Currently reading: Updated 2021 Lexus ES to make debut at Shanghai motor show
BMW 5 Series rival is due a mid-life refresh; expect improved efficiency and a more refined ride

Lexus has previewed an updated version of its ES executive saloon, ahead of a full reveal at the Shanghai motor show next Monday. 

A short preview clip gives little away and technical details remain under wraps, but a shot of the rear of the car suggests that visual changes will be kept to a minimum.

The current, seventh-generation ES launched in Europe in 2018, marking the nameplate's first appearance in the region since the first-generation model went on sale in 1989. The replacement for the slow-selling GS serves to provide Lexus with a rival to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. 

Given the relative freshness of the current car, changes are likely to be focussed on refining the dynamic experience and enhancing efficiency. A recent round of updates for the Lexus LC Coupé grand tourer included quicker gear changes, lighter suspension components and added interior equipment, while the LS luxury flagship recently received efficiency-focussed tweaks to its hybrid powertrain, chassis updates to boost refinement and new driver assistance functions.

Expect a similar treatment for the ES, although its 2.5-litre petrol-electric drivetrain is likely to remain generation largely unaltered. Producing 218bhp and good for 0-62mph in 8.9sec, the ES 300h motor sends its reserves to the front axle through a CVT automatic gearbox, and can return between 50mpg and 55mpg, depending on trim. 

While the facelifted car looks to bear a strong resemblance to the one currently on sale, a teaser image hints at subtly revamped headlight designs. New personalisation options will also likely become available.


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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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BlahBlah43 12 April 2021
I'm sorry but nothing about the ES makes it a 5 Series, E Class competitor. Nothing.