The 2007 Lexus ES 350 lands in dealerships in May, packing an impressive array of technology for a near-luxury car.
Even the motor mounts, a common off-the-shelf item for most automakers, are high-tech. The mounts have electronic solenoids that reduce vibration when the engine is started. The ES 350 was unveiled Wednesday morning at the Chicago Auto Show.
The sedan is part of Lexus' two-model strategy in the $30,000-to-$40,000 segment.
Last fall Lexus launched the rear-wheel-drive IS 250 and IS 350 performance sedans to compete with the BMW 3 series, Cadillac CTS, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C class.
The front-wheel-drive ES 350, which replaces the ES 330, is a softer, smoother, quieter sedan aimed at an older crowd. Though the car is based on the underpinnings of the Toyota Avalon, the ES 350's styling has a family resemblance to other Lexus sedans. The powertrain, interior and suspension tuning are unique to the ES 350.
In explaining how the ES has changed over the 15 years since the model was introduced, Lexus Group Vice President Bob Carter said the ES 350 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph faster than the 1990 LS 400. The LS 400 was Lexus' original V-8-powered flagship. Carter, who spoke at a press event here, also said the ES is quieter and has nearly the same interior room as the old LS 400.
The ES 350 was unveiled last week at the Chicago Auto Show.
Some of the ES 350's technical highlights:
Optional equipment includes several items that are unusual on near-luxury sedans. Available are a three-panel glass roof, radar-based adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a parking-assist system that warns the driver when the car gets too close to an object.
The passenger's airbag is a new twin-chamber design that cradles the face and reduces airbag-inflicted injuries, such as scuffing and bruising.
The wood trim on the instrument panel and the console comes from Yamaha and uses a new process that is expected to keep it shiny longer.