2019 ES 350 F Sport Finally Gets a Performance Model

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2019 Lexus ES350 F Sport Side

Adaptive suspension, a unique exterior design, and 302 horsepower make this the most exciting Lexus ES ever.

Along with the LS, the ES helped to launch the Lexus brand in the United States. Since then, it has often served as the brand’s best-selling car, if not their best-selling vehicle overall. The ES offered the luxurious feel of the LS in a smaller, more affordable package, making the mid-sized sedan very popular.

However, as the luxury sedan market has evolved over the past decade or so, there has been a shift from simply being luxurious to combining luxury with sportiness. As a result, Lexus rolled out the F Sport models that introduced a heavy dose of performance-minded design to their vehicles. But as of the 2018 model year, the ES stood alone as the only sedan without an F Sport package. The F Sport models for the IS, GS, and LS have all offered the perfect mix of performance and luxury. So with the 2019 Lexus ES being the first of its kind to get the F Sport package, I had big expectations for the first performance-oriented ES 350.

After spending a day cruising around Tennessee, I was not disappointed.

Mildly Aggressive Exterior Design

In every Lexus F Sport model, there is an array of aesthetic changes inside and out that allow these luxury-performance sedans to stand out from the non-F Sport crowd. In the case of the new ES 350 F Sport, the flowing, vertical grille bars are replaced with a gloss black mesh that is comprised of many tiny interlocking ‘L’s. The chrome strip tracing the sides and bottom of the signature spindle grille on the F Sport is a dark chrome finish, rather than the bright chrome on the other models. This is copied at other points around the exterior; where the non-F Sport has bright trim, the performance model goes with a darker look.

In the image below, the F Sport is on the right, the hybrid is in the middle and the base car is on the left.

2019 Lexus ES Lineup

In addition to the unique grille and dark chrome trim, the 2019 ES 350 F Sport has larger vents at the outer corners of the front fascia, along with larger rectangular exhaust tips integrated into the black-trimmed lower rear fascia. There is also a low-profile spoiler out back that improves aerodynamics while also adding a bit of a sporting feel to the mid-sized sedan. Of course, there is also the familiar F Sport badge below the driver’s side taillight, and the diminutive square F Sport badge on the front fenders, but like the other Lexus performance models, the ES 350 takes a subtle approach to announcing the performance trim level.

Like the rest of the 2019 ES lineup, the ES 350 F Sport is available with the three-unit adaptive headlight system, and the signature LED lighting under each of the angular headlight lenses provides an aggressive touch on all models. The designers finished off this performance-minded exterior design with a set of 19-inch, split-spoke wheels finished in black chrome and wrapped in Michelin performance rubber.

Really, if nothing else about the F Sport changed from the base ES 350, the combination of this new headlight design with the optional adaptive LED lighting, the LED signature headlight trim, and the F Sport-specific grille and fascia treatment make this new ES considerably more appealing to anyone shopping for a luxury sedan with an edgier, aggressive exterior design.

2019 Lexus ES F Sport Rear

The 2019 ES 350 F Sport is just sporty enough to appeal to the performance-minded buyer, but the styling hasn’t been cranked up to the point where it looks more like a tuner car than a luxury-performance sedan. Frankly, I think that the exterior design of this new Lexus ES F Sport is just about perfect.

Continued…

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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