New Cars for 2016: Lexus

Car News

ES: One of autodom’s preeminent rolling sofas, the freshened ES now has a larger, brasher version of Lexus’s Predator-esque maw. Lexus’s new Safety System+ bundles adaptive cruise, auto high-beams, lane-departure warning, auto braking, pedestrian detection, and forward-collision alert, all at a sub-$650 option price. See official photos and info ››

GS/GS F: Yes, it’s still a very good car. And, yes, it’s time for a refresh. The 2016 update will bring Lexus’s latest infotainment and safety technologies, rejiggered head- and taillamps, updated bumpers, and a reworked interior. The most important thing we expect to see, however, is a GS200t model packing the brand’s new turbocharged engine. The four-cylinder makes 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in its transverse application for the NX200t crossover, which would make it competitive with the turbo fours from Audi and BMW, although the ratings might rise for this larger, rear-drive sedan.

Lexus is for real about cultivating a sporty image, which means it needs more than one brawny, high-performance F car in its lineup. Enter the GS F, which rumbles forth in November. The car ain’t got time for forced induction, instead relying on a naturally aspirated, 467-hp V-8 and a svelte-for-the-class curb weight to battle the big guns from Stuttgart, Munich, and, um, SoHo. Zero to 60 should be in the 4.4-second range, and subtly aggro styling and comparatively docile handling will be its calling cards. See GS F official photos and info ››

IS: Depending on how you spec it, this sports sedan can be the best car in its class (IS350 F Sport) or one of the worst (IS250 AWD). But, hark! There is hope in Lexus land, as the IS250 and its 204-hp V-6 soon will be mercy-killed and replaced with the turbocharged IS200t. (Both cars may be sold concurrently for a time.) The lack of power isn’t the only problem with the IS250, though, and it remains to be seen if the new turbo car will offer the chassis and transmission upgrades that make the range topper so satisfying to drive. Read more ››

LX: The rock-crushing LX is geriatric enough to have undergone two updates since its last full redesign in 2007, and 2016 will bring a third. We expect the refresh largely to focus on technology, interior materials, and styling in an attempt to keep it relevant against newer stuff like the Audi Q7 and Cadillac Escalade. See official photos and info ››

RC: This sports coupe launched only as the RC350 for 2015, and was followed shortly thereafter by the fire-breathing RC F. We’re thinking that now’s the time for a less expensive turbo model. Lexus remains mum on such a car as of press time, but it has confirmed plans to shove the 2.0-liter turbo four into every hole it can find in order to improve its fleet fuel economy. Read more ››

RX (shown above): The RX is all-new and adopts the brand’s bold new styling language. Will it repel the hordes who make this the bestselling Lexus nameplate by far? It’s longer overall than before, with a two-inch-longer wheelbase, which means more stretch-out room in the second row. The 3.5-liter V-6 in RX350 models makes about 30 more horsepower, for a total of 300 or so, and there is once again a hybrid. All RXs have an eight-speed auto. Front-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive optional, while the F Sport trim, four-wheel drive only, offers aggressive visuals and a slightly sportier mode for the adjustable suspension. See first drive ››

Minor trim changes: CT200h, GX460, LS460/460L/600hL, NX300h, RC350

Unchanged: NX200t, RC F

Dead: IS C

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