Mike246

Auto Express luke warm about the ES

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Auto Express, out today, did a one-page write up on the new ES and gave it a guarded OK with three and a half stars out of five.

I'm surprised and no doubt those at Lexus GB were hoping for better. I haven't driven one but have drooled over the showroom model at my local dealership.

I have no doubt that the ES will be a hit in the UK, albeit in limited numbers. Lexus are a victim of their own success - many GS owners will think twice about chopping their car in when they know it will be good for another 10+ years. On the upside I reckon that a number of BMW/Merc/Jaguar owners will be drawn to the ES, if only on looks alone.

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They won't do 5. It's not German.

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I’m not sure why you think a lot of German owners will be attracted to the ES. I’m currently driving a Mercedes E220, and before that I had a BMW 520.

 

When I was looking to replace the 520, the GS 300 Executive was on my shopping list. Lexus were offering a 24 hour test drive programme through selected dealers, so I applied to Lexus for a 24 hour drive with Lexus Twickenham. They contacted me, and said that I could come in and they would take me for a test drive. When I mentioned the 24 hour element, they told me they didn’t do that – they hadn’t got enough cars. After a complaint to Lexus, I was contacted by the Dealer Principal who said I should get in touch with him if I had any problems; unfortunately he forgot to offer the test drive. I bought the E Class.

 

Looking at the ES, I can appreciate that it’s more modern than the GS. I’m not sure the looks attract me; I’m not a great fan of the spindle grille, and it seems more pronounced on the ES than it was on the GS. Other features compared to the GS – it hasn’t got leather as standard, and the satnav screen is a lot smaller. I’m not that concerned about FWD versus RWD; I don’t think executive saloons are bought for their handling characteristics towards the limits, despite what journalists write.

 

The biggest problem I have is with the price. In most other markets, the ES was traditionally positioned well below the GS, and was seen as a competitor in the next segment down. Reviews of the new ES in Australia compare it with the Mondeo and the Mazda 6, whereas in the UK it seems to be regarded and positioned (by Lexus) as a full replacement for the GS. While it may compete roughly in terms of list price, the discounts and support offered by the Germans are around twice the level of those on the ES, so that’s an extra price hurdle of around £3K - £4K.

 

So I’m looking at the ES, as I want to move away from diesel, but for the reasons above I’d find it hard to justify.

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5 hours ago, Mike246 said:

Auto Express, out today, did a one-page write up on the new ES and gave it a guarded OK with three and a half stars out of five.

I'm surprised and no doubt those at Lexus GB were hoping for better. I haven't driven one but have drooled over the showroom model at my local dealership.

I have no doubt that the ES will be a hit in the UK, albeit in limited numbers. Lexus are a victim of their own success - many GS owners will think twice about chopping their car in when they know it will be good for another 10+ years. On the upside I reckon that a number of BMW/Merc/Jaguar owners will be drawn to the ES, if only on looks alone.

I shouldn't worry about the in-house VAG magazine, they have to keep their principal advertisers happy, and their biddable readership. 

I read that Lexus are looking to sell a meagre 700 ES in its first year in the UK. Not a massive target. Enlightened folk like us (!) will buy the right Lexus for us, the problem is for greater sales amongst the Audi/Mercedes/BMW set is getting the - generalising here - image obsessed user-chooser company-car driver to realise it's not all about office car park Top Trumps and what Jeremy Clarkson thinks (or whoever it is people follow now). If only you could say to them: "drive the thing, and imagine it's 200 miles to go to home, its a wet Wednesday evening, brake lights are stacked for 800 yards ahead. Hmm, that understeer-oversteer balance doesn't seem quite so important now, does it? " [Channelling Alan Partridge there]. Some hope. 

Anyway, just so long as Lexus sell enough to keep it in the UK market, so I consider one in five years time... 😁

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5 hours ago, Mike246 said:

I'm surprised

Why?

Lexus have had lukewarm reviews from the motoring press for ever. But we know better don't we?

31 minutes ago, gdh300 said:

"drive the thing, and imagine it's 200 miles to go to home, its a wet Wednesday evening, brake lights are stacked for 800 yards ahead. Hmm, that understeer-oversteer balance doesn't seem quite do important now, does it? "

In a nutshell.

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Dippo,

I find myself agreeing with some of what you have written. Certainly if you wanted a 24-hour test-drive you could have taken yourself off to another dealership - certainly Guildford, Edgware Road and Hatfield are very obliging as I have always found.

I first saw the 2019 ES in a Florida showroom. Our build and options are not quite the same in the US - their base model has leather as standard. The earlier ES is far more commonplace in Florida and competes with upper-middle domestic models such as the Mazda 6 but is in a different league to our Mondeo. Rear legroom and boot space are less than the outgoing GS (I have a Series 4 GS250). The spindle grill is a bit 'in your face' across the models but maybe we'll all get used to it.

Certainly the standard 8" screen is underwhelming for an upmarket Lexus and in the US one must take the Navigation Package which is an option across their range of 3 models to get the 12.3".

You say that Lexus plan to sell 700 in the first year. This is 14 per week across the dealerships. I cannot believe that they would go to the expense of launch, marketing and approvals for such a meagre number.

At the end of the day their sales will be reflected by the post-discount selling price and the PCP repayments. I have never done a PCP but the repayments are certainly lower for cars that are predicted to have a good 3-year residual value.

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21 hours ago, Mike246 said:

You say that Lexus plan to sell 700 in the first year. This is 14 per week across the dealerships. I cannot believe that they would go to the expense of launch, marketing and approvals for such a meagre number

I know, I did do a double take on that.

Unless of course the HJ journalist got the wrong end of the stick, but then he does go on to say "...next year, with a bit of luck, that figure might reach 1000...", which adds credence. 

In the UK, I imagine even the least popular variant of the Audi A6 sells 700 units every month! 

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They're always lukewarm about anything Lexus.

Fact of the matter is though that Ive already seen 2 ES300h's on the road and they look absolutely stunning. Thats more than the number of GS' ive seen in  6 months!

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On 1/16/2019 at 4:16 PM, Mike246 said:

I have no doubt that the ES will be a hit in the UK, albeit in limited numbers.

On the upside I reckon that a number of BMW/Merc/Jaguar owners will be drawn to the ES, if only on looks alone.

I am a bit confused, so will it be hit or will it sell in limited numbers - as that is kind of exact opposite from one another....

Lexus "looks" has always been sensitive topic (I like it), but it is more about the car then just a looks - as it stands one can enjoy driving BMW/Merc/Jaguar from pure driving perspective, large choice of the engines, RWD etc. ES only gives one option and that is FWD slug 300h... why not go with say Kia Optima... Honestly, FWD slug does not stand a chance in Premium car segment where driving dynamics is important part.

In US they can get away with that, because Lexus is staple brand and volumes are high (and ES is relatively cheap). In Europe it is niche brand and really needs to try harder, Lexus needs to be whole segment above BMW/MB etc. to sell for the same price in EU. Offering Premium car with poor drivetrain and with only FWD and aiming at BWM 5/MB CLS segment they literally have no chances to sell anything...

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8 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

I am a bit confused, so will it be hit or will it sell in limited numbers - as that is kind of exact opposite from one another....

That is nonsensical; I just blanked it out as a bit of journalistic filler!

Are you confident in your statement that "...in Premium car segment where driving dynamics is important part..."? You aren't surely suggesting that everyone driving the 'usual suspects' (A6, 5-series, E-Class) wants to feel their cars adhesion on the limit, lift-off oversteer, every ripple of the tarmac, every crashing expansion joint and pot-hole, every single minute they are behind the wheel? How many of that unholy trinity you see pounding the motorways are anything other than a fleet managers choice anyway?

Lexus should ashamedly make a home for people who value comfort, quality and refinement above ultimate driving dynamics. Even if that means dropping the F-Sport from most of their line-up. People still buy Volvos after all. 

Discuss.

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I have never suggested people want it every single minute, the simple fact is Lexus is underdog - to really make splash in premium segment sales they need to sell LS for the money of BMW 5 Series, only then people going to appreciate extra value they getting for same money.

ES is step down from GS in any measurable way, even ignoring fact it has wrong driving wheels... yet it goes against the half class above itself. Overall, I don't think ES is bad car - for maybe Toyota Camry money, but it has no chances when paired against BMW 5... not even remote ones.. nothing. Not only it doesn't have brand status in Europe, but it effectively is not as good value for money. Final nail in the coffin - in this segment most sales are leases of some sort, to be able to get Lexus on the lease you first of all need leasing company to make this option available for you. This means something like BMW 530e has a lot of interest and there are of the shelf deals available, if one wants Lexus ES they will be paying premium for "unusual option". I think they goal of selling 700 cars a year is realistic... but that is how much BMW sells per week.

If they were about to save money by axing GS, they just could leave it at that.. introducing this half baked ES is like rubbing salt into the wound.

Volvo makes some seriously interesting and good cars nowadays... and they plug-in hybrid will leave ES300h slug in the dust.

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Being a global brand with relatively little productioncapacity it is likely that Lexus annual prognosis for the UK is around 700 cars... ( no idea of exact numbers did not do research ).

By no means they will be able to produce 700 a week. The contribution of the UK market is very small indeed.

I do think the ES will be a rare sight in Europe. It looks too different than main stream motors and drivetrain options are not available.

It can be a fantastic car for people that fall for it though.

Anyway all not too important as we are on the brink of electrification. Give it another 5 years and the majority of companycars could well be EV. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

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On 1/16/2019 at 8:13 PM, Dippo said:

I’m not sure why you think a lot of German owners will be attracted to the ES. I’m currently driving a Mercedes E220, and before that I had a BMW 520.

 

When I was looking to replace the 520, the GS 300 Executive was on my shopping list. Lexus were offering a 24 hour test drive programme through selected dealers, so I applied to Lexus for a 24 hour drive with Lexus Twickenham. They contacted me, and said that I could come in and they would take me for a test drive. When I mentioned the 24 hour element, they told me they didn’t do that – they hadn’t got enough cars. After a complaint to Lexus, I was contacted by the Dealer Principal who said I should get in touch with him if I had any problems; unfortunately he forgot to offer the test drive. I bought the E Class.

 

Looking at the ES, I can appreciate that it’s more modern than the GS. I’m not sure the looks attract me; I’m not a great fan of the spindle grille, and it seems more pronounced on the ES than it was on the GS. Other features compared to the GS – it hasn’t got leather as standard, and the satnav screen is a lot smaller. I’m not that concerned about FWD versus RWD; I don’t think executive saloons are bought for their handling characteristics towards the limits, despite what journalists write.

 

The biggest problem I have is with the price. In most other markets, the ES was traditionally positioned well below the GS, and was seen as a competitor in the next segment down. Reviews of the new ES in Australia compare it with the Mondeo and the Mazda 6, whereas in the UK it seems to be regarded and positioned (by Lexus) as a full replacement for the GS. While it may compete roughly in terms of list price, the discounts and support offered by the Germans are around twice the level of those on the ES, so that’s an extra price hurdle of around £3K - £4K.

 

So I’m looking at the ES, as I want to move away from diesel, but for the reasons above I’d find it hard to justify.

I left German cars for 2 reasons. 

1. 2014 mini bought new. So many problems in 6 months of Ownership (acc spotting invisible head on collisions and doing emergency braking on motorway at 70.Self parking opting out part way through a manoeuvre .Steering failure at 12000 miles and no parts in the UK. 

Car damaged by recovery and it took a month to resolve. BMW couldn't find fault with the acc as no code recorded so car remained a potential hazard.  Sold for a Mercedes C220. 

2. 2 cars later Mercedes E250 cabriolet decided to go into limp mode during an overtake at 3pm in the afternoon. No warning lights. Got it home and rang Mercedes Rescue . No warning lights = not urgent, can't attend. Contact your dealer. Called dealer and explained car in limp mode. Advised they couldn't see it for 10 days....

Took car for a short drive. Hurrah warning lights on. Called Mercedes Rescue at 3.45pm and promised technician would call within 20 minutes. After several further calls they rang at 8pm to say technician not available until tomorrow so would recover car to dealer and arrange loan car. Recovery arrived about 9.30. 

Then had call from europcar to say a car would be sent from Birmingham Airport a good hour plus trip. It is now gone 10 so I want to go to bed. Arranged for a car to be collected locally in morning so I can go to my work appointments. 

Following day dealer rings to say camshaft sensor has failed. A few minutes work to fix. Then the rub. It is the most popular engine they use, but there isn't a part in the UK. Worse still there isn't one in Europe..... 

Car off the road for over a week until they found one in Carlisle at a garage outside the dealer network and got it couriered down. 

That was when I bought my first Lexus 

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I wasn't questioning the reliability of Lexus - I worked for a Toyota importer for 4 years back in the days when Lexus didn't exist. What I questioned was whether the ES was a true competitor of the 5 Series, E Class, and A6 in terms of size, specification, performance, option availability and price. I'm yet to be convinced. 

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I was really responding to your comment about the support and discount from the Germany brands. To me reliability is number 1.

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It is not like reasonable performance is mutually exclusive from reliability. I think just clarify same thing - reliability of Lexus not even questionable and further more reliability is important for me as well. However, that doesn't justify making boring and slow cars. For me there is overall minimum of how modern luxury car has to perform and if it doesn't then it could be most reliable car in the world it does not really matter. I think, overall car has to be reliable, but it has to perform decently and it has to look decent and it should have decent fuel economy - it needs to be balanced. ES300h is not balanced...

That said BMW and MB might not be as reliable as Lexus, but they are reliable enough and for Executive cars they make more interesting cars, at least one can specify car to be interesting. On Lexus ES you can't - there is simply not an option, you take slow ES300h or slow and boring ES300h. Lexus failed to compete germans with GS which was arguably better, now they introduced worse car and they still planning to compete same germans - does not make any sense.

 

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2 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

That said BMW and MB might not be as reliable as Lexus, but they are reliable enough and for Executive cars

You mean, reliable enough to be under three years old on a company fleet? Implying not somewhere to sink your heard earned after that for the long term?

I still didn't get how you can dismiss 'slow' cars as boring. Do you not enjoy driving? What is your minimum horsepower requirement to make a car 'interesting?

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It's a shame that virtually all car reviewers, feel the need to compare every new executive saloon, to the equivalent German brands.

Personally I take little notice (if any) of what they have to say.

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I not always agree with car reviews, but I would be surprised if they would have had overly positive or raving reviews about ES - it is just noncompetitive offering, "a bad choice"...

@gdh300 - I think it would be more important to speak about weight/power ration, then just HP.. that said ES300h is one heavy car and generally Lexus tends to be on heavier side. Secondly, the engine design in itself is important V6 and L6 will be smooth, V8 will naturally be more "interesting" to drive - take for example original LS400 and 1UZ. 280hp doesn't sound like much, but it being 4L V8 makes car combo enjoyable and special. There is no chance ever for L4 to match it, especially lazy one like in 300h... either it is under-powered or it is boosted to the level where is outright antisocial.

Now all that sounds like I am avoiding the answer, but generally - I do not care how many HP car has or how long it takes 0-60, these are just measures for comparative reasons. Overall, I would say car has to be relevant in the class and more expensive car should generally be faster then cheaper one. My expectation would be for ES300h to do 0-60 in 6.0-6.5s... if it does that with 120hp or 260hp, I am fine with either. But in the end of the day it is FWD.. which is just outright not acceptable. Straight away can be scrapped as far as I am concerned - not an interesting car and not worth to care about. FWD is cost saving thing - something alien to luxury car. 

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15 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

But in the end of the day it is FWD.. which is just outright not acceptable. Straight away can be scrapped as far as I am concerned - not an interesting car and not worth to care about. FWD is cost saving thing - something alien to luxury car. 

I wouldn't want a 600hp Aston Martin with FWD, granted. But I think your being a unfair on the ES with a modest 200hp, FWD (nowadays) is more than capable of handling that.

And away from the willy-waving of the MSports, AMGs etc,, 200hp is enough for a luxury car which isn't built to be ragged like a Type-R. 

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I know it’s not what the new ES is all about, but almost 9 seconds to 60? The traffic light GP has never really interested me, but that’s diesel Fiesta territory...

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It's faster than GS 300h, so it is around 8-8,5 seconds.

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Having kicked-off this thread I have viewed the subsequent posts but felt unenthusiastic about contributing to this bunfight. A Lexus is just a Toyota in a smart suit but nothing wrong with that  - I've had 5 of them including my 20-year old GS and they've never gone wrong.

'Almost 9 seconds to 60' Where does that come from? In the US they market the 350 (V6 which is 6.6 to 60) and the 300h (same 2.5 hybrid setup as ours) which is quoted in their brochure as 8.1 to 60. The 2.5 non-hybrid without the weight of the Battery and electric motor should come in nearer 7.5 to 60.

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The UK brochure quotes a 0-100 kph time of 8.9 seconds.

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As GS 300h is given for 0-100 kph in 9,2 seconds and ES 300h is 8,9, ES is faster than "old" GS , and expect to have a real 0-60 mph at 8,2 seconds (more or less).

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