If you ever wanted to buy a yacht but were worried of getting seasick,
go for a Lexus ES 350 instead…
[Read the 2013 Lexus ES 350 review now or continue reading the 2011 ES 350 story]
It is true that the ES 350 can take you from zero to 100 in 7 seconds flat. It’s also true that at 268bhp, the 3.5 L V6 is powerful enough to leave behind most other luxury sedans, and even some of the sporty kind, on the six-lane. The super-sensitive steering can weave some impressive manoeuvres while changing lanes or overtaking. But chances are, you won’t remember any of those details en route, when you finally step out of your ES. The only thing that would stay in mind is the impeccable cruise to your destination.
It is perfect silence… with a downside!
The first thing you notice in a live and running ES 350, rather what you won’t notice, is the sound of the engine. It takes a bit getting used to not looking at the rpm meter to determine if the engine is running idle. The silent cabin is perhaps the most remarkable of the many remarkable features that adorn an ES. It cuts out the road noise, absorbs the bumps and glitches and makes an average road seem like polished glass. The only thing that could give you an occasional jolt of reality is the light jerk of higher gearshifts.
You need to step on it hard – listening hard, too – to actually appreciate the engine sound above the relatively silent air-conditioner. Now, quite unlike the inspiring burble of a BMW, one can’t say the Lexus engine does spill out music to your ears. From somewhere deep in the underbelly rises a softly contained tenor, hesitant to develop into a full-blown symphony. So it’s much better off doing what it does best – remain reticent and be applauded for its magnificent silence. But again, the downside of having too silent an engine is that, on a midsummer afternoon when it’s 38º C outside, you are constantly exposed to the monotonous blowing of the fan, like the desert wind itself. However, the dual-control Air-conditioning is effective enough in the scorching summer sun - so what’s new? It’s a Toyota after all.
Lexus lives in the details
The show begins even as you approach the car with the key tucked away in your pocket or handbag. The SMART keyless entry rides smooth into the keyless start as well. The idle luxury also makes itself evident in its responsive cabin ergonomics, right from the steering wheel that presents itself in your favourite position to the simple-to-navigate console buttons and sliding mid-console storage. The side-view mirror even saves the driver from straining his neck, by keeping track of the blind spot in the dotted margin of the mirror.
Whoever said that the ES was nothing but a glorified Camry never heard of the aphorism “God is in the details”. Claiming almost double the price of a Camry, the Lexus ES 350 justifies every fil of it. Its pampering attention to detail extends from the glossy wooden trims and appetisingly delicate (temperature-controlled) leather to the “everyday frills” like the navigation, the blue tooth, rear parking assist with camera, rear sun screens and an impressive sound system – just like its owner, the sound system of the Lexus is clear and composed too. Lexus bestows a lot of care on its passengers even when it comes to a stop, with guiding lights in the foot-wells as well as the side wings.
If you could bestow a mid-size luxury sedan with a “limousine” tag, this would be it! On the contrary, if you prefer the sporty kind, or have zero-tolerance for a tendency towards over-steering, Lexus was never intended to be your chosen one. Its laid-back character is so deeply ingrained that even when you decide to summon the power it hides, your Lexus ES would take a moment or two, to shrug off its gentleman’s cloak!
If you ever wanted to buy a yacht but were worried of getting seasick, go for a Lexus ES 350 instead. It costs much less and would afford you a luxury cruise along a more comfortable terrain!
Now go to the Lexus ES 350 2013 Review. The sixth generation now has a new platform.