Lexus ES 350 F Sport is a powerful, elegant luxury sedan Featured

Posted On Sunday, 20 December 2020 23:32 Written by
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Lexus' luxury sedan lineup is now focused on the popular ES lineup, with the departure of the GS model starting in 2021. Lexus' luxury sedan lineup is now focused on the popular ES lineup, with the departure of the GS model starting in 2021. Photo courtesy of Lexus

Luxury sedans, at least compared to their counterparts in the nonluxury realm, are doing quite well as we begin 2021. All the elite luxury brands have strong options available, so it’s really a matter of what fits the luxury buyer’s style and needs more.

One of those luxury brands, Lexus, is doing some trimming down of their lineup for 2021, ditching the GS sedan offering and focusing its efforts on the more popular ES sedan lineup.

One member of that lineup is the Lexus ES 350 F Sport, a luxury sedan focused both on comfort and powerful performance. I recently spent time in one of these high-end hot rods, and I’m back with a full report.


Fresh off a redesign for 2019, the ES 350 F Sport impresses both inside and outside the vehicle in terms of design and overall quality.

On the exterior, you get a bold, sporty look with stylish contours, highlighted by Lexus’ in-your face grille that is off-putting to some people but has been embraced by many others. The car’s design reminded me of a silver bullet, and definitely grabbed people’s attention. It’s one of the unique looks you’ll find in the luxury sedan category.

Inside, high-end materials are found and this is one of the most comfortable vehicles you'll drive in the luxury segment, which is saying a lot because the competition also does very well in this area. Visually, the F Sport interior features a red and black aesthetic that captures the eye and looks sharp all around. Comfort levels are very high and you could sit in there for a long time and never feel uncomfortable.

The only part of the interior which could use improvements is the design of the tech controls and infotainment setups. But more on that later. 

One important aspect of a sedan is the comfort level of passengers, and thankfully the ES has a rear seat that is roomy for the segment, so all 5 passengers can be quite comfortable. Cargo capacity in the trunk is limited to 16.7 cubic feet, as the rear seats do not fold down to increase that capacity.

What really makes the vibe work and sets the ES apart are all the luxury touches that make you feel welcome. These include a one-touch power tilt-and-slide moonroof, and the F Sport heated leather steering wheel. A power rear sunshade is also offered, as are triple-beam LED headlights.

The F Sport model also features: 

— 10-way F Sport bolstered front heated and ventilated power seats

— Power folding outside mirrors

— Lexus Memory system for driver’s seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel

— Rain-sensing wipers

— 19-inch split 5-spoke alloy wheels

— Aluminum trim, aluminum pedals and F Sport moveable meter

— F Sport exterior styling, rear spoiler, unique front bumper and rear valance 


The ES 350 F Sport is powered by a 3.5-liter, V6 engine, which is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Output numbers are 302 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. of torque, and the ES 350 F Sport only comes with Front-Wheel Drive (though some other vehicles in the ES family do offer AWD).

Available drive modes you can choose from are Eco, Normal and Sport, though you’ll want to be in Sport mode whenever possible for maximum drive quality. You also get F Sport suspension tuning, as well as performance dampers.

When you start to drive the Lexus ES 350 F Sport, you immediately notice the power that it has. It gets you moving instantly and powerfully, so speed from a stopped position is not going to be a problem in this ride.

In addition, because of all the F sport features and design, the balance, handling and overall driving experience is one you will absolutely love. It's not just about going fast in a straight line, though it does that well too. It's a full package of truly enjoyable driving, and paddle shifters are included on the steering wheel for those who want to have more control over moving through the gears.


The ES 350 F Sport delivers fully on the safety front, but has some issues on the tech/infotainment side of things.

First, the troubling parts. While the center screen is large and full of information, I found the overall infotainment system and controls in the Lexus ES to be a bit of a mess. I have never been a fan of Lexus’ touchpad controller, which remains in the ES. It’s difficult to use, especially while driving, and can be distracting.

Beyond the touchpad issues, somehow the overall system of touch buttons and controls seems to have gotten even more confusing in this vehicle. No matter how much I used the system, I never got comfortable with controlling it.

Thankfully, the voice commands for everything from navigation to radio to phone calls worked very well for me in the ES, so I did not have to resort to touch controls or mouse pad controls as much as I anticipated. Another positive is compatibility with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for phone mirroring.

Bottom line is that between the overly sensitive mouse pad-style control setup and the complicated physical button layout, commanding the system by hand is a major challenge. Even though almost everything else on the ES is top-notch, the fact that their core technology system is so hard to use will cause them some headaches and potentially lose them customers.

Safety, on the other hand, is a much more positive matter for Lexus and the ES. For starters, this vehicle has near perfect government safety ratings, due to its intense focus on safety equipment and features.

You get the Lexus Safety System 2.0+ system, which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam Headlamps and Road Sign Assist.

There are 10 airbags in the ES, a helpful backup camera with dynamic gridlines to guide your way, and Brake Assist with Smart Stop technology.

A Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking is available as an option, and you can add a 10.2-inch head-up display to help keep your eyes on the road.

A 10-speaker, Lexus premium Sound System comes standard, but you can upgrade to a Mark Levinson Audio Package that includes a 17-speaker, 1,800-watt surround sound system boasting a truly powerful and impressive sound quality.

SiriusXM satellite radio is included for a 3-month trial, then subscription is required.
Wi-Fi is available in the vehicle, too, and included as a 3-month trial.

Finally, another positive on the technology front is an optional wireless charger, so your phone can maintain its juice while you are traveling.


The official fuel mileage numbers on the Lexus ES 350 F Sport are 22 city/31 highway/25 combined. These are impressive numbers considering the performance you get from the vehicle.

My real-word testing was a bit less impressive, at 20 mpg, but I was not exactly in fuel conservation mode during my time driving the car.


The Lexus ES 350 F Sport that I tested was priced just under $54,000; base price starts about $45K for the F Sport and just over $40K for the base model.


The Lexus ES 350 F Sport features an elegant design inside and out, is quite roomy, and offers a fast, powerful and sporty ride. It is a solid luxury sedan that will catch the eye of families and individuals looking for a ride they’ll truly enjoy and at a significantly lower cost than some of the European competitors in the segment. Outside of the disappointing tech system controls, the ES knocks it out of the park in the luxury sedan segment.

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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Lexus ES 350 F Sport 
  • Price as tested: $53,950 (starts at $45K) 
  • Best feature: Sporty drive quality, comfortable and luxurious interior 
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars 
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Luxury sedan buyers looking for a classy, powerful vehicle 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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