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Lexus ES nips-and-tucks previewed ahead of 2021 Shanghai show

Lexus will travel to the biennial Shanghai auto show to present a futuristic concept called LF-Z that previews how its range will evolve by the middle of the 2020s. It’s not forgetting about the near-term future, though. It will also introduce an updated version of the current-generation ES, its midrange sedan, at the event.

Previewed by a 15-second video posted on YouTube, the nipped-and-tucked ES gains redesigned headlights with square lighting elements and bolder-looking LED daytime running lights. That’s all Lexus is showing us so far. It’s not much, but it’s enough to tell the exterior visual changes are largely evolutionary, not revolutionary.

Lexus previously proved that, when it comes to luxury sedans, what motorists can’t see is at least as important as what they can see. It made the LS, its flagship sedan, smoother by redesigning the motor mounts, changing the stiffness of the tires, and adding deeper stitch points to the seats. The ES could learn some of these tricks.

Engine options will likely remain largely unchanged, meaning the ES will carry on with a 215-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 302 horses. Alternatively, the lineup will also include a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain built around a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a pair of electric motors. The V6 and the hybrid variants are front-wheel-drive, while the non-electrified four is exclusively offered with all-wheel-drive. 

Lexus will fully unveil the updated ES on April 18, a day before the Shanghai show opens its doors, and sales in China will start shortly after. In the United States, the refreshed ES will arrive in showrooms as a 2022 model.


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