Half-forgiven admitted fault. Containment required, it was only late that we were able to try this great Japanese. And it was worth the wait. A rival to the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes Class E, the Lexus ES is very successful in the United States, where it is manufactured in 100% thermal versions. Replacing the GS, this four-door 4.98 m long, on the other hand, is only available as a hybrid with us. Based on the Toyota group's TNGA platform, it is quite simply the luxurious and refined cousin of the most popular Camry, from which it uses the hybrid gasoline + electric drivetrain; namely, a 178 hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, assisted by a 120 hp electric motor, powered by a non-rechargeable battery. And this is where this Lexus sets itself apart from European productions, which all feature PHEV technologies. The solution adopted by Toyota-Lexus is one of the simplest, the most economical and, above all, the most reliable.
To drive, the ES is exceptionally smooth. The immense tranquility that reigns on board, thanks to the starts mainly 100% electric (except in very cold weather or when the battery is too low) and the almost imperceptible transition of energy modes, greatly contribute to the comfort of this Lexus. Because, in addition to extensive soundproofing, the very considerate damping exudes an appreciable smoothness. Add to that a very neat finish, a huge cabin, and you have an engaging large sedan. Two small caveats, however: relatively complicated ergonomics, the fault of many buttons, and an impractical trunk due to a too narrow opening.
Steering wheel in hand, the ES should not be understood like the BMW 520i, 530e (plug-in hybrid) or 520d, with which one can adopt a very lively drive. Typically US, the ES is a relaxing car. If she prefers the ride to the sprint, nothing prevents her, thanks to the 218 hp of cumulative power, from overtaking a column of heavyweights or cruiser at 180 km / h maximum (electronically limited speed), on German motorways. Then you have to deal with the now famous, but not devoid of flaws, CVT continuously variable transmission, which tends to spin during strong acceleration, and a little too light steering that does not encourage sportiness.
At a “leisurely” pace, consumption falls to a very low level, equivalent to that of its diesel counterparts, given the weight and size of the vehicle. Of the 250 km of town, roads and expressways that we traveled without dragging, the on-board computer indicated a remarkable 6 l / 100 km! Enough to consider 800 km of autonomy, despite only 50 liters of unleaded contained in the tank. On the price side, this virtuous Japanese is displayed 10,000 € below the competition, systematically equipped, it is true, with more expensive, but less versatile, plug-in hybrid technology. Finally, for even less money, but also less chic, Toyota offers a Camry with very similar benefits.
Original by its style and its mode of propulsion, this elegant ES takes care of its comfort and its roominess, and targets, above all, those who drive “cool”.
Lexus ES 300h: the technique
Lexus ES 300h Executive
Version tested: € 64,490
From 49,900 €
Average manufacturer consumption / during the test (l / 100 km) 4.6 / 6
CO2 (g) / penalty: 126/0 €
Fiscal power: 9 CV
Country of Manufacture: Japan
Hybrid 218 hp, 49900 to 65€ 490
Thermal engine: front, transverse, gasoline, 4-cyl. online, 16 soup., Atkinson cycle, inj. direct and indirect, chain distribution, stop&start, 2487 cm3, 178 hp at 5700 rpm, 221 Nm at 3600 rpm.
Electric motor: permanent magnet synchronous, 120 hp, 202 Nm, Nickel-Hydride battery, 245V.
Transmission: traction, planetary gear, CVT.
Cumulative power (hp): 218
Weight (kg): 2150
Long x wide x high (m): 4.98 × 1.87 × 1.45
Wheelbase (m): 2.87
Tank (l): 50
Max speed (km / h): 180 (limited)
0 at 100km / h (s): 8.9
Standard tires: 235/45 R 18
Test tires: Dunlop SP Sport Maxx
Elbow width AV / AR (cm): 152/148
Rear legroom (cm): 87
Chest at 5 (l): 454
Audi A6 TFSI-e, 300 hp, from 62€ 200
BMW 530e, 292 hp, from 60900 €
Mercedes E 300e, 320 hp, from 62€ 550
Toyota Camry, 218 hp, from 33100 €
Volvo S90 T8, 390 hp, from 70750 €
Also read on www.auto-moto.com: