Facelifted Lexus ES saloon unveiled at Shanghai Motor Show

2021 Lexus ES boasts subtle styling tweaks, more safety tech and extra comfort as part of mid-life update

Lexus has unveiled a facelifted version of its Mercedes E-Class rivalling ES executive saloon at the Shanghai Motor Show. 

The hybrid-only ES has been the recipient of some slight styling changes, while the updates are said to place an even greater focus on quieter and more comfortable performance.

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At the front there’s an evolution of Lexus’s spindle grille design and new headlights, while the updated ES boasts new wheel designs ranging from 17 to 19 inches. New paint colours are available, as are interior colours and walnut inlay trim options, with different upholstery shades and combinations added for more customisation potential, too.

To boost comfort, refinement and dynamic ability Lexus has increased the rear suspension’s rigidity, which the brand claims gives a sharper response to high-speed manoeuvres. F Sport models with adaptive variable suspension also feature a new actuator and different internals to further improve these characteristics.

The hybrid’s regenerative braking system – and the shape of the brake pedal – have been tweaked for better control. Regenerative braking is possible thanks to the ES 300h’s hybrid-only powertrain. This comprises a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, a small battery and an electric motor for a total combined output of 215bhp for a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds.

In the outgoing ES the powertrain returns a best of 53.2mpg and 119g/km CO2; as yet there is no information on any efficiency changes for the new ES.

Last year the ES received new digital wing mirrors, and Lexus is equipping this new car with even more tech. The ES will adopt Lexus’s BladeScan adaptive LED headlights, which the brand says means “more accurate lighting control and wider forward illumination.”

The car will also feature Lexus’s latest Safety System+ equipment, which includes driver assistance features such as Emergency Steering Assist, Pre-Collision Safety – which now recognises pedestrians at night and cyclists in the day. Intersection turn assist will help prevent collisions by turning across oncoming traffic, too.

The updated ES range goes on sale in the UK later this year, with prices expected to rise marginally over the outgoing car to around £36,000.

Now read our review of the outgoing Lexus ES here

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