|2013 Lexus ES 300h. Click to enlarge.|
Lexus has introduced the 2013 ES 350—the sixth generation of Lexus’ luxury sedan since its introduction more than 20 years ago—and the first hybrid version of the ES, the ES 300h. Lexus had unveiled the ES 350 and 300h earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show. (Earlier post.)
Featuring the Lexus Hybrid Drive with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine (2AR-FXE), the ES 300h is expected to earn EPA fuel economy ratings of approximately 40 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 39 mpg combined (5.88, 6.03 and 6.03 L/100km, respectively).
The new, low-friction engine utilizes an advanced power management system and high compression ratio (12.5:1) to increase overall efficiency. The fuel system uses electronically controlled sequential fuel injection (SFI) with regular 87 octane unleaded gasoline. Bore and stroke are 3.54" and 3.86".
Equipped with an electric water pump, electric power steering, and an integrated hybrid electric motor/generator, this engine does not require any accessory belts. The beltless design helps improve fuel economy and overall reliability.
Engine-only power output is 156 hp (116 kW) @ 5,700 rpm, with 156 lb-ft (212 N·m) @ 4,500 rpm. The ES 300h generates 200 total system horsepower (149 kW).
The ES 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine with Dual VVT-i that delivers 268 hp (200 kW) at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb-ft (336 N·m) of peak torque at 4,700. The six-speed sequential-shift automatic Electronically Controlled Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) provides enhanced driving performance, fuel efficiency and smooth shifts. Low friction materials further improve efficiency and help with the ES 350’s EPA-fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined (11.2, 7.59 and 9.80 L/100km, respectively).
Both the ES 350 and ES 300h feature a Drive Mode selector. Normal mode provides a blend of performance and efficiency that is suited to everyday driving, while Eco mode favors fuel economy. Sport mode increases powertrain and steering responsiveness, and for the ES 300h, the IP changes from the hybrid power monitor to a tachometer. The ES 300h adds an EV mode which allows short distance drives, at reduced speed, using only the power from the hybrid battery pack.
The wheelbase of the new ES has been lengthened by 1.8 inches, while the overall length of the vehicle has grown by one inch, resulting in shorter overhangs and a more spacious interior. Suspension changes, a stiffer body and a quicker steering gear ratio deliver more precise handling in the new 2013 Lexus ES.
The front suspension employs opposite-wound coil springs to help enhance straight-line stability. Revised rear suspension geometry and improved shock absorber damping characteristics enhance ride comfort. The steering gear ratio has been reduced from 16.1:1 to 14.8:1 to help deliver a more responsive and direct steering feel. Increased body rigidity is achieved through lightweight, high tensile strength steel, added bracing and more spot welds. Airflow is smoothed beneath the vehicle, improving stability and fuel economy, and reducing drag.
Warranty. All new Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000 mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage. Hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery-control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles.