Updated 2021 Lexus ES to make debut at Shanghai motor show

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.