2013 Lexus ES Debuts With Hybrid Drivetrain: 2012 New York Auto Show

2013 Lexus ES Debuts With Hybrid Drivetrain: 2012 New York Auto Show

Lexus debuted its new volume-seller midsize 2013 ES350 and ES300h hybrid cars today at the New York Auto Show featuring the same re-visited styling we’ve seen on the rest of its lineup.

“The Lexus ES brought new levels of refinement, sophistication and quality to the entry luxury segment when it entered the market in 1989 and through the years it has consistently been a sales leader for us. Now, with both gas and hybrid versions, the 2013 ES promises to lead Lexus forward once again,” said Lexus group vice president and general manager Mark Templin.

The ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a trick ECT-i (Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence) six-speed automatic transmission capable of smooth shifting and optimized fuel efficiency. New low-friction engine materials also contribute to the new ES’ higher mpg rating.

More important than the gasoline-only version, the company debuted its ES300h hybrid with a highly fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four cylinder engine using Lexus Hybrid Drive. Possessing an incredible 12.5:1 compression ratio, the 2.5 liter engine features low-friction components and variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) technology. Lexus is targeting a 40 mpg combined rating for this new hybrid.

To further improve fuel efficiency, Toyota lent the new Lexus the same four driving modes as its Prius: Normal, Sport, Eco and EV. In Normal mode, the Lexus blends performance and efficiency that is suitable for daily commutes. In Sport, the powertrain increases its responsiveness for a more spirited experience. Eco mode lets the computers adjust for a more relaxed delivery that favors fuel economy. Finally, the EV mode allow for short distance drives utilizing only the hybrid battery pack.

To improve the driving experience, Lexus increased rigidity in the ES and tweaked the suspension and steering for more responsive and precise handling. Opposite-wound coil springs on the front suspension enhance straight-line stability while the rear suspension geometry works to improve shock absorber damping to enhance ride comfort. A reduction in the steering gear ratio also helps to deliver a more responsive and direct feel. Finally, despite presenting a slightly longer, roomier and more luxurious ES, the sedan loses almost 90 pounds.

Comfort and convenience features available in the new ES include ambient lighting across the cabin, eco-friendly NuLuxe seating surfaces (genuine leather is an available upgrade), a one-touch tire trunk closer, door window shades and a power rear shade. A selection of trim pieces are available for the cabin, including a Piano Black finish, Espresso Bird’s-eye Maple, and Bamboo.

No slouch in the tech department, the ES is available with a blind spot monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), which helps to detect obstacles in side blind spots. In the event of  a potential collision, an available Pre-Collision System (PCS) uses sub-millimeter wave radar to detect obstructions and prepare the vehicle for the collision. Packed with 10 airbags standard, the ES features also offers a whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) device in front seats.

Concerning multimedia and entertainment, the ES comes with the next-generation Lexus Enform system. The Lexus Enform system provides seamless connectivity with convenient apps that offer a range of services from social media and music services to restaurant and movie choices.

GALLERY: 2013 Lexus ES350