Lexus ES Third generation (XV20)
|1997 to 2001|
|Also called||Toyota Windom (Japan)|
|Production||August 1996 – July 2001|
|Assembly||Japan: Toyota, Aichi (Tsutsumi plant); Miyawaka, Fukuoka (Miyata plant)|
|Body and chassis|
|Related||Toyota Camry (XV20)|
|Engine||2.5 L 2MZ-FE V6 (Japan) |
3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6
3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 (VVT-i)
|Transmission||4-speed A541E automatic|
|Wheelbase||2,670 mm (105.1 in)|
|Length||4,831 mm (190.2 in)|
|Width||1,791 mm (70.5 in)|
|Height||1,394 mm (54.9 in)|
Developed alongside the Toyota Camry (XV20) from 1992 to 1996, the third-generation ES (designated MCV20) premiered in September 1996 for the 1997 model year, featuring a design (styled in 1993) that was an evolution of the VCV10. The new cars featured a 30 percent stiffer body with a more rakish profile and sharper lines, reflector headlights (as opposed to projector headlights), and a more upscale-feeling interior. Introduced at a gala event on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills hosted by actress Sharon Stone, the ES 300 featured one powertrain option, a 3.0-liter V6 capable of 150 kW (200 hp) and 290 N·m (214 lb·ft) of torque and a four-speed automatic – although a 147 kW (197 hp), 2.5-liter 2MZ-FE V6 was also offered in the equivalent Japanese-market Windom. The ES 300 could go from 0–97 km/h (0–60 mph) in 7.7 seconds. The third-generation ES was also slightly longer (overall length increased by 61.0-millimetre (2.4 in)) but weighed less than the previous model, and its drag coefficient was Cd=0.29, improved over its predecessor. For the first time, an Adaptive Variable Suspension, capable of adjusting individual wheels' dampers according to road conditions (within 0.0025 seconds), was offered.
Production commenced in August 1996 at the Tsutsumi plant in Toyota, Aichi, supplemented in May 1997 with the Miyata plant at Miyawaka, Fukuoka.
Inside the cabin, the ES 300 featured a new electroluminescent Lexus Optitron instrument panel, walnut trim, and leather seats. Other luxury standard features included heated outside mirrors and an automatic climate control system. A power moonroof, Nakamichi premium sound system with in-glove-box mounted CD changer, and heated seats were options.
The U.S. base price of the 1997 ES 300 was $30,395. The third-generation Lexus ES expanded upon the success of the previous generation model, reaching a record-setting 58,430 units in sales in its first year, and recording sales in the 35,000–50,000 range throughout its production run.
In 1997 for the 1998 model year, the ES received a few updates, mainly consisting of a revised supplemental restraint system (next generation), standard front row side-torso airbags, and force limiting seat belt pre-tensioners that were designed to tighten the front seat passengers into their seats upon impact. Transponder chips were now also used in the keys as to provide added protection from theft. The power rating grew to 157 kW (210 hp) in 1998 (1999 model year) due to the new 1MZ-FE engine with variable valve timing (VVT-i).
The Lexus IS was introduced to European markets in 1999 and became the luxury marque's entry-level model; by this time the Lexus ES was no longer sold in most European markets. Recent versions of the Lexus ES were sold in North America, Asia, and Australia.
There was a widespread engine oil gelling issue which could block oil from parts of the engine. After a US class action lawsuit, Toyota notified US owners that engines would be overhauled or replaced for free if damaged by the buildup of gelled oil.
The ES 300 received a mild facelift in 1999 for the 2000 model year that consisted of new, clear tail lights and turn signals, a revised front end with a new grill, headlights, and lower bumper with clear fog lights and larger alloy wheels. Inside, the interior received an electrochromatic mirror, more wood trim and slight revisions to the audio system. Xenon High-Intensity Discharge headlights with auto-leveling were now optional. From 1998 through 2001 (1999 to 2001 model years), a limited "Coach Edition" was offered, and in 1999 for 2000, a "Platinum Edition" package was offered, including power moonroof, unique interior trim, and custom alloy wheels.
|Drivetrain specifications by generation|
|Engine||2.5 L V6||3.0 L V6||3.0 L V6||3.0 L V6||3.3 L V6||3.5 L V6 (ES 350)||2.4 L I4 (ES 240)||3.5 L V6|
|Gears||4 (AT) or 5 (MT)||4 (AT) or 5 (MT)||4||5||5||6||5||6|
|Power||116 kW (156 hp)||138 kW (185 hp)||150 kW (200 hp)||160 kW (210 hp)||163 kW (219 hp)||203 kW (272 hp)||123 kW (165 hp)||200 kW (268 hp) @6200 rpm|
|Torque||220 N·m (160 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||264 N·m (195 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||290 N·m (210 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||300 N·m (220 lb·ft) @4400 rpm||330 N·m (240 lb·ft) @3600 rpm||346 N·m (255 lb·ft) @4700 rpm||224 N·m (165 lb·ft) @4000 rpm||336 N·m (248 lb·ft)@4700 rpm|