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A Lexus ES Hybrid with AWD in the Works

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The Lexus ES sedan was redesigned just two years ago, and now it could be the next model in the Japanese automaker’s lineup to get an all-wheel-drive configuration. This comes courtesy Japanese website Lexus Enthusiasts, which reported that Japanese media had been invited to test-drive a Lexus model equipped with a system called E-axle. This feature makes use of an additional motor connected to the rear axle to provide power to the rear wheels.

Both Lexus and its parent company Toyota already use a similar systems, for example in the former’s UX model from the former. The C-HR-based small SUV uses an AWD system that functions similarly, though in its case power delivered to the back wheels is limited and only functions when traveling at under 70 km/h.

More interesting perhaps is the system propelling the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which delivers up to 54 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque to the back wheels. This is likely the approach Lexus will take with the ES, in fact we could even see a more-advanced version developed for the sedan, one that would be more efficient. Bosch and Aisin are both currently working on producing an E-axle system that could be used in the ES. 

Lexus is staying mum on this report, saying only that it does not comment on rumours regarding future models - a classic industry answer, to be sure. The company did acknowledge what was impossible to deny, that a test-drive did take place, but it won’t confirm that the system tested out is destined for the ES.

That doesn’t stop the idea from making a whole of sense, however. Sedan sales are falling precipitously, and all-wheel drive is considered one of the main possible solutions available to manufacturers to kick-start those sales again.

An AWD-equipped 4-door could also fit in nicely within the carmaker’s F Sport performance division.

Stay tuned.

Photo: Lexus