Lexus takes wraps off ES 350, hybrid
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NEW YORK -- Lexus introduced the redesigned 2013 ES 350 and ES 300h hybrid sedans today, comparing the ES favorably in size, engine and equipment to the more expensive Mercedes-Benz E class.
The two vehicles will launch in August.
The redesigned ES sedan is based on the Toyota Camry's platform and uses much of its underpinnings and powertrain., But it has the same length, wheelbase and engine displacement as the Mercedes E class, said Mark Templin, Lexus Division general manager.
The ES is Lexus' top-selling car, with U.S. sales of 40,873 in 2011, down 16 percent.
Lexus said the redesigned ES has increased body rigidity and more precise handling. It will be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Its wheelbase has grown by almost 2 inches, which has increased rear legroom.
The styling of the car continues the use of Lexus' "spindle" grille and scalloped side sheet metal. The interior follows the more horizontal orientation of the center stack and console found on the GS sedan.
The ES will come with 10 standard airbags, and its Enform telematics system software can be updated wirelessly through the driver's smartphone.
The ES will be built in right-hand-drive and left-hand-drive versions, likely indicating expansion into new markets.
Lexus said the hybrid model -- a first for the ES line -- will get 40 mpg in the combined cycle. It uses the same 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder used in the Camry hybrid.
You can reach Mark Rechtin at email@example.com. -- Follow Mark on