FYI: The August 8 issue of AutoWeek magazine has a nice photo of the 2002 ES on the cover and a three-page article about it that doesn't say much but includes some more photos. Here are a few quotes from this article:
"The 2002 ES is quieter, smoother, more elegant and refined than the current model, and it successfully erases most of the palpable links it had to its plebian platrom-mate, the Toyota Camry."
"This simple stylishness [the exterior] continues inside, with a thin swath of polished California walnut wood trim... The rest of the interior's surfaces are dressed in either leather -- the same quality leather used in Lexus' flagship LS 430 -- tastefully placed chrome bits or soft-touch plastic in two tones ..."
"... it disappoints a bit in the power department ... driving up hills we found ourselves wanting for more power ..."
One comment of my own: Seeing photos, even lots of them, of a new car doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. It may give quite a different impression in person (look at, for example, the Lexus SC 430), and sometimes one's opinion of a car's looks changes over time. I hope this is the case with the new ES.
I'm a bit surprised that you see the A4 1.8T & the ES 300 as competitors. When my wife & I were shopping for a car for her in late 98/early 99, we looked at the Infiniti I30 (rejected because my wife couldn't get comfortable behind the wheel) & the Acura TL (put off by trim flaws in early production cars). At that time, Audi was substantially rebating leftover '98 A6's, so we visited our local Audi store & drove one. Liked it but didn't buy one because my wife didn't like the colors of any of the rebate-eligible cars in stock. We didn't bother looking at the A4 because we both perceived it as qualitatively different from any of the other cars under consideration. The A4 emphasized sports while the others emphasized luxury, & luxury is what my wife wanted. She wound up with the ES 300 & she still loves it.
When I was shopping for myself 2 years later, I checked out the 3-series BMW, the A4 & the IS 300. Didn't bother looking at any of the FWD Japanese luxury nameplates. Drove the A4 (a Quattro 1.8T 5-speed) & loved it. Drove a 5-speed BMW, loved it a bit more & bought it. (Didn't bother driving the IS because it was auto only at the time. I'd certainly drive it today, though, if I was still in the market.) Although the ES shares price points with these cars, it's not an enthusiast's car & is thus not a true competitor. My wife loves her ES & wants to be buried in it, but I'd much rather have an A4 (particularly a 5-speed Quattro 1.8T) for myself. I just don't see the 2 as real competitors.
Are you in love with Infiniti and Audi just because you own them?
I will surely say the A4 competes against the IS300 not the ES300, and I can surely say the G35 will compete against the IS300, not the ES300. It really is quite simple to come to that conclusion. Sure, before the IS300 came out, I'm sure alot of A4 shoppers looked at the ES300, and some probably still do, but the A4 is not a direct competitor to the ES300, especially not the A4 1.8T. Again that is because of price, size, power, handling, drivetrain availability.
Yes, your A4 cost $29K, and how much would a base ES300 and a loaded 2002 ES300 cost? $33K base and about $39K loaded. It's obvious those 2 cars are not in the same ballpark, in any logical person's mind.
The BMW 3-series competes to a greater degree with the ES300 because it is closer in price, a base 325i costs about $28K and a loaded one will run close to $40K. That is in the ES300s ballpark. But still I would bet on it, that not too many 325i or 330i shoppers go looking at the ES300 anymore. instead they would go looking at the IS300.
The G20 does have only 140bhp, and the A4 1.8T had 148bhp and now has 170bhp. Still far off the ES300s level.
Please understand the concept of Lexus luring 2 totally different types of buyers, on the whole, into their showrooms in the same price range. The IS300 for sports sedan shoppers, the ES300 for luxury sedan buyers.
The IS300 would compete with the 3-series, A4, C-class, upcmoning G35.
The ES300 competes more with the C-class, I30, 3.2TL.
Here's an idea: did you compare your A4 to the ES300 when shopping? Also, do a survey on the ES300 or A4 1.8T boards and see what the percentage is of A4 shoppers/buyers who actually looked at and bought ES300s and A4 1.8ts.
you read my mind. sweet post. minor note: most recently, the G20 had 145hp, next year's I model will be the I35 and not I30, and the former A4 1.8T had 150hp (assuming no extra emissions controls).
Is how they compete. They all cost $28k-35k. Granted, the direct competitors to the ES are the TL and I30, but most people shop based on cost. That would then include the IS300, the A4 and the 325i as well.
And yet the Audi is faster with a manual tranny and 40 less hp. So is the BMW with 26 less horses. The Germans seem to be able to get more out of each hp than the Japanese. The ES and I30 both have more hp than the A4 and 325i, yet the Lex and Infiniti are slower. It's not how much hp you have, it's how you get it to the pavement.
#1186 of 5443 ES300 info available before Camry
Aug 02, 2001 (4:00 pm)
Considering the new ES300 is not going to be available until October, it is unusual that the official pictures and reviews are out before those of the new Camry which, I thought, hits the street in September.
It might be marketing hype to say "The ES300 is not based on the Camry. It was designed before the Camry ... blah bladiblah."
(Eyes roll worldwide.)