Dave's Rally Report #7
One car I wasn't able to take on the track was the new Lexus ES350. That's ok because this silent sedan is meant for the road, not the track. And the other day Lexus announced its starting price at $33,170. For those folks that don't care about driving excitement and want a luxury car for the best price, it is hard to beat, or even compete with, the ES.
BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 prices continue to rise while Lexus is loading up its new vehicles with more content and a reasonable sticker. The ES 350 seemed loaded with tech, but the one trait that Lexus continues to imbed into its cars is that silent running. Start the engine and you hear it kick over, kind of. Drive it out of the parking spot and there's no noise coming from under the bonnet.
Road noise? Nope, none of that. Wind noise? Not really much at highway speeds even. A little wind was heard at the rear of the driver's side window and I wondered if that was just a bad seal because this was an early tester. Even if it was the noise was minimal.
Steering, acceleration and overall performance are more than adequate for the commuter or non-enthusiast but the sterile experience will not win over any BMW owner. What is interesting is how Lexus put so much attention into the gauge cluster, the strange artistic swoop of the dash over the center stack and even the exterior design. It's classic Toyota thinking: give the buyers more of what they want at a good price. But this one looks good too.