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2021 Lexus ES lineup grows with all-wheel drive, Black Line Special Edition models

Lexus is adding to its ES lineup for 2021 with new models and all-wheel drive.

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

Lexus is expanding its list ES offerings for the 2021 model year. The 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD becomes the first all-wheel drive (AWD) ES model ever offered. Further, the 2021 Lexus ES 350 Black Line Special edition adds black accents and a unique interior option for buyers.

2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD

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

Designed to give buyers increased confidence in inclement driving conditions, Lexus engineers have simply taken an all-wheel drive system and fitted to the traditional Lexus ES 350. This is the same way all-wheel drive is designed in the ES's sister car, the Toyota Camry. There are no changes to the leg room or cargo space in ES that have AWD compared to those ES models that do.

The system sends torque to all four wheels with up to 50 percent of the engine torque going to the rear. When all-wheel drive capability is not needed, the electromagnetic controlled coupling on the rear drive axle can disengage the propeller shaft to help prioritize fuel efficiency.

2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD F Sport

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

All ES 250 AWD models are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 203 horsepower achieves 28 mpg combined.

The suspension tuning, wheels, and tires differentiating the ES model grades carry over to the AWD versions. That means, for example, the ES F Sport grade features the same sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels in both front-wheel drive and AWD versions.

2021 Lexus ES Black Line Special Edition

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

A limited number of 2021 Lexus ES 350 Black Line Special Edition sedans will be offered for sale. Based on the F Sport grade, the models will be available in the buyer’s choice of an Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0, Obsidian, or Ultra White exterior. There are black outer mirrors, darkened F Sport wheels and lug nuts, and a black rear lip spoiler.

Each interior has the F SPORT-only two-tone scheme that features white and black coloring with gray stitching.

As with other Black Like Special Edition models in the Lexus lineup, the ES version comes with a two-piece set of Zero Halliburton travel cases that feature several distinctive features, including a chrome logo badge laser etched with "Zero Halliburton for Lexus", a sumptuous interior lining, a Lexus grille motif and a Lexus embossed leather logo badge. The set consists of a 22-inch Continental Carry-on and a 26-inch Medium Travel Case - both black.

The 2021 Lexus ES lineup will arrive at dealerships early this autumn.

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Lexus took a different approach to launch the new IS.


Lexus knows how to make a good V8. The LC 500, RC F, and even older cars like the SC 400 all feature a buttery, powerful Lexus V8. The IS sports sedan never has been given the V8 treatment, but that's about to change for the 2022 model year. The automaker is jamming a big V8 in the space normally occupied by a four- or six-cylinder engine to create the 2022 IS 500 F Sport. The automaker's new marketing campaign for the car takes a slightly different approach than the "big red bow" commercials it usually makes, starting with a short documentary called "License to Thrill."

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport 14 drivers competed for a chance to be one of the first IS 500 F Sport owners.Lexus

The IS 500 F Sport is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 472 horsepower. It's the most powerful Lexus IS ever, so it's not surprising that the automaker chose to highlight its performance in its launch marketing campaign.

The documentary follows 14 auto enthusiasts who participated in a driving event for a chance to own (buy) one of five early cars. Drivers were taken to the Apex Motor Club in Arizona, where they received tips from Lexus IMSA drivers Townsend Bell, Jack Hawksworth, and Aaron Telitz before hitting the track in an IS 500 F Sport. Each driver had an opportunity to set the best lap times in the car. Top lap times earned a chance to be one of the first to purchase the car, but Lexus also gave away one IS 500 to an unexacting participant.

2022 Lexus IS 500 F Sport Lexus gave away one of the cars.Lexus

The IS 500 launch will include other events that involve artists and content producers. Pro driver JR Hildebrand will drive the car for a MotorTrend special, while 100 Thieves and Garagisme will create publications and video content involving the car.

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New AWD performance car

The Subaru WRX is all-new for 2022

The new WRX's body cladding is already stirring up controversy.


The Subaru WRX is a rally-bred performance car that offers a unique mix of rowdy all-wheel drive fun, a value price, and youthful styling. The car is long overdue for an update, though, and Subaru is doing just that for the 2022 model year. The fifth-generation WRX is all-new, and features a more powerful engine, along with several go-fast upgrades.

2022 Subaru WRX Both a manual and an automatic transmission will be offered.Subaru

A new GT trim joins the WRX lineup for 2022. It features a new automatic transmission, adaptive dampers, and drive mode selections. With various customization options available to the driver, the system offers up to 430 different settings combinations. The GT's interior adds Recaro seats wrapped in Ultrasuede with red stitching. The GT also gets exclusive 18-inch wheels.

Though still a Boxer engine, the 2022 WRX's powerplant is new and more powerful than before. It delivers 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, as well as a broader torque curve. Subaru says that the larger engine plus an electronically controlled turbo wastegate and air bypass valves improve responsiveness and acceleration.

2022 Subaru WRX A larger 11.6-inch infotainment screen is on board. Subaru

All WRX models come with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and active torque vectoring, which can shift power to individual wheels that need the most traction. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a new Subaru Performance Transmission is available, which features faster shifts and other features to improve performance.

The 2022 WRX also gets a tech upgrade that brings a large 11.6-inch tablet-style touchscreen. It runs Subaru Starlink infotainment, handles HVAC and vehicle controls, and offers split-screen functionality for two apps to run simultaneously. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and HD radio. An upgraded version of the system also offers navigation with three years of free map updates.

2022 Subaru WRX Subaru will offer a new GT trim with upgraded suspension and finishes.Subaru

As it has done with many of its other vehicles, Subaru is equipping every WRX with its EyeSight suite of advanced driver aids. The packge includes lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and more. A new available automatic emergency steering system works with the car's pre-collision braking feature to help avoid collisions at speeds under 50 mph.

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