The new Lexus ES luxury sedan.
The new Lexus ES luxury sedan. Paul Bradshaw

Lexus ES sedan makes first-class comeback

GETTING into the new Lexus ES is like being in the pointy end of the plane.

And that's just what Lexus wants from its large sedan. It's luxurious, uber quiet and spacious - just what you'd expect with a first-class ticket.

Prices start from $63,000 for the entry-level hybrid and tops at $74,000 for the V6-powered Sports Luxury.

And not even options can pump up the price. Lexus only has one option pack on the base model 300h - a $3000 safety addition which includes radar cruise control and Pre-Collision Safety System (which can help avoid an accident by applying additional braking pressure if an obstacle ahead is detected).

Consistent with what we have seen previously from Lexus, the ES is packed with kit.

Among the standard features are satellite navigation, reversing camera, eight-head parking sonar, blind spot monitor, sunroof, 10 airbags, eight-speaker Lexus premium audio, smart entry with smart start, dual zone climate control, digital radio, Lexus Remote Touch, Drive Mode Select and leather accented interior.

This is the first time we have seen a new ES in showrooms in seven years after it was discontinued in right-hand drive during 2006.

Lexus Australia has been actively lobbying to have it back after being flooded by requests from loyal ES drivers.

In Melbourne for the launch this week, Lexus International executive vice president Mark Templin made a frank admission about the decision to produce the large sedan in left-hand drive only: "We screwed up".

After our experience in the new large sedan this week, the ES should find favour with a wide audience. It's expected to be skewed toward a mature audience, seeking luxury, space, hushed ride and strong specification, but families could also appreciate the monumental one-metre rear legroom.

Lexus ES.
Details: Four-door large luxury sedan.
Engines: 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain delivering 151kW @ 5700rpm and peak torque of 213Nm @ 4500rpm; 3.5-litre quad-cam V6 developing 204kW @ 6200rpm and 346Nm 4700rpm.
Transmissions: Continuously variable automatic (hybrid) and six-speed automatic (petrol). 
Consumption: 5.5 litres/100km (combined average, hybrid); 9.5L/100km (petrol).
CO2: 130g/km (hybrid); 224g/km (petrol).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 8.5 seconds (hybrid); 7.4 seconds (petrol).
Bottom line: ES 300h - Luxury $63,000, Sports Luxury $72,000. ES 350 - Luxury $65,000, Sports Luxury $74,000.

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