The original Lexus ES was launched alongside its big-brother LS in 1989 and, while the LS garnered most of the headlines, then and since, the front-wheel-drive ES has continued through five generations as the best-selling Lexus sedan in the U.S. market – by a significant margin. Here in Canada it's now outsold by its sportier rear-drive IS sibling, although not by much.
All of which makes the debut of the sixth-generation 2016 ES at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show on April 20 an important event for Lexus.
Throughout its life the ES has been based on the same architecture as the Toyota Camry – not necessarily a bad thing – but it has grown progressively more distinct from the Camry in appearance.
Based on the single teaser photo of the 2016 model released by the company, it will go even further to distinguish itself from its step-kin.
The photo suggests the new ES will take the design of the brand's controversial – some might say bizarre – 'spindle grille' concept to an even more dramatic extreme.
The new car also gets more angular and deep-set headlights incorporating exaggerated L-shaped LED daytime running lamps.
There's little more we can tell from the photo but, given Lexus's other recent new-vehicle launches, don't expect that the ES's stylists wimped out on the rest of the design.
Nothing has been released about the new car's powerplants, but it's reasonable to assume they'll parallel those of the recently revealed RX, which offers a 300-horspower variant of the venerable Lexus 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
The current ES 300h hybrid uses Toyota's corporate 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder as its gasoline powerplant.
Primary competitors for the ES include the Acura TLX, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac XTS and Lincoln MKZ.
We'll learn more about the new ES on April 20.