They are coming, we were told, a few years back. But they didn't. They are definitely coming in 2017, declared unofficial reports yet again. Thankfully, that turned out to be true as Lexus finally made it's official debut in India recently. We have seen brand launches happening with lots of build-up and fanfare but Lexus chose to have an arguably low-key event.
Lexus has brought in three models for it's opening stint in India, two of which are on sale already. All of these would be imported as Completely Built Units (CBU), thus attracting heavy import duties.
The ES 300h sedan is the most affordable of the three, retailing at ₹55.27 Lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi. Featuring Lexus' polarizing design cues including the massive spindle grille and the sharp headlights up front, the ES, at it's current pricing, would have to lock horns with the likes of Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XF and the Volvo S90. Internationally though, the ES is an entry-level luxury sedan competing with the C-Class and the likes.
As the "h" in it's suffix denotes, the ES 300h is a hybrid sedan powered by a 2.5-liter petrol engine with an electric motor, the combined output of which is rated at 202 horsepower. The engine is mated to an electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (e-CVT). If the powertrain sounds familiar to you, that's because it is shared with the Camry Hybrid.
The ES 300h gets four driving modes - NORMAL, ECO, SPORT and EV. Standard equipment includes ventilated seats, full leather upholstery, ambient lighting and a Mark Levinson surround sound system. A comprehensive safety kit if in offer too with the car equipped with ABS, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), 10 Airbags, parking assist and tyre pressure alert.
The other model on sale is the RX 450h SUV, priced at ₹107.29 Lakhs for the Luxury trim level and ₹109.61 Lakhs for the F-Sport trim level. In terms of looks, the RX also gets the same spindle-type grille flanked on either sides by sharp-looking headlamps with inbuilt LED DRLs. The profile and the rear gets some interesting design elements like a floating roof, prominent character lines and a roof-mounted spoiler.
Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine that works in tandem with an electric motor, the RX 450h churns out 308 horsepower from it's engine-motor combo. Like the ES, an e-CVT takes care of the transmission duties abd four driving modes are on offer - NORMAL, ECO, SPORT and EV. Feature list includes a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, a 12.3-inch infotainment system, coloured Heads-Up Display (HUD), a Mark Levinson sound system, ABS, VSC, 10 Airbags, parking assist and tyre pressure alert.
If neither of these two models prick your interest, wait for the soon-to-be-launched LX 450d. The big and comfy diesel-powered SUV may just be that perfect reliable and upscale mile-muncher you have been waiting for.