I had a day with a ES FSport Takumi pack yesterday whilst my IS was in having work done. Here are my thoughts, compared to my IS FSport Premier Pack MY17.
Ride improved (19"s with AVS) compared to my IS (18"s with AVS) very smooth, noticeably so despite bigger wheels.
NVH improvement too, road noise and tyre roar another step lower (was running Bridgestone tyres) and wind noise not really an issue, though there was some from the sunroof, which shutting the blind helped with.
Braking feel is better, much more progressive, though can snatch a bit still.
Seats are even more comfortable than those in my IS, supportive and pillowy soft. Amazing amount of leg room front and back, even with the front seats set right back.
Despite being larger, it seemed easier to place on the road and to manoeuvre, which I put down to the design. In the IS you sit quite close to the centerline of the cabin and there is quite a wide door trim, then the outside of the door curves out and then the wheel wells sit out again. In the ES this is much less, so the wheels sit where you expect them to be based on what you can see and perceive out of the cabin.
FSport dial stays in the position you select, doesn't reset every time you turn off! One of a number of things I wish my IS did.
Can see actual tyre pressures! Another one I wish my IS did.
ECO mode auto glide control makes progress and economy easy.
Proper indicators and wiper stalks that physically move and return, rather than the one-touch ones on the IS.
Cruise control buttons on the steering wheel now rather than the odd stalk at the 4pm position on the IS.
HUD - weird, my first one I've used, but pretty good and found more and more things it showed up, like volume adjustment on radio, track listing on stereo etc. Easy to read and not too distracting . Though it shows the RPM meter which seems a bit of a waste, not sure if that can be changed.
Kick sensor for the boot opening worked fine, you didn't have to stand and waggle dance to get it to work!
Auto handbrake works well and is a good step forward from the foot brake in the IS.
Climate auto options are good, including switching between outside/inside air, auto heated seats and even turning off the passenger temp control when no one in the seat.
Parking sensors come on automatically and you can mute them with the OK button on the steering wheel if you get a bit close to the car in front in queue or at a McDonald drive through! Much easier than turning them off and forgetting in the IS.
Performance is a bit anodyne. It picks up speed fine, but it is a complete non event. In the IS on full throttle in sport mode, you get the sensation of a mild push in the lower back, in the ES, nothing. There is no "Kick-down" point in the throttle travel ,which isn't really a con I guess and no fake engine note or control either. I tried the paddles and S+ mode too, but no fun to be had at all, something I can't say about my IS. Those who say you can't tell the difference front wheel drive to rear wheel drive, I'd say you definitely can. No mistake.
Hustling the car along a B road, it is clear that is not its primary strength. Running at 70mph on the motorway or creeping through town is IMO. It is definitely a wafting car and it does that very well. Even with the AVS and sporting suspension improvements, I didn't find anything to suggest it should have an FSport badge. If it wasn't for the horrible "Wood" trim on the steering wheel in the ES and Takumi trims, I'd be going for those.
Tried the Hold button to see what it did - what a pain in the backside, turned it off again after 2 junctions. Can't see the reason why anyone would want to use it!
Equivalent specs between this ES FSport Takumi pack and my IS FSport Premier Pack, yet some glaring things missing. No ventilated seats, no leather trim (its fake leather), no Blind spot monitoring or rear traffic crossing alerting (only std on Takumi or with pack on ES, not available for some reason on the FSport even with Takumi pack). Additions were heated steering wheel, HUD, rear sun blind, card key and adaptive headlights. HUD and headlights the only things I could say I want. The extra safety equipment and real leather is unforgivable and smacks of price engineering to get it to a reasonable pricing level.
Visibility out I found a problem from my driving position, as the B pillar and seat is just at the wrong position to see out of junctions etc. Rearwards visibility is pretty poor too over C pillars. Also the door mirrors seem very small in area compared to the IS.
Rear view camera - don't know what Lexus are smoking, but I almost crashed it in the dealer car park trying to use it. For those who haven't seen it, it is now a fisheye lens and looks like it is about 0.5MP resolution from 2001. It only uses the centre portion of the lovely 12" screen too. So trying to place the car I found extremely difficult compared to the higher res wide angle one in the IS, as the corners are all rolled out in the image and the centre is all distorted. Just weird and wrong.
Despite the seats being very comfy, i did struggle to get a good position. I thought I sat quite high in the car, despite the seat being all the way down. And I couldn't get the steering wheel to come towards me far enough. Head room with the sunroof is OK, but nothing more. In the rear loads of leg room, but little head room for anyone more than 5-11.
Boot aperture for loading is no bigger or different i found to the IS and basically the boot being roughly similar volume and with no back seat drop, it is less practical overall, despite being far larger. I think they should have made it a hatch/fastback. the profile suits it, the C pillars are thick enough and the usability would have improved 100%.
Overall its a fine car, but I won't be buying one. It's no fun when you want it to be, isn't practical enough for me and doesn't move on enough (in some cases steps back) from my IS. Search continues........