us also not forget that it was the ES, alongside the LS, that launched the Lexus brand back in 1989.
The ES may have become a very important core model for Lexus. But the model has not been afraid to change; and therefore has undergone bold transformations throughout the years. This 2019 model is an ambassador of the brand’s latest tagline, “Experience Amazing.”
The inspiration in creating this new ES was born from the brand’s desire to transform each of their customers’ daily drive from being a task, into being a delightful experience. Lexus aimed for the ES to become part of the special things that can spark joy in their customers’ lives. It is with this ambition that they have come up with this latest creation that is meant to stimulate its occupants’ senses — tapping on the senses of sight, sound, touch, and even smell.
The new ES 350 runs on a 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine mated with Lexus’ first-ever direct-shift eight-speed automatic transmission.
Finally, the new ES continues to uphold its excellence in safety features. The 2019 model now introduces an Active Cornering Assist (ACA) feature, which works in tandem with its Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). The car is also able to monitor vehicles present in its blind spots using radar and immediately alerts the driver during such instances. The ES even has a special Pop-up Hood System, wherein the car’s front hood pops up in order to reduce the impact of a person’s head on the car’s hood, in the event of a pedestrian collision. And of course it continues to carry comprehensive SRS airbags, including front and rear side airbags and side curtain airbags.
Allow me to end this story with a brief reference to how Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Ambassador Christel Takigawa emphasized the Japanese word omotenashi during her speech to the International Olympic Committee. There, she explained that the word referred to the Japanese way of hospitality and anticipation; and further broke it down into two root words. Omote she explained, means public face or the image that one would like to present to the outside world. Nashi means nothing. So the combination of these words means that the service is truly sincere — honest and true to goodness; with no hiding, no pretending.
Lexus wishes to exude in the ES the spirit of Japanese omotenashi. That is, for the car to deliver its riders the experience of pure and real hospitality.