Lexus has confirmed this week that the ES sedan will make a comeback in Australia later this year, returning for the first time in seven years.
The news follows comments to TMR from former Lexus Australia CEO Tony Cramb early last year, suggesting that confirmed right-hand-drive production could see the new ES make a local debut.
The new ES, revealed at last year's New York Auto Show, is similar in size to the recently launched rear-wheel-drive GS sedan, but utilises a front-wheel drive architecture it shares with the new Avalon.
New Lexus Australia CEO Sean Hanley said today that the decision to re-introduce the ES line was driven by customer demand.
"This all-new ES is not only redesigned, re-engineered and with more power; it returns to Australia with a loyal customer base and in a form that will attract new customers to the Lexus family," Mr Hanley said.
Although the luxury car's front-wheel-drive layout makes it unique in the Lexus sedan range, lower production costs have allowed Lexus to position the ES as a more affordable companion to the GS.
According to ES chief engineer Toshio Asahi, space and comfort in the new ES remained the top priority, but the driving experience needed to be improved over previous ES generations.
"To improve ES' overall drive experience we started at the foundation, engineering a longer, wider, lower and more rigid platform - the perfect base for ES' bespoke suspension.
"The result is an ES that offers a driving experience unlike any vehicle before it, while maintaining those hallmark comfort, space and refinement characteristics," Mr Asahi added.
While the GS rides on a longer wheelbase (2850 vs 2822mm), the ES is slightly longer overall at 4895mm (4848mm for GS). A broader cabin and pumped guards makes the GS wider however, measuing 1840mm to the ES' 1821mm.
The new ES is available in both ES 350 petrol and ES 300h hybrid variants overseas, and while Australian specifications are still to be confirmed, we can likely expect both models here.
As with the new GS, the 2013 ES gets the taller new Lexus 'spindle' grille design, LED-equipped headlights, a flowing roofline and massively reworked interior design.