As expected, the 2016 Lexus ES will debut in Shanghai with an updated look that brings the trademark sedan in step with the rest of Lexus lineup. In addition to the refreshed exterior and interior, the 2016 Lexus ES adds a new 2.0-liter powerplant designed specifically for the Chinese market. Also debuting at the Shangai auto show is a four-cylinder turbocharged variant of the 2016 Lexus RX, called the RX 200t.
Pointing the way forward for the 2016 Lexus ES is its new front fascia. The familiar spindle grille is detailed with satin chrome and flanked by a new set of L-shaped DRL headlights, which are more taut and angular than in the outgoing model. Chrome trim continues to the window surrounds, also spanning the rear taillight design and dual rectangular exhaust ports. Also new for the ES are a pair of 17-inch wheel options. New color choices include Amber, Nightfall Mica, Caviar, and Eminent White Pearl.
Interior appointments to the 2016 Lexus ES have also been upgraded. There’s a new steering wheel design, a larger 4.2-inch TFT display, and a host of new interior color options and materials. Semi-aniline leather, leather or Lexus NuLuxe trim adorns seats that come in a range of four colors. Among the other luxurious interior trim choices are Bamboo with matte finish, as well as upscale Shimamoku wood previously featured on the GS and LS sedans.
For the U.S. market, the new Lexus ES will carry on with existing engine options. The 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6 will live on, alongside the 200-hp ES hybrid’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder and electric motor. Although these do not change, Lexus says the 2016 ES has a stiffer unibody structure, improving ride and handling. A new sound-deadening layer behind the dashboard further silences engine noise from inside the cockpit.
None of this is much of a surprise to customers who are familiar with the consistent-selling Lexus ES and the Toyota Avalon on which it’s based, but the new car’s debut in Shanghai is significant for its new engine option. The 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder is engineered specifically to meet China’s fuel-economy and emissions restrictions, and it will be offered solely for the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Russian markets.
Appearing for the first time alongside the refreshed Lexus ES, is the 2016 Lexus RX 200t. Incorporating the same 2.0-liter turbo-four from the NX 200t, the RX200t will pack at least 228 hp and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Expect the 2016 Lexus ES to hit showrooms later this year, following pricing and fuel economy announcements.