The 2022 Lexus ES will gain a new powertrain option in Australia, but it’s not the one you might think.
While North American buyers continue to have the forbidden option of a naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6, Lexus Australia is adding a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder.
It produces 152kW of power and 243Nm of torque and is mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.
The arrival of the ES250 in August 2021 – coinciding with a facelift – coincides with the introduction of the same engine in North America, though there it’ll use all-wheel drive.
Australian-market ES250 models will be front-wheel drive.
The ES250 and ES300h will be available in Luxury and F Sport trims, both available with Enhancement Packs.
Only the ES300h will be available in flagship Sports Luxury guise.
Pricing and specifications have yet to be released for the updated range, which will be the first facelift for this generation since its launch in 2018.
Aesthetic changes include the adoption of square bezels in the headlights and the ‘spindle’ grille incorporating an L-shaped mesh pattern.
There are also new 17- and 18-inch wheel designs, as well as gloss-black 19-inch wheels on the F Sport trim.
The 12.3-inch infotainment screen now features a touch display and has been moved forward 100mm closer to the driver and passenger.
The autonomous emergency braking system now includes daytime cyclist detection and junction assist, while its camera and radar can now also detect pedestrians in low-light conditions.
There’s also a new emergency steering assist feature, while the adaptive cruise control and lane-tracing assist have also received some improvements.
Regular ES models include a reworked rear suspension with improved torsional and lateral rigidity, whereas the F Sport trim includes an updated adaptive variable suspension with a wider range of damping force.
Lexus has also reworked the brake pedal configuration for the hybrid-electric system to improve controllability.
Depending on the trim level, the ES features a reworked BladeScan automatic high-beam system that uses a spinning blade mirror to shield portions of the road.
There are also new Hazel and Mauve interior colourways for Luxury and Sports Luxury models.
Sports Luxury models offer Walnut and Bamboo interior trim options.
Lexus Australia says bringing the ES250 here should yield some incremental growth for the ES line.
Sales were up 4.5 per cent last year, despite Australians’ growing antipathy towards sedans.
These variants are typically sold only in Asian markets.
The very first generation of Lexus ES, not sold here, also bore the ES250 badge. However, it used a 2.5-litre V6 engine.