The ES is also Lexus' best selling sedan model. In its seventh generation now, the ES now features more emotive styling, interior space and a slew of smart driving technologies while maintaining a high degree of posh to take on European competitors.
Two variants are available in Malaysia of which the top-of-the-line ES 250 Luxury comes with an on-the-road without insurance price RM332,888. The ES 250 Luxury counts the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Volvo S90 among its rivals.
With a long-stretched low-slung coupe-like bodystyle with four doors, the ES 250 Luxury exudes a more appealing profile when set against mid-sized luxury sedans that still cling on to the traditional three-box design.
Wheelbase for this new generation is longer by 50mm which provides for more interior space while at the same time resulted in shorter front and rear overhangs for sportier proportions.
The instantly recognisible identity of Lexus cars - the spindle grille - has been given more prominence and features satin vertical slats for added level of assertiveness and presence.
Combined with the slim three-beam LED headlights with arrowhead LED daytime running lights and low bonnet, the ES 250 Luxury has a front that stands out even for non-motoring persons.
At the rear, wraparound 3D full LED lights with L-shaped elements and a long chrome strip completes the classy appearance.
The dashboard look sophisticated with its driver-centric sway along with the 12.3-inch centre display and 7-inch full digital Optitron meter.
The multi-function steering wheel, meanwhile, is leather wrapped and gets wood inserts as clear indication towards an upmarket intention.
The ES 250 Luxury also gets semi-aniline leather seats, soft touch materials on the dashboard and the usual touchpoints along with black Shimamoku wood and metallic trimming to crank up the lux factor.
Compared with leather seats in most European rivals', the ES 250 Luxury's are arguably the most comfortable which gave the feel of sitting on an expensive sofa.
Driver's seat comes with 10-way power adjustment which includes extendable cushion length to give better thigh support.
Interestingly, the rear seats are equipped with power-adjustable back rests with 8 degree of recline, a feature is usually seen in bigger and more expensive luxury sedans.
Although the low roofline profile may eat into headroom, the ES 250 Luxury is not claustrophobic as there is still enough space between the occupants' head and the ceiling liner.
Other high-end features include a 10-speaker Pioneer sound system, heads-up display which is the largest if its class, infotainment system with touchpad control, three-zone climate control, blind sport warning, panoramic all-round view camera system, satelite navigation and Qi wireless smartphone charging.
Powering the ES 250 Luxury is a 2.5-litre non-turbocharged 4-cylinder block which delivers 204hp and 247Nm of torque mated to an 8-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission.
Lexus says the engine, which employs a series of advanced technologies such as variable capacity oil pump and valve timing by electric motor, is among the best in the world for thermal efficiency of its class, promising lower fuel consumption and more reponsiveness.
Being non-turbo, power delivery is immediate and silky smooth with very little engine noise or exhaust roar intrusion into the cabin. Even at high speeds, the interior remains whisper quiet as good aerodynamics, acoustic glass and noise insulation materials work nicely to keep unwanted sounds muffled.
Gear shifting is seamless and the ES 250 Luxury does the 0-100kph run in 9.1 seconds with a top speed of 210kph.
While the suspension is supple and easily soaks up bumps from potholes without transferring the shocks to the passengers, it is still firm enough to keep body roll in check during fast cornering. Steering is also more precise and accurate with the electric steering motor being placed at the rack instead of the steering column in the previous generation ES.
The Drive Mode Select controller consisting of Normal, Eco and Sport is located just above the instrument cluster, giving the driver a good line-of-sight on the road while choosing his preferred drive mode.
With semi-autonomous driving features becoming common in luxury cars, the ES 250 Luxury gets the latest Lexus Safety System+ which includes radar-based Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Lane Tracing and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go function.
In addition, the ES 250 Luxury also gets the Active Cornering Assist that reduces understeer during hard cornering by applying braking force on the inside wheels to get the car back into its driving line.
Offered with an array of smart driving features in a refined and elegant package, the ES 250 Luxury makes a compelling case against established continental rivals. Its warranty of five years with unlimited mileage should be enough to present owners with peace-of-mind and consider the switch over.
Lexus ES 250 Luxury
Engine: 2,487cc, 4-cylinder in-line, 16 valves, VVT-iE (intake), VVTi (exhaust)
Maximum power: 204hp at 6,600rpm
Maximum torque: 247Nm at 5,500rpm
Transmission: Direct Shift 8-speed automatic
Features: Ten airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, 18-inch wheels, Lexus Safety System+ with front Pre-Collision System, Lane Tracing Assist with Steering Control, Vehicle Stability Control System with Traction Control and Hill-Start Assist Control, Panoramic View Monitor with Side Clearance View, Cornering View and See-through View, Blind Spot Monitor, 12.3-inch display, sat-nav, Qi wireless smartphone charging, Heads Up Display, 10-way power adjustment driver seat, remote TouchPad Controller, semi-aniline upholstery, and Pioneer 10-speaker system
Acceleration (0-100kph): 9.1 seconds
Top speed: 210kph
Price (on-the-road without insurance): RM332,888