New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Lexus gives its all in new ES

2013-11-13 07:19


LEXUS LAYOVER: Everything's coming up roses for Lexus in SA. Vehicle sales are growing and you can bet the arrival of this car, the ES 250, will boost them further. The village is Greyton in the Western Cape. Image: LES STEPHENSON


Lexus will debut its LF-NX compact crossover concept at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show.

Lexus has learned to box clever with its model range over the past decade or so. The company has a sales technique to which other automakers, particularly those in Germany, do not subscribe: it’s even coined a phrase for it and made much of it at the launch of its ES models in South Africa.

"More is more."

The phrase is also all over Lexus’ advertising and was uttered repeatedly during the launch presentation, though heard the first time it was easy to understand. The Lexus ES – in petrol and petrol/battery hybrid formats – could be called the entry-level Lexus, though of course there’s no such thing as an entry-level Lexus any more than there’s an entry-level Rolls-Royce.


But back to "more is more"... Mercedes and BMW – the latter particularly – tend to offer an "entry level" car that few people actually buy. The Range Rover Sport whose launch Wheels24 covered a week or so earlier, does it too: offers extra specifications or upgrades to existing ones.

Lexus ES image gallery

The list on the Rangey totalled more than R96 000! Additions to the basic Mercs and Beemers can easily run to more than that – it all depends on how deep is your pocket and keen is your desire for the possibly unnecessary extras.

Lexus, with this ES, doesn’t give the buyer any choices, it gives him/her pretty much everything you could want on a car, from leather upholstery in ivory or black through a choice of drive modes from comfort to sport, big-screen satnav, superb finishes, a six-speed auto 'box and a sub-10sec launch to 100km/h.

Fuel consumption is listed as eight/100 but we got closer to 10; top speed is 200km/h+ though why anybody should want to go that fast is beyond us. And really, isn’t bragging about about top speeds really rather 1970’s? Even schoolboyish?

The only thing I missed was a pair of shift paddles behind the steering-wheel; I’ve grown to quite like that innovation. Whatever, the auto shifter will do the same job should you fancy trying the ES 250’s excellent road-holding on a mountain pass – something on which the Western Cape has pretty much the monopoly.

You can, after all, do five before lunch... and you don’t have to dodge potholes.


So, what are all these ‘extras’ for which you don’t have to pay, er, more? Lexus kindly supplied a list, I just have to type it: moon roof with tilt 'n slide, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, 17” alloy rims (both models have 215/55 R17 V-rated tyres which, Lexus insists, are in plentiful supply), parking assistance with guide lines, reversing camera, rear LED lights/fog lights, embossed leather upholstery, power adjustment for the front seats and lumbar support adjustment, smart entry and push-button start, multi-function steering-wheel, power external mirrors with auto-retract and blind-spot warning each side, 20cm info display for a multitude of functions that include phone and satnav, cruise control, three drive modes (plus full electric on the hybrid), second multi-info display in front of the driver, eight-speaker sound (pause for finger stretch)...

...then there’s power rear-window shade that if in place, retracts if you select reverse, rear aircon, tyre-pressure monitors, vehicle stability and traction control, 10 air bags, anti-lock brakes with the usual emergency pressue reserve and possibly the most front AND rear legroom of any midsized executive sedan.

Lexus explains that the ES, while not as overtly powerful and sporty as the IS 350 launched earlier in 2013 compensates with cabin space closer to that of the much bigger GS.

But the car is no slouch: the 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, quad-valve, DOHC, dual VVT-i petrol engine in the ES 250 is capable of 135kW at 6000rpm and 235Nm at 4100. The petrol/electric 300h has a 2.5-litre single VVT-i petrol engine (118kW at 5700rpm, 213Nm at 4500) and a 105kW electric motor fed by a 650V nickel-metal hydride battery, for a combined output of 151kW.

That makes the car good for 8.5sec to 100km/h but, more importantly, 5.5 litres/100km.


What’s this 'total package' pair of cars going to cost? That would be R435 900 for the petrol model and R515 000 for the hybrid which, Lexus says, “puts it in the price bracket of a small German sedan but offers the interior space of an upper luxury limousine. This is what makes ES unique in the market”.

It’s also described as “filling the gap of an accessible sedan focused on comfort and luxury with a substantial price advantage over all its competitors”. Overall, the ES is seven percent larger than the IS models, being wider and longer with the extra length (and a flat floor) contributing to the extreme passenger space.

The ride quality is top-drawer and very quiet, gearshifts almost undetectable, but Lexus has built in a rather nice exhaust note should you decide to play with the cars’ performance possibilities.

Lexus also points out that depreciation on the ES, given that all its 'extras' are in fact 'standard', is linear. Competitors’ products, it explains, do not hold the value of the extra items added from the choices menu – the reflected book value will be on the base model, not on the perhaps R100 000 of option padding added to the base purchase price.

For more about the Lexus ES and other models, check their website.
Read more on:    lexus  |  cape town  |  new models

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