The storied history of Lexus ES

posted September 24, 2021 at 07:20 pm
by  Manila Standard
The Lexus ES has been known for its refined comfort and dynamic performance. Since it was first unveiled in 1989, 2.65 million Lexus ES units have already been sold worldwide and remains as one of the brand’s core models.

The Lexus ES has gone through many iterations through the years of which have now become classic models. With more details to be shared this month, the NEW ES is no exception & will be coming soon to Philippine shores.

The ES Chief Engineer Tetsuya Aoki san is proud of what he has created during the development of the latest ES. He shares what the current model has in store for its drivers and the philosophy behind each improvement that was done to the car. 

“We pursued development to meet and exceed the expectations of customers, “ he shares. “The exterior design has sharper headlights; a modern mesh grille; and sportier wheels. The interior features a touchscreen display for added convenience and operability.” Those improvements, however notable, are only skin deep. “Paying attention to the smallest details, we’ve made it so that you can enter the driver seat with ease,” he shares. “The response of the vehicle is faithful and true to the driver’s intentions according to the steering input. Launch from a standstill is swift. During lane changes, acceleration is stress-free and there is a natural movement to the ES. Turning the steering wheel allows for confident driving.”

And then there is the enhanced comfort level. “Even on rough roads, the body absorbs road inputs and allows passengers to experience refined ride comfort,” he adds. “You will feel how sprung weight moves on an undulating road and how quickly it will be brought back into control.”

The aim was to develop a vehicle that offers natural, stress-free driving according to driver intent.  Aoki-san would like customers to experience the same kind of satisfaction that comes from slipping on a finely tailored suit through the further enhanced refinement of the Lexus ES, with its modernized refinement and elegance.

Lexus ES Milestones

When Lexus was launched in the United States in September 1989, the brand offered a two-car launch line-up, including the ES 250 as an entry-level luxury saloon. The Lexus ES has been in constant production ever since, evolving through seven generations while always remaining true to its front-engine, front-wheel-drive roots. The smaller Lexus ES 250 was designed for the luxury car-buyer looking for a comfortable executive saloon with European character and nimble handling. Its close resemblance to the larger LS was intended to immediately generate a Lexus family look on its market debut.

Lexus ES 300

The second-generation Lexus ES swiftly became the brand’s best-selling model and the best-seller in the executive saloon sector. In order to help maintain that position, the model was revised in 1991 to include a lighter all-aluminum 3.0-liter V6 that met new emissions standards without sacrificing performance. 

Arriving as a totally redesigned model in the summer of 1996, the third-generation ES 300 wore similar but slightly sharper styling than the outgoing car. The passenger cabin appeared to extend further backward to provide a sleeker silhouette, while the wheelbase and overall length had increased to provide legroom comparable with that of prestige European rivals from the class above.

By the time the fourth-gen ES came along in 2001, chassis improvements included revised geometry and a new steering gear design for greater feel and precision, while an Adaptive Variable Suspension was available as an option. Unique within the near-luxury segment, the system was based on that of the LS 400 and could adjust each shock absorber within 0.0025 seconds across a possible range of 16 settings to improve ride, handling, and stability. This advancement negated the need to offer ‘sport’ or ‘touring’ settings within the suspension system. Safety features were high on the new car’s agenda and included head impact protection, a three-point center rear seat belt, pre-tensioners for the front seat belts, and optional electronic traction control. During its launch it exceeded all contemporary and future crash standards.

The application of new sound absorption — rather than sound insulation — technology together with active engine mounts and two-stage exhaust silencing made the cabin a quieter place in which to travel. It offered greater safety, too, thanks to new crush zones and passenger compartment reinforcements built into the monocoque. Examples of this included A-pillars that extended further into the roof, and double-thickness B-pillars linked to substantial cross-car reinforcements for greater side impact strength.

The fifth-generation model added a tantalising new element — a 300W 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system offering a full 5.1 Dolby Digital home theatre entertainment experience optimized for music playback. On an aesthetic level, premium wood and leather accents were more generously applied throughout the interior, with all touch points designed to convey a greater sense of quality and refinement.

The sixth-generation model introduced a 2.5-liter hybrid drivetrain that offered fewer emissions than the contemporary gasoline powered subcompacts. Of course, the model’s more traditional audience would have been pleased to see the familiar 3.5-litre V6 with its six-speed, intelligent automatic transmission return, while during the course of its six-year production run, new 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder powerplants also became available, depending on the market.

In this 7th generation  — The ES story continues to unfold, and Lexus is inviting you to experience the NEW ES vehicle firsthand this month. As pointed out by its chief engineer, the ES provides a sense of satisfaction unlike no other.

Topics: Lexus ES , Tetsuya Aoki , Car , hybrid , Mark Levinson premium sound system
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