A redesigned Lexus ES is coming for the 2019 model year and Lexus on Wednesday released the first full photo of the car and confirmed its debut at next week's 2018 Beijing auto show.
So far the design of the new ES looks to be a slightly sharper, more athletic take on the current model's themes. There are also some cues borrowed from the latest LS flagship.
The size and proportions should match the latest Toyota Camry, whose platform the new ES shares, in this case a stretched version of Toyota's TNGA modular design. Lighter and lower than the platform in the current ES, the adoption of the TNGA platform should result in better handling for the new model.
In the powertrain department, look for an ES 350 with a 301-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and 8-speed automatic. An ES 300h hybrid should also be offered, possibly with a rear axle electric motor setup similar to what Lexus is offering in the new UX compact crossover, as such a setup would mean all-wheel drive. The more likely scenario is that the car will simply use the Camry Hybrid's setup which pairs a 2.5-liter inline-4 to an e-CVT at the front axle.
The new ES is due in showrooms in the second half of the year and production for the United States should continue at Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the current ES is sourced.
Despite falling demand for sedans, the ES remains an important nameplate for Lexus. After all, it's the third most popular model after the after the RX and NX crossovers, with sales in the U.S. in 2017 totaling just over 50,000 units. In contrast, the similar-sized GS managed less than 8,000 units and thus might not be replaced once the current model's run its course.
The Beijing auto show starts April 25. To learn about some of the other vehicles set to appear, head to our dedicated hub.