It was a delight to steer the new ES on the twisty back roads of suburban Nashville.
I was in complete control as I flicked the steering wheel left and right, with no second- guessing whether I was in my lane on the tight and narrow roads. The Bridgestone Turanza T005A tyres, though being comfort-oriented, did not squeal like country pigs as I drove the ES like a sport sedan.
The Lexus’ ride was composed, with little body roll, and it felt lithe and sporty.
Yes, the new ES now handles like how I drove it – a sport sedan, whilst still gliding over small road bumps and crevices like how a Lexus should.
Singapore will receive the ES250 and the petrol-electric hybrid ES300h.
The non-hybrid model has a new 2487cc 4-cylinder engine – the same capacity as the replaced motor, but with a longer stroke and narrower bore to enhance fuel efficiency.
Compared to the preceding engine, the new 4-pot motor delivers 26 horsepower more, or 207hp, and an extra 12Nm of torque, or 247Nm.
The front wheels are driven via a new 8-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission, which has two more gear ratios than the last autobox. It also runs between 250rpm and 300rpm lower at 100km/h than the old 6-speeder.
The acceleration felt tardy though, as reflected by the 0-100km/h figure of 9.1 seconds, which is the same as the previous ES250 despite the improved power and torque.
The culprit anchoring down the new car is its kerb weight of between 1600kg and 1660kg, compared with the old car’s 1585kg to 1615kg. I suspect the main guilty party is the additional sound insulation.