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2011 Lexus ES 350 Review

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Michel Deslauriers
Fluffy luxury
More and more carmakers feel the necessity to combine sportiness with luxury. BMW does it. Infiniti does it. Mercedes-Benz does it. Hell, even Hyundai does it with their 2012 Genesis sedan. And Lexus does it – at least with its IS and GS sedans.

However, Lexus doesn’t do it with the ES 350. And that’s OK.

You see, the 2011 Lexus ES doesn’t encourage sporty driving. Oh, it can handle an apex or two just fine, but that’s not what this car is all about. And you know what? A lot of people seeking luxury cars don’t give a damn about apexes. Some don’t even know what an apex is – and that’s OK, too.

2011 Lexus ES 350 rear 3/4 view
The 2011 Lexus ES doesn’t encourage sporty driving. (Photo: Michel Deslauriers/

A glorified Camry? Maybe.
Some might write the Lexus ES 350 off as being nothing more than a tarted-up Toyota Camry, and that’s partly true. They do share a platform, powertrain and some other components, but that’s not a big deal.

After all, the 24-valve, 3.5L V6 mated to a fluid 6-speed automatic is a smooth operator and a powerful one when required. In the Lexus, the engine produces 268 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft of torque, just like the Camry. Actually, it used to offer 272 hp until the 2010 model year, but that required premium fuel. You can now use regular unleaded and save some dollars.

Since the ES is front-wheel drive, you shouldn’t dream about more power anyway as you’ll visit torque-steer city more often than you want. As it stands, this Lexus is fine as is, delivering 0-100km/h times of 7.1 seconds.

The ES 350’s suspension is comforting and relaxing. There is absolutely no harshness to be felt here. Multi-hour highway jaunts in this car don’t tire you out at all, like if you only drove to the local shopping mall and back. Road noise – or any noise besides the kids for that matter – is kept to a faint hush. However, I do wish the steering would offer more feedback.

2011 Lexus ES 350 engine
The 268 hp, 3.5L V6 in the ES 350 is a smooth operator. (Photo: Michel Deslauriers/
Michel Deslauriers
Michel Deslauriers
Automotive expert