An exciting car from the Japanese automaker’s stable that broke the shackles and excelled our expectations

Lexus’ new range of vehicles is on a new high altogether. The premium Japanese automaker is building cars that are fresh, exciting, and actually fun to drive. The latest present from its box of surprises is the 2019 Lexus ES350 F Sport. This car is breaking all the shackles for Lexus as a whole. The well-equipped sedan is engaging to drive, and the company’s move to work outside of its comfort zone has done wonders to this beauty. It feels nice to see some automakers still working on building magnificent machines in a segment that is dying a slow death.

  • 2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    Eight-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    302
  • Torque @ RPM:
    367
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    6.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    131 mph
  • Price:
    44135
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport Exterior

  • Spindle grille is not going anywhere
  • Split five-spoke alloys looks hot
  • Bumpers made of aluminum
  • Triple beam setup LED headlights
2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822985
Whether you like it or not, Lexus is not going to go easy on you with its flashy designs.

A competitor to BMW (at least in this sense), the fancy face will draw polarizing opinions. Up front, the automaker has slapped the trademark spindle grille with the Lexus logo on it. Unlike the silver grille on the other ES models, the ES 350 F Sport is finished in black. The front bumper is made of aluminum and includes the lightning-symbol LED headlights as well. The razor-sharp LED daytime running lights are bright enough to steal the grille’s thunder. The bumper also features grille-complementing fog lamp housings and have the same honeycomb pattern as the grille.

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822978

Unlike the gaudy front, the side is actually pretty clean. It rides on 19-inch, split five-spoke alloys that are offered with the black treatment. The wing mirrors are mounted on the doors, thus increasing visibility near the A-pillar that generally creates blind spots. The car features a sweet-looking sloping roofline, but somehow, it does not hamper with the headroom inside the cabin. Kudos to Lexus for being able to provide sufficient headroom despite the chopping. Lexus has gone easy on the chrome elements as well, and on the profile, only the window sills are finished in chrome.

The rear looks quite smart and ’in-place’ as per the segment norms. The long eye-shaped taillights extend all the way to the side of the car. The exhaust tip housing is finished in chrome and is placed on black plastic cladding. The spoiler lip on the trunk and the shark-fin antenna on the roof add to the sporty character of the car. The rear bumper, just the like the front, is also made of aluminum.

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport Interior

  • Oodles of space on offer
  • Material quality is perhaps the best in segment
  • Frankenstein bolt type controller to toggle between drive modes
  • Infotainment system is operated using a track pad
2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822952
On the inside, the 2019 Lexus ES350 F Sport is as luxurious as it can get.

There is a lot of space all around the cabin and all the materials used drip with high quality. It seems like Lexus has used every inch to maximize the space and make the cabin a comfortable place. The red leather front seats embossed with the F Sport logo on the headrests cuddle you well and are comfortable for long journeys. At the rear, there is enough space to seats three people without elbowing each other. However, headroom is a luxury here. Not that people will find it bothersome on short drives, long trips can get a little uncomfortable as your head will keep brushing the roof if at all you happen to be taller than six feet.

At 16.7 cubic feet, the cargo space of the Lexus 2019 ES350 F Sport can be compared to the segment toppers. The ES350 F Sport is 2.8 inches longer and 1.8 inches wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase has also increased by two inches, resulting in slightly better legroom inside the cabin. Coming to the quality of the materials, Lexus is in a different league. The ES350 F Sport’s steering wheel is wrapped in leather and comes with thumb contours. It is perfectly sized and all the buttons on the wheels are easily accessible by thumbs. The dashboard has red accent stitching on the dashboard and around the gear lever. The switches around the cabin are well-screwed and can handle abuse. So, if you have naughty kids in the family who cause a wreck when seated inside, this car can handle it.

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822958
Talking about the feature list and technology, the 2019 Lexus ES350 F Sport is a double-edged sword.

The 12.3-inch infotainment screen is placed above the air conditioning vents and has the best placement I have seen in a sedan. It does not follow the conventional waterfall center console design. However, it is not a touchscreen unit. The system needs to be operated via a trackpad that is placed next to the gear lever. By not providing a touchscreen, Lexus has omitted a very important and practical feature in here. Why not just provide both, if you absolutely wanted to have the trackpad? The display is crisp with high-resolution, but it does not support Android Auto. It is only Apple CarPlay compatible.

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport Drivetrain

  • 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 engine
  • 302 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque
  • Available only in front-wheel drive configuration
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the slow six-speed automatic gearbox
2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822966
The 2019 Lexus ES350 F Sport is powered by a 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated V-6 mill lifted straight from the Avalon.

It generates 302 horses and 367 pound-feet of torque, which do not seem insufficient at any point. Power is sent to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Although Lexus decided to deploy the eight-speed transmission here, swapping it with the old, dimwit six-speed gearbox, it is no match to the 10-speed gearbox found in its rear-wheel-drive siblings. The company claims a 0-to-60 mph run in 6.6 seconds, but we feel it will be much faster in real-world conditions, closing in on the six-second mark.

The automaker has been justifying the 2019 Lexus ES350 F Sport’s front-wheel-drive setup since day one, and no matter how much Lexus sugar coats this, it still cannot mask the torque steer when you push it hard in the corners. It is brushed off as another wannabe sport-sedan mainly because of its front-wheel-drive setup. Lexus has built the ES350 F Sport on Toyota’s front-drive Global Architecture - K platform that we previously saw on the new Avalon and the Camry. The platform includes laser screw welds, a 65-foot skein of structural adhesive, and toughened-up suspension mounting points. Perhaps it’s not feasible, but it would be nice if Lexus would offer an all-wheel-drive setup to make this ’not so fast’ sedan a better driver’s car.

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822976
Overall, the ES 350 F Sport handles and rides well.

The new multi-link rear suspension along with the Adaptive Variable Suspension is a nice add-on. The driver-adjustable shocks cover a wide spectrum of damping force. However, the grin on your face will slowly dissipate the moment you take it off the smooth tarmac. Even if you miss to see any small undulation on the road, the ES 350 F Sport will make sure you feel it. Things get even more unpleasant when you switch to the Sport+ mode. So, unless you are willing to turn a blind eye to this major drawback in favor of its brilliant driving dynamics, the ES 350 F-Sport should not be your first choice.

Lexus has equipped the 2019 ES F Sport a new Sport+ mode apart from the usual Eco, Normal and Sport settings. The Sport+ extracts aggressive engine, transmission, and suspension responses. While the engine and transmission responses can put a grin to your face, the suspension response dilutes the whole experience. The major reason as to why I’m stressing on the suspension part is because this car is primarily an ’executive sedan’; a car that needs to rooted to its core of being comfortable and smooth. And, with this suspension setup, Lexus has kind of lost the plot in this aspect.

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport Drivetrain And Performance
Engine naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower 302
Torque 367 pound-feet
Transmission eight-speed automatic
0-60 MPH 6.6 seconds
Top Speed 131 mph
Mileage (Combined) 26 mpg

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport Pricing

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822965

The 2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport is offered with a sticker price of $44,135. Stack the car with the optional goodies and price will go north of the $50,000 mark.

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport Competition

Audi A6

2019 Audi A6 Exterior
- image 771012
The Audi A6 is a much more renowned and respected moniker than its Lexus counterpart. The A6 is neither attenion-grabbing, nor some random vehicle you wouldn't even bother glancing at.

The 2019 Audi A6 comes with a wider and bigger grille, giving it a more angular look upfront. It slots quite well between the A5 and the A7; or rather, the A5 and A7 slot around the A6 quite well. The sedan is offered with the much-hyped LED taillights and Matrix headlights

Step inside and you will be welcomed to a fresh new cabin. The cabin looks elegant and sophisticated, and carries over its no-nosense status. If not for the ambient lighting, the cabin would have actually been a dull place to be in. The car rides on 19-inch rollers as standard and they provide great comfort and ride quality. The A6 is spacious in the front as well as the back. The only grouch is the ingress and egress for tall people at the rear. Thanks to the sloping roofline, you will certainly brush your head if you are over six-feet tall. In terms of infotainment, Audi has offered the A6 with a 10.2-inch touchscreen system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The car is loaded with creature comforts such as heated front seats, massage function, and three-zone climate control.

The Audi A6 is powered by a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that churns out 335 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque. The A6 features Audi’s Quattro Ultra system that can disconnect the rear wheels for efficiency or engage all the four for better performance. It is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 48-volt mild hybrid system finds a place under the hood. The A6 cannot run on battery alone, but the battery power will be used to power the car’s electrical and restart the engine in stop-and-go traffic. All-in-all, the Audi A6 is a well-rounded package, but will appear to be outdated and boring when compared to the competition.

Read our full review on the 2019 Audi A6.

BMW 5 Series

2017 BMW 5 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 691791
Unlike all other models in the Bavarian's lineup, the BMW 5 Series has more or less remained the same over the years.

The company’s new design philosophy has gotten a lot of flak, and in that sense, the 5 Series may have won here. But there’s no doubt that the design is getting too long in the tooth - the tapered nose, sharp creases on the profile, and the rather plain rear.

On the inside, however, it is kind of funky. When compared to the Audi A6, the 5 Series feels like disco. Even though BMW has used a lot of material and many color combinations, it still feels quite posh. The seats are quite comfortable, both at the front and the back. There is plethora of space as well. The car’s feature-list is filled to the brim, but there’s a catch. Majority of the things are available through packages, and there is no end to it. It comes with a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay. There is also the iDrive, but let’s not get into that complex technology for now. Some other features include dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, and power-adjusting seats.

The 5 Series is offered with a plethora of engine options to choose from, but we’ll talk about the one that is closest to the Audi A6 and the Lexus ES 350 F Sport. The 540i comes with a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbocharged V-6 engine that churns out 335 ponies and 332 pound-feet of torque. It is available in rear-wheel-drive, as well as all-wheel-drive configurations. Both the models zoom to 60 mph in less than five seconds. It is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. In conclusion, 2019 BMW 5 Series will leave you confused. For a car that starts at $53,500, it viciously spreads through a wide spectrum, ending with a full-fledged M5 costing you well over $120,000.

Read our full review on the BMW 5 Series.

Conclusion

2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport
- image 822980

The 2019 Lexus ES 350 F Sport is an improvement over its predecessor and other Lexus’s in terms of driving experience. But if you pit it against its primary competitors, it leaves a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, it’s good to see Lexus making an effort to make its cars known for their performance and driving dynamics and not just the luxury and opulent comfort.

  • Leave it
    • Definitely not a car for the pedal-to-the-metal folks
    • An imprecise track pad instead of a touchscreen unit
    • Looks will not please everyone

Further Reading

2019 Lexus ES - Driven Exterior
- image 782847

Read our full driven review of the 2019 Lexus ES.->art181436]

2016 Lexus ES High Resolution Exterior
- image 636687

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus ES.

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 661461

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LC.

2019 Toyota Avalon Exterior
- image 778140
Both engines mate with an eight-speed direct-shift automatic transmission

Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Avalon.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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