Lexus ES 250 F Sport 2021
By Frank A. Aukofer
There’s a huge difference between 21st century luxury sedans like the 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport and mid-20th century plush mobiles.
Back then, they wanted to fight the market with brocade-padded interiors, soft suspension systems that were all about absorbing bumps in the road – and forgetting about responsive steering or turns.
You can steer with a finger, as your mighty 6.5-liter V8 engine sends massive power through a three-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Set the cruise control to 80, lean back and enjoy the ride. With no pot stoppage, you should be able to dance across Texas in under 10 hours – assuming the weather is nice.
Although Carroll Shelby, the famous builder and racing car driver, spoke of the muscle cars of the day, his oft-quoted comment also applied to what were sometimes derisively referred to as luxo-barges: Chrysler Imperial, Lincoln Continental and Cadillac de Ville. “Great engines; couldn’t turn, couldn’t stop, ”Shelby said.
Of course, other car manufacturers had different ideas. Europeans like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo have incorporated performance characteristics into their luxury machines. Some, like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, have even gone further and built exotic super cars. They were mostly two-seater designed for racing.
Many are still around, including older classics that sell for mind-blowing money at auctions. There are also some of the older city and imperial sedans that attract a lot of money. But for the most part over the years, the old luxury ingredients have become less important. Now, whether you’re buying a luxury, national or international car, it comes with its own built-in performance chops. RIP-mobiles-mushrooms.
The 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport is a prime example of the modern genre. Lexus is Toyota’s luxury brand, and the ES is a midsize sedan that’s the equivalent of Toyota’s Camry and Avalon – except, of course, that it costs more due to its premium focus.
The tested ES 250 AWD F Sport, which had a starting price of $ 46,728 and a tested sticker of $ 52,580, is a new concept for Lexus: it is not as powerful as some of its siblings, but is comes standard with all-wheel drive, hence all-wheel drive. nickname. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 203 horsepower with 184 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to the curb via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The same configuration drives the all-wheel drive Toyota Avalon and Camry.
The 250 is not the fastest Lexus ES. If you want more spirit and refinement, there is an ES 350 version with a 302 horsepower V6 engine, also via an eight-speed automatic transmission. But you have to give up all-wheel drive; the ES 350 only comes with front wheel drive. There’s also a hybrid with a 2.5-liter gasoline engine that delivers an exceptional city / highway / combined fuel economy of 43/44/44 mpg on regular gasoline.
But the tested ES 250 AWD F Sport is no exception. Its numbers are 25/34/28 mpg and, of course, it’s a more responsive performer than the Hybrid with the added bad weather benefit of all-wheel drive.
On the road, the tester was a comfortable, easy-going performer. Although the engine, under strong acceleration, made a pleasant growl, the cruise was for the most part gracious and quiet. The interior was notable for high quality materials and good workmanship. The black leather upholstery was perforated for heating and cooling, and the front seats were shaped to hug the driver and passenger tightly in fast driving on winding roads.
There are three driving modes which adjust the gear shift points and other parameters for different circumstances: Eco, normal and sport. A large central display sits high on the dashboard at eye level and incorporates, among other things, an analog clock – a nice touch. The tested ES came with a high noise Mark Levinson sound system.
At the back, there’s a surprising amount of head, knee, and stretching room for two. Unfortunately, the poor soul relegated to the center-back position has to contend with a high, hard perch and the need to dodge a big bump on the ground and intrusion from the center console.
The trunk houses a temporary spare tire and tire. It is well appointed with carpeting and ties. However, the large C-hinges are not insulated and could damage the contents.
Although a bit pricey, this Lexus offers a quality luxury vehicle with sport sedan manners, especially for people who live in areas of bad weather.
Model: Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport sedan four-door 2021
Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 203 hp, 184 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual mode and all-wheel drive
Total length: 16 feet 4 inches
Passenger volume / EPA / SAE trunk: 100/17 cubic feet
Weight: 3,780 lb
EPA City / Hwy / Combined Fuel Consumption: 25/34/28 mpg
Base price including destination charges: $ 46,728
Price as tested: $ 52,580