Turning up the heat on Lexus’ midsize luxury four-door

The next-generation Lexus ES brings all kinds of excellent upgrades along for the ride, including the noteworthy addition of a new F Sport model that throws in a host of speedy cues for the nameplate.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

The 2019 Lexus ES Gets Some Tasty Performance Flavor With New F Sport Model Exterior
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On the F Sport, the grille gets a new insert, replacing the slats of the base model’s intake with a unique black mesh in a jet-black finish.

Heading into the 2019 model year, Lexus revamped the ES’ exterior styling, giving it a sleeker, sharper aesthetic than the outgoing model. The changeover includes an updated pointy hourglass-shape for the grille, which still looks huge on the frontend and definitely makes the ES stand out among its European rivals. On the F Sport, the grille’s size and shape is retained, keeping in line with the aesthetic direction first laid out by the LC Coupe, but the sportier model variant adds to it with a new grille insert, replacing the slats of the base model’s intake with a unique black mesh in a jet-black finish. Complementing the insert is new dark trim surround, adding a very cool, refined vibe to the fascia.

Additional aesthetic upgrades include new slick-looking 19-inch wheels, which also take their design inspiration from the LC Coupe. Similar to the trim up front, the wheels get a dark graphite finish.

Finishing it off is a subtle trunk lid spoiler in the rear, plus an extra splash of those dark-colored trim bits. Buyers also get the option to drape theirs in exclusive paint finishes, such as shades like Ultra Sonic Blue Mica 2.0 and Ultra White, the former of which you see in the pictures here.

The 2019 Lexus ES Gets Some Tasty Performance Flavor With New F Sport Model High Resolution Interior
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The F Sport’s standout styling is extended to the interior spec as well, with an available Circuit Red color scheme and red contrast stitching.

The F Sport’s standout styling is extended to the interior spec as well, with an available Circuit Red color scheme and red contrast stitching. Ringing the cabin space is something called Hadori Aluminum trim, which was designed to look like a samurai sword with a folded metal appearance. We wholeheartedly approve.

Providing the backside coddling is a set of unique seats. Unlike most sport sedan sitters, these seats are fantastically comfortable, making for an easy experience when driving long distances. At the same time, they’ll keep you in one spot should you decide to put the hammer down - a fantastic combination indeed.

These are seriously excellent seats, and they go a long way in justifying the F Sport’s premium pricing. Grab the optional heating and ventilation features, and they’re even better.

Making the go is a standard-spec naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, the same powerplant found in the base model ES. Output in both models is rated at 302 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 267 pound-feet of torque at 4,700 rpm, which, properly applied at the front wheels, yields a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited at 131 mph.

While not exactly neck-snapping, we deem it “quick enough” for a model like this.

The 2019 Lexus ES Gets Some Tasty Performance Flavor With New F Sport Model Exterior
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The F Sport holds true to its namesake with the addition of some truly excellent handling characteristics thanks to a much beefier handling package.

Also standard is an eight-speed automatic transmission, once again carried over from the standard model. During our drive experience, we found the gearbox to be a bit lackluster on the performance front, with a small delay between cog swaps that sapped some of the fun. Meanwhile, the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifts look cool and feel good, but they’re more of a gimmick than a real performance addition.

But while the power is merely adequate and the gearbox is a bit sluggish, the F Sport holds true to its namesake with the addition of some truly excellent handling characteristics thanks to a much beefier handling package. In addition to some upgraded chassis bracing, the F Sport also comes with a fresh set of adaptive variable dampers, which not only soak up the bumps and provide a cushy ride while cruising but also tighten up and sharpen the chassis when hunting for apexes, making for a surprisingly nimble package overall. The F Sport also adds in a few extra drive modes you don’t get in the standard model, with Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom rounding out the standard Eco and Normal settings.

The 2019 Lexus ES Gets Some Tasty Performance Flavor With New F Sport Model Exterior
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For a large, FWD luxury sedan, the 2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport is remarkably engaging and surprisingly fun to drive quickly

For a large, FWD luxury sedan, the 2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport is remarkably engaging and surprisingly fun to drive quickly. Granted, the relatively low engine output and FWD platform prevents the ES from slotting in among the true-blue sports sedans of the world, but overall, the performance flavoring of the F Sport is quite tasty indeed.

Looking for more info and our complete driving impressions? Make sure to read our full Driven review of the 2019 Lexus ES

Further Reading

2019 Lexus ES - Driven Exterior
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Looking for more info and our complete driving impressions? Make sure to read our full Driven review of the 2019 Lexus ES.

2016 Lexus ES High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus ES.

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LC.

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