Behind the Wheel

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport Review: This is the ES variant you should be buying

The 2020 Lexus ES F-Sport is the flashiest ES model.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

There is only one Lexus ES 350 you should consider buying unless the prospect of mundane drivability excites you – the 2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport.

The ES sits in the Lexus lineup between the IS and LS. It's a midsize sedan that is made in America and available in three models – ES 350, ES 350 Hybrid, and ES 350 F-Sport. There are a variety of trim levels for buyers to choose from for 350 and 350 Hybrid models.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport The ES 350 F-Sport has a different grille than other ES models.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

On the outside, it's immediately apparent that the 350 F-Sport has the better grille and wheels (19-inchers) than the other ES models. There's also black finish mesh on the front fascia and available triple beam headlights. Those enhancements make the ES appear more sophisticated and sassier.

As the saying goes, it's not the size, it's how you use it. All ES 350s are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain achieves 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The oomph is enough for the ES, but not anything that will excite.

ES 350 models have Eco, Normal, and Sport modes. The ES 350 F-Sport replaces Sport mode with Sport+ and Custom. The Sport+ mode lengthens the amount of time between shifts and allows the driver to achieve a torquier behind-the-wheel experience, adjusts the throttle response, and changes the steering parameters. This is one of the keys to the 350 F-Sport's success.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport Lexus has given the ES 350 F-Sport spotter seats than what are other ES 350 models.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Combine the engine engagement with an adaptive variable suspension that is similar to the system in the Lexus LC and LS, and the ES's drive experience shines (for an ES). Don't mistake the enthusiasm for quickness. The ES still takes 6.6 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph and it only comes in front-wheel drive.

The ES serves valiantly as a daily driver in any model. Its trunk is spacious and there's a good amount of passenger space for four adult occupants.

While the materials in most of the cabin of this particular model are right with its price point, the entire interior experience is clouded by the Lexus track pad way of navigating the infotainment system. Thankfully, the ES is one of the few Lexus vehicles that has both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so use of the track pad is not often needed.

2020 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport The ES 350 F-Sport is available with a red leather interior.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Other high points of the model include the available 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and the good amount of unobtrusive safety technology that works well including blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.

The 2020 Lexus ES F-Sport starts at $44,635. With the options boxes checked, it can get near $50,000 including destination and delivery charges. That price seems fair for the model. It's pricier than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry but less costly than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The ES is priced most similarly to the Infiniti Q50's midgrade models. Top-tier models of the Q50 have significantly more horsepower befitting the higher rate.

Sure, the ES F-Sport isn't as

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A new short film by Koenigsegg features the Regera super car.

Photo courtesy of Koenigsegg

It's not coming to a theater near you, but you can watch it on YouTube. Koenigsegg has released its first featurette, starring nine none other than the Regera super car.

The Regera is a hybrid that combines the power of a twin-turbo 5.0-liter V8 engine with three electric motors. It achieves 1500 horsepower. The car doesn't have a traditional gearbox, instead relying on hydraulic coupling. Because of this, at speeds under 30 mph, the Regera leans on its electric motors for power. Above 30 mph, the car car utilizes its V8, taking off in a mad dash when the accelerator is push to the ground.

It can get from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. From a standstill to 249 mph takes less than 20 seconds. Those numbers make the car the fastest accelerating car in the world. Maximum speed is electronically restricted to 255 mph.

"Time to Reign: A Koenigsegg Mini Blockbuster" was scripted and produced almost entirely in-house. It's a heist story filmed in 4K with a covert operation, evil accomplices, and a delightfully stereotypical absentminded guard.

Its cast is made up of members of the Koenigsegg team. The film features company founder Christian von Koenigsegg and his Regera in a starring role alongside designer Marcelle Roeli, marketing and event coordinator Christina Nordin, and customer and loyalty coordinator Kirsi Kärkkäinen. Other Koenigsegg personnel serve in supporting roles, including Gustav Nisson, a company assistant whose dance moves play a prominent role in the story line.

Mrs. Koenigsegg herself, Halldora von Koenigsegg, who serves as the company's COO, makes an appearance at the end.

The quick film, which runs nearly 12 minutes including the credits, is available to watch below.

Time to Reign: A Koenigsegg Mini Blockbuster www.youtube.com

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Lucid is taking a page out of the no-dealership playbook.

Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

Lucid Motors will be following the Tesla model of selling vehicles, setting up sales and service locations called Lucid Studios. There will be 20 boutiques open by the end of 2021 across North America, according to a statement put out by the company this week.

The studios will each feature a "California-inspired design aesthetic" and offers customers the flexibility of visiting the storefront in person or shopping online. They are small in size, but in high-traffic areas.

Lucid Motors boutiques Some showrooms may have the new Lucid Air staged inside.Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

The company has immediate plans to open ten studios:

  • Silicon Valley Studio: Located at Lucid's Global Headquarters in Newark, CA
  • Los Angeles Studios: Located at 9022 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, CA, and at Westfield Century City in Century City, CA
  • Los Angeles Service Center: Located at 9022 Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, CA
  • San Jose Studio: Located at Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose, CA
  • Miami Studio: Located at Brickell City Centre in Miami, FL
  • West Palm Beach Studio: Located at Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach, FL
  • New York City Studio: Located in the Meatpacking District, NY
  • DC Metro Studio: Located at Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, VA
Lucid will soon unveil a new consumer-facing website and launch their new electric vehicle, the Lucid Air. The company promises that the new website will feature "the world's most advanced configurator" that allows customers to customize their vehicle.
Within the site, the world's most advanced configurator will enable prospective owners to customize their own car and view it from any angle in a variety of environments. The Lucid app will let customers communicate with the company on any topic, including servicing. And over-the-air updates will keep every Lucid Air's in-car technology up to date.

Lucid Motors boutiques As shown, the Lucid Motors boutique will feature a vehicle simulator.Photo courtesy of Lucid Motors

The company is promising a nationwide network of service centers, mobile service providers, and certified collision repair centers that will be part of Lucid's "centralized customer care group". These service providers will be able to address customer needs that cannnot be remotely diagnosed and repaired.

"The national network of Lucid Studios and Service Center locations we are rolling out over the coming months will ensure an industry-leading experience to anyone who reserves a Lucid Air," said Zak Edson, Director of Retail Operations for Lucid. "From purchase to delivery to ownership, the experience we offer is designed to be amongst the best in the world."

The production version of the Lucid Air will debut in an online reveal on September 9, 2020.

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