In ditching the rear-drive format of the old GS in favour of this new front-driven GA-K architecture, Lexus has clearly decided that its days of pitching its mid-sized executive saloon against the BMW 5 Series for driver appeal are behind it. There’s a resolutely unsporting sense of indifference about the way the ES goes down the road.
However, an effort has evidently been made to place distinguishing ride comfort and isolation at the forefront of the ES’s driving experience – and it’s not been wasted. At open-road speeds, the suspension deals with undulating surfaces in a calm and relaxed fashion; compressions are smoothly ironed out while upwards vertical travel over crests is kept closely, calmly in check. The same primary ride qualities are present when trundling along at town speeds, too.
However, without adaptive dampers in its suspension specification (these are saved for F Sport trim), the ES retains this softer edge when Sport mode is selected. The mode does add a degree of heft to the steering but, through faster bends, the car’s weight and comfort bias does make itself felt, and so the car never corners quite as neatly or tidily as some might prefer.