When it comes to Lexus luxury, one tends to look to the LS for the best rendition. For Lexus
performance, the now discontinued LFA was the ultimate in sports car expression.
And then we have this car - the ES 250 F Sport that slots in between. Its execution is adventurous. It’s also a lot easier on the wallet.
In the spotlight
The ES 250 mid-size executive sedan from Toyota’s luxury division was updated and launched locally last October.
The refresher exercise saw the entry of the RM345,134 F-Sport variant for the first time. It leads the pack followed by the ES in Luxury and Premium trims.
In its seventh generation, the latest ES 250, retains a sleek coupe-style silhouette, while the signature spindle grille has been tweaked and now has fewer vertical bars.
For the F Sport, it gets a special mesh grille of interlocking L elements with a dark metallic finish. As the top of the model line-up, it also has other goodies that sets it apart from the other two.
While the two lower liners run on 18-inchers, the F Sport gets blacked-out 19-inch alloy wheels and exclusive exterior fittings that include a rear spoiler.
As a luxury car, you expect the ES to present a cabin with high quality materials and have plenty of soft touchpoints. It doesn’t disappoint.
The dash, with its series of buttons - along with a small sunroof - is decidedly conservative but sees some changes to stay in trend.
It gets a new full-colour 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia display that has been oriented 112mm closer to the occupants and turned 5 degrees towards the driver.
A touchpad on the centre console is another way to access the display but it’s just quicker to let your finger walk the big screen. Ventilated front seats are certainly a big plus.
We get it that a sporty ES needs a show of red leather perforated sports seats to drive home the message. Lexus could have added red seatbelts for good measure.
But all that red - even on door panels - may be too “shouty” for some; they can still opt for full black though.
Other interior differentiators are the aluminium trim including aluminium pedals, F Sport logos and 3-spoke F Sport leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters.
The top model variant also gets two exclusive colours, one of which is this white hue.
As an F Sport, the instrument cluster borrows an LFA concept where the main dial slides sideways to reveal additional info.
The ES features three drive modes - Normal, Eco and Sport.
Lexus states the ES is a potential chauffeur-driven ride, and the cabin space is generous to bear this out.
However, boot space of 420l is average in this class and rear seats can’t fold down for more storage.
On the move
The ES 250 is propelled by a 2.5-litre petrol engine that makes 204hp and 247Nm, providing ample twist to move it along.
An 8-speed automatic sends power to the front axle.
The car sprints from 0 to 100kph in 9.1s and top speed is capped at 210kph.
Such numbers are not outright sporty. In fact, the F Sport pack serves up visual drama more than anything else.
The underlying car is still ES to the core.
Its emphasis remains being a comfortable, refined luxury cruiser with an interior that’s akin to a sanctuary from the outside world.
Running over rumble strips or cresting a bump wasn’t as jarring as the suspension irons out much of the unevenness.
The F Sport lets on a modicum of sporty performance.
Gear shifts are relatively notchy, and the slushbox has been engineered to deliver a direct and smooth feel.
In addition, the rear suspension is braced this time to increase rigidity, which helps improve ride comfort and handling.
In hard accelerations, the cabin is well insulated from noise except for the muffled exhaust notes seeping in.
For all the heavy footwork, we chalked up a fairly average fuel consumption of 11.9l/100km.
The serenity within is preserved with the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) and a pre-collision system that has been enhanced for better detection.
The other elements of LSS+ are dynamic radar cruise control with stop & go function; lane keeping assist; lane tracing assist; lane departure alert; and adaptive high-beam system.
Also standard are a security system with inclination sensor, rear cross traffic alert and parking support brake.
In the latest iteration, the ES plays up the luxury and comfort card well.
While the F Sport adds a fresh dimension to the mix and tosses in some degree of sporty performance, it sticks largely to the original ES script.
Lexus ES 250 F Sport
Engine: 2,487cc,16-valve, DOHC, 4-Cylinders, Inline Type
Maximum power: 204hp at 6,600 rpm
Maximum torque: 247Nm at 5,000 rpm
Transmission: Direct Shift 8-speed automatic
Features: Two-zone climate control, Lexus Safety System+, 10 airbags, front-wheel drive, 12.3-inch touchscreen, 8-inch colour instrument cluster with movable meter ring, power-adjustable front seats, 10-speaker Lexus Premium Audio, active cruise control, adaptive LED projector headlights, LED DRL, Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Brake Hold, wireless charger, sunroof, ventilated front seats, reverse camera with surround view, two USB Type-C ports
Suspension: McPherson Strut (front), double-wishbone (rear)
Acceleration (0-100kph): 9.1s
Top speed: 210kph
Price: (OTR without insurance, 50% sales tax exemption): RM 345,134