Lexus ES vs BMW 5 Sequence vs Volvo S90
In contrast with massive gamers Audi, BMW and Mercedes, Lexus is a relative minnow in relation to gross sales on this sector, however there’s proof that an outsider can obtain success right here.
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Simply take a look at Volvo with its S90 saloon. The Swedish mannequin is right here as a result of it blends fashionable design with house, efficiency with know-how and practicality with driving dynamics. So the Volvo proves it may be completed, and that is what the Lexus has to dwell as much as. If the ES can comply with within the S90’s footsteps, will probably be a profitable machine.
Nonetheless, the one competitor the Japanese newcomer must overcome whether it is to rise to the highest of the ultra-competitive govt saloon sector is the BMW 5 Sequence.
It’s nonetheless our favorite automobile on this class, however the Lexus is sporting some technological improvements that would assist the ES obtain its objective. Learn on to learn how it fares.
|Mannequin:||Lexus ES 300h F Sport|
|Engine:||2.5-litre 4cyl petrol/e-motor, 215bhp|
|Check financial system:||45.0mpg/9.9mpl|
|Annual highway tax:||£130|
The ES replaces the GS as the chief saloon providing in Lexus’s vary. At £38,150 for the 300h F Sport, it’s cheaper than its rivals, however nonetheless will get loads of equipment. Is it a greater proposition consequently?
Design & engineering
Beneath the pores and skin, the ES makes use of loads of components from the World Structure set-up that’s achieved loads of success with a lot of Toyota and Lexus’s new technology of vehicles. It’s based mostly on the model’s GA-Okay platform.
The 300h powertrain is the one possibility within the vary and combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine with an electrical motor to spice up the output. There’s a complete of 215bhp, which is 28bhp greater than the 520d and S90 D4.
Nonetheless, the Lexus additionally has to hold round a comparatively old-school Nickel-metal hydride battery, which isn’t as refined because the extra fashionable lithium-ion battery chemistry within the newest crop of plug-in hybrids. Nonetheless, this tech ought to present a lift in efficiency, whereas serving to preserve CO2 emissions comparatively low for an enormous saloon automobile.
Meaning it must be low cost to run, particularly as a result of it’s additionally a less expensive firm automobile than its rivals. But inside it feels it. Materials high quality is okay in elements, however not so nice in others. The plastic across the infotainment and the window switches on the doorways, specifically, appears and feels low cost.
You do get an excellent degree of kit in your cash, although, with satellite tv for pc navigation, heated electrical leather-based sports activities seats, parking sensors and a reversing digital camera, plus local weather and cruise management. There’s numerous security equipment as customary, however the ES lacks the most recent connectivity.
It’s clear that Lexus’s hybrid powertrains are bettering with each successive technology, and the ES 300h proves as a lot. Growth has improved the connection between the automobile and the driving force, with the CVT computerized transmission feeling extra direct. It’s nonetheless not the proper possibility, but it does at the least imply the powertrain is now extra responsive, whereas there’s a suitable degree of efficiency as properly.
With no gears – solely simulated ratio steps – we couldn’t file in-gear instances throughout the take a look at, however the ES 300h sprinted from 0-60mph in a decent 8.2 seconds, whereas it took 7.Three seconds to speed up from 30 to 70mph on full throttle; this latter take a look at was solely 0.1 seconds slower than the Volvo’s consequence.
Nonetheless, the increase from the electrical motor isn’t the strongest and it’s tough to maintain the ES happening electrical energy alone. It does give a small chunk of help within the background to fill in for the petrol engine’s deficiencies in relation to efficiency.
You possibly can take handbook management of the gearbox, however with no precise gears there’s not a lot level. As a substitute, preserve your enthusiasm in verify and the engine is refined, pulling without having to make use of numerous revs. Use most throttle and it’s extra audible, however not a lot noisier than a diesel rival. It’s simply the CVT holds the revs excessive consistently, so it’s extra intrusive.
The Lexus’s journey and dealing with are much less spectacular, although. It struggles for traction, which isn’t helped by its front-wheel-drive format, whereas the steering isn’t as correct because the BMW or Volvo’s and the physique management isn’t as taut, so the automobile loses its composure earlier than both take a look at competitor.
Over tough surfaces the Japanese saloon additionally fidgets extra aggressively, with fixed high- frequency actions transferred via the suspension into the cabin. This implies it jiggles round, the place the 5 Sequence, specifically, is far smoother and extra serene. Absorption of huge bumps can also be extra restricted than in its European rivals, however at the least at excessive velocity the engine is quiet.
Accommodating an enormous battery pack within the chassis means cabin house or boot capability goes to inevitably be barely compromised, and it’s within the baggage bay the place the ES suffers. With solely 454 litres out there, it’s a way down on its rivals’.
Open the rear door, slide inside and also you’ll discover that there’s loads of legroom, though headroom is tighter and appears disproportionate to the quantity of house to the seat in entrance.
The entrance of the cabin feels extra cramped, although. There’s an enormous ‘transmission tunnel’ and when you get a passable degree of storage, it’s not as apparent or as simply accessible as in both the S90 or 5 Sequence.
Lexus historically scores properly in our Driver Energy satisfaction surveys, and the model’s 2018 consequence was no totally different. It took prime spot in each the producer and seller polls.
Security is equally robust, with the ES incomes a full five-star Euro NCAP crash-test ranking. That’s due to having 10 airbags, autonomous braking, lane-keep help, adaptive cruise and auto excessive beam fitted as customary. But F Sport trim doesn’t get the choice of blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Gas financial system is supposed to be a hybrid power, and the Lexus carried out properly right here, equalling the Volvo’s 45.0mpg. A hybrid can also be a profit for enterprise customers, as a result of the decrease CO2 emissions – 106g/km on this case – put it in a extra inexpensive Profit-in-Sort tax band of 22 per cent, in contrast with 28 per cent and 29 per cent for the 119g/km BMW and 121g/km Volvo.
Firm automobile drivers paying tax on the greater charge will solely contribute £3,341 per yr to run the ES. That is less expensive than the £4,524 and £4,628 homeowners operating the S90 and 5 Sequence respectively pays.
Testers’ notes: “We had been shocked on the few areas of questionable high quality contained in the ES, however the infotainment system is an excellent larger frustration. That is all because of the touchpad interface.”
BMW 5 Sequence
|Mannequin:||BMW 520d M Sport|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 187bhp|
|Check financial system:||42.8mpg/9.4mpl|
|Annual highway tax:||£450|
The 520d is our favorite govt saloon, so the Lexus has nowhere to cover. This M Sport mannequin is dearer than the ES, at £41,585, however the 5 Sequence is such a proficient automobile that it might simply be price spending the additional money. Let’s discover out.
Design & engineering
The 5 Sequence is such a well-known nameplate and in its evolution into this seventh-generation mannequin (this one is codenamed G30), the German automobile has risen to the highest of its class.
It makes use of BMW’s CLAR (Cluster Structure) platform, and gives a selection of rear and four-wheel-drive choices. However we’re testing the two-wheel-drive 520d right here. The identical CLAR tech has been tailored for the brand new, smaller Three Sequence, and a great deal of light-weight supplies are used within the automobile to assist preserve the load right down to 1,530kg, so the BMW is 150kg lighter than the Lexus and 167kg lower than the Volvo.
That weight benefit helps with agility, as does the 5 Sequence’ suspension format. There are double wishbones on the entrance and a multi-link set-up on the rear. Our take a look at mannequin was additionally fitted with the £985 adaptive dampers that assist enhance the journey on our M Sport-trim automobile’s customary 18-inch alloys.
This 520d includes a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produces an equivalent 187bhp and 400Nm of torque to the Volvo, however the BMW is lighter, as we’ve seen, so full-throttle efficiency is superior to each its rivals’.
It’s wrapped up in a conservative-looking physique in contrast with extra fashionable BMW equipment, however this has been styled to assist effectivity, too. There are Energetic Air Stream kidney grilles and air curtains behind the entrance wheels to assist cut back drag and subsequently increase gasoline financial system.
You possibly can really feel the engineering integrity inside and from the best way it drives. High quality is powerful and whereas the cabin design is a bit stark, it’s additionally useful and feels luxurious. That’s helped by the tally of ordinary equipment.
All 5 Sequence fashions include local weather and cruise management, Bluetooth, DAB radio, LED headlights, entrance and rear parking sensors and heated leather-based seats. Additionally fitted as customary are a digital sprint and BMW’s ConnectedDrive companies, plus the Skilled Navigation infotainment set-up, which is excellent.
Having the bottom kerbweight of this trio helped the BMW obtain the very best efficiency stats at our take a look at monitor. The 0-60mph dash took 6.9 seconds, which is pretty fast for a big diesel saloon, but it surely’s the in-gear exams that spotlight the pliability of the 520d.
From 30 to 50mph – simulating accelerating out of a city or village – the 5 Sequence simply had a bonus over the Volvo, and its figures between 50 and 70mph affirm that will probably be the sharper automobile for overtakes and getting in control on the motorway.
And it’s on a high-speed highway the place the BMW is a consummate cruiser. It’s refined, the engine is hushed (it drones just a little when it’s labored laborious, however no extra so than the S90’s motor) and the eight-speed computerized transmission is snappy and easy. You nearly by no means really feel prefer it’s within the mistaken gear for the scenario. The automobile’s chassis balances efficiency, consolation and refinement equally properly. With the dampers of their softest setting, the BMW is easy and managed, absorbing cracks and crevices within the highway with a comparatively deft contact.
Physique management is good, which implies the steering is essentially the most direct of our take a look at trio’s, even when it feels imprecise and gives little in the best way of suggestions. None of those vehicles is especially communicative, although.
The BMW’s dynamism comes from its chassis. There’s agility right here that the ES and S90 can’t match, plus delicate adjustability meaning the 520d feels extra partaking extra of the time. Its trick is to ship this with out compromising in different areas.
The BMW’s 530-litre boot is the most important on take a look at, which additionally makes it extra versatile than the Lexus’s, but you don’t pay a worth inside for passenger room. The rear is spacious and whereas there’s not as a lot legroom as within the ES, it’s greater than enough. It’s additionally loftier, so taller passengers shall be extra snug.
Within the entrance, the driving place is the very best of our three contenders as properly, whereas it’s additionally essentially the most snug. Nonetheless, the BMW does really feel like a bodily giant automobile. The S90 gives higher visibility.
House inside for trinkets is a match for the Volvo, with a pair of cup-holders and a tray in entrance of the gearlever that doubles because the wi-fi smartphone charging space, which is a £475 possibility. The door bins are additionally giant sufficient to carry massive bottles.
BMW completed in 21st place out of 26 within the makers’ chart of our Driver Energy 2018 satisfaction survey, whereas Volvo was 13th. The German model’s official franchises additionally trailed within the seller ballot, rating 19th out of the 28 marques, with Volvo taking ninth place. Lexus achieved prime spot in each classes.
The 5 Sequence doesn’t get fairly as a lot security equipment as both rival. Autonomous braking is included, however blind spot warning, lane-keep help and cross-traffic alert are all a part of the £895 Driving Assistant pack.
Each the Lexus and Volvo managed 45.0mpg, however as a result of the previous is petrol and the latter is diesel they’ll price round £1,449 and £1,561 to gasoline a yr respectively.
The BMW returned 42.8mpg, which implies an annual diesel invoice over 12,000 miles of round £1,642 based mostly on these figures. It’s price it for the additional capability.
Testers’ notes: Choices price fascinated with embrace a reversing digital camera (£375), energy tailgate (£430) and Apple CarPlay (£235). Nonetheless, we’d keep away from extras such because the gimmicky gesture management, at £160.”
|Mannequin:||Volvo S90 D4 R-Design|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 187bhp|
|Check financial system:||45.0mpg/9.9mpl|
|Annual highway tax:||£140|
Volvo’s S90 succeeded in becoming a member of a gaggle of proficient machines within the govt saloon class, holding its personal on advantage. That’s precisely what the brand new ES is aiming to do, so this £39,260 S90 in D4 R-Design trim is an excellent benchmark for the Lexus. How does the Volvo stack up as compared?
Design & engineering
The S90 makes use of a lot of the know-how that has helped to ascertain Volvo as a premium participant. The primary automobile to take action was the XC90 SUV, which went on to take our 2015 Automobile of the Yr crown, and the S90 packages those self same successful elements in a wise exec saloon physique.
Beneath the sharply-styled exterior is Volvo’s Scalable Product Structure (SPA) platform, which was designed solely with four-cylinder engines (plus plug-in hybrids) in thoughts. Unsurprisingly, this D4 2.0-litre turbodiesel is the most well-liked engine possibility, and though its 187bhp is just a little down on the ES’s output, it matches the BMW; and for torque as properly, with 400Nm. As with the Lexus, energy is shipped to the entrance wheels via an eight-speed auto field.
The SPA platform employs double wishbones on the entrance, however a extra uncommon transverse leaf spring design on the rear, with an ‘integral hyperlink’ set-up.
In addition to carving out its personal engineering type with its newest spherical of vehicles, Volvo has created its personal design signature, identical to Lexus. That is apparent inside, the place the S90’s cabin is detailed fantastically.
You get leather-based, good infotainment, respectable security tech and an incredible selection of trim combos to present it a extra particular person really feel, identical to the ES. R-Design spec matches the F Sport Lexus and M Sport 5 Sequence and is competitively priced, at £39,260. On prime of the above, it gives parking sensors, adaptive cruise, LED lights, local weather management, a digital dashboard and nav, DAB radio and Bluetooth. There are additionally heated leather-based seats, keyless operation and an influence tailgate, so it simply matches the Lexus and shades the BMW.
On customary 18-inch wheels the S90 rides sweetly, even with this R-Design mannequin’s lowered sports activities chassis. It’s extra snug than the Lexus, with smoother, plusher-feeling damping that enables the Volvo to maneuver extra in concord with the highway, relatively than being jarred by it just like the Lexus typically is.
Now and again it’s much more compliant than the 5 Sequence, however hit an aggressive, sharp bump and the S90 shudders greater than the BMW does. The response is analogous within the Lexus, whereas the 520d is extra constant. The steering is mild and plentiful grip means the S90 will change path with precision and greater than sufficient agility for a automobile of this dimension. As with the 5 Sequence, the sweetness is that this doesn’t actually come on the expense of consolation.
The transmission isn’t fairly nearly as good because the BMW’s, although. Shifts aren’t as swift and it’s just a little extra hesitant when shifting off, however on the entire it’s properly matched to the engine. The Volvo sprinted from 0-60mph in 7.7 seconds, half a second faster than the Lexus. Nevertheless it nonetheless couldn’t match the BMW’s time.
Regardless of their equivalent engine output, the 520d nonetheless asserted its authority in gear. Between 50 and 70mph the Volvo trailed the BMW by just a few tenths to half a second, though the 520d’s taller eighth ratio meant the S90 did have the benefit right here.
However efficiency continues to be robust sufficient that you just gained’t really feel short-changed on the transfer. It’s simply that the engine drones greater than the 520d’s when it’s revved laborious. In any other case, refinement is powerful; it’s definitely superior to that of the Lexus.
A 500-litre boot provides the S90 a baggage house benefit over the ES, but it surely’s nonetheless down on the bigger 5 Sequence. Nonetheless, the load bay ought to provide sufficient quantity for many conditions – solely weeks away will actually take a look at its limits. Additionally, an influence tailgate is customary, whereas it’s an non-obligatory function on each rivals.
Inside, the Volvo isn’t fairly as giant because the Lexus – there’s much less legroom however extra headroom, and it’s an identical story within the BMW. There’s little to separate the 2 European saloons right here, so passengers shall be snug at the back of each, even on longer journeys.
Practicality is enhanced by a big lidded storage tray inside that provides house for telephones and wallets (plus someplace for the fob – it’s keyless go), whereas the door bins are an excellent dimension. They’re not as sculpted because the BMW’s, so there’s extra room to retailer objects.
Volvo is thought for its concentrate on security and, with its newest vehicles, just like the S90, that is stronger than ever. You get seven airbags, plus autonomous braking with pedestrian and bike owner detection as customary.
The S90 gives a lane-keeping assist, site visitors signal recognition and two programs that stop the automobile from straying off the highway and prime it to guard you if it does. You may also improve with a £500 pack that provides blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and AEB for reverse. With all that fitted, it’s no shock the S90 scored 5 stars from Euro NCAP.
Volvo completed mid-table in our Driver Energy 2018 survey, taking 13th place. It couldn’t match Lexus’s efficiency, and neither might BMW.
Many individuals will purchase on PCP and depreciation will have an effect on month-to-month costs. Nevertheless it’ll be an even bigger concern for money patrons. The Volvo is predicted to retain 48.1 per cent, which is a lack of £20,384 over three years/36,000 miles. The BMW retains an anticipated 46.6 per cent, but it surely’s pricier, so is predicted to lose £22,206. The ES (45.9 per cent) will shed £20,651 over the identical interval.
Testers’ notes: “We’d follow the usual 18-inch alloy wheels if we had been shopping for the Volvo. The non-obligatory 20-inch rims look good, however they’re an costly possibility, at £1,700, and degrade the S90’s journey high quality.”
First place: BMW 5 Sequence
That is the 5 Sequence’ area, and the 520d M Sport trim we examined is an outstanding govt saloon with an upmarket really feel. It takes the victory right here. The BMW was pushed laborious by the cheaper Volvo, though the German automobile’s superior dealing with, house and infotainment – to not point out its efficiency benefit – outweigh the slight effectivity deficit. We predict it’s price paying the additional money.
Second place: Volvo S90
Volvo managed to affix the established crop of govt saloons when it launched the S90, and it’s simple to see why. The Swedish mannequin rides and handles sweetly, feels particular person and is a high- high quality product, whereas it additionally balances practicality with efficiency and doesn’t scrimp on customary tech or gear, both. It’s an excellent automobile that’s simply edged out by the BMW.
Nevertheless it’s a extra particular person selection.
Third place: Lexus ES
The ES is roomy within the rear seats and the hybrid powertrain seems like one more step ahead for the model. However whereas the Lexus is generally snug, it doesn’t journey in addition to both of its rivals right here. Its boot can also be smaller and practicality is subsequently just a little extra restricted, too. Nonetheless, it’s the woeful infotainment and some areas of questionable high quality within the cabin that basically maintain it again in opposition to this proficient opposition.
Different choices on this class…
Mannequin: Mercedes E 220 d AMG Line
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 191bhp
These two rivals spotlight how the German manufacturers have had the chief saloon sector sewn up for therefore lengthy. The E 220 d boasts comparable energy, lots of boot house, loads of tech and a stunning cabin. AMG Line spec will get numerous equipment, too.
Mannequin: Audi A6 40 TDI S line
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 201bhp
The Audi A6 allies much more boot house, at 565 litres, with an aesthetic however reserved inside, a stable powertrain and a easy journey. It’s not as rewarding to drive as a 5 Sequence, however continues to be superb and betters the BMW in different areas with nice tech.
|BMW 520d M Sport||Volvo S90 D4 R-Design||Lexus ES 300h F Sport|
|On the highway worth/complete as examined||£41,585/£44,770||£39,260/£45,210||£38,150/£39,420|
|Residual worth (after Three years/36,000)||£19,379/46.6%||£18,876/48.1%||£17,499/45.9%|
|Annual tax legal responsibility std/greater charge||£2,314/£4,628||£2,262/£4,524||£1,670/£3,341|
|Annual gasoline price (12ok/20ok miles)||£1,642/£2,736||£1,561/£2,602||£1,449/£2,414|
|Insurance coverage group/quote/VED||31/£526/£450||30/£564/£140||34/£571/£130|
|Price of 1st/2nd/third service||£399 (Three years)||£325/£515/£325||£265/£495/£265 (est.)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,995cc||4cyl in-line/1,969cc||4cyl/2,487cc/e-motor|
|Peak energy/revs||187/4,000 bhp/rpm||187/4,250 bhp/rpm||215/5,700 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||400/1,750 Nm/rpm||400/1,750 Nm/rpm||221/3,600 Nm/rpm^|
|Transmission||8-speed auto/rwd||8-speed auto/fwd||CVT computerized/fwd|
|Gas tank capability/spare wheel||66 litres/restore equipment||55 litres/restore equipment||50 litres/restore equipment|
|Boot capability||530 litres||500 litres||454 litres|
|Turning circle||12.1 metres||11.Eight metres||12.6 metres|
|Primary guarantee (miles)/restoration||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Driver Energy producer/seller pos.||21st/19th||13th/ninth||1st/1st|
|0-60/30-70mph||6.9/6.7 secs||7.7/7.2 secs||8.2/7.Three secs|
|30-50mph in third/4th||2.7/3.1 secs||3.0/3.9 secs||2.9 secs**|
|50-70mph in fifth/sixth/seventh/eighth||4.4/5.5/6.8/11.Four secs||4.9/5.8/7.5/10.Three secs||4.Three secs**|
|High velocity/rpm at 70mph||146mph/1,600rpm||140mph/1,750rpm||112mph/N/A|
|Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph||46.9/34.3/8.9 metres||45.2/30.4/8.9 metres||49.9/36.2/8.9 metres|
|Auto Categorical econ. (mpg/mpl)/vary||42.8/9.4/621 miles||45.0/9.9/544 miles||45.0/9.9/495 miles|
|WLTP gasoline consumption (med)||48.7mpg/10.7mpl||48.7mpg/10.7mpl||48.7mpg/10.7mpl|
|Precise/claimed CO2/tax bracket||177/119g/km/28%||168/121g/km/29%||145/106g/km/22%|
|Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/digital camera||Six/sure/sure/£375||Seven/sure/sure/£400||10/sure/sure/sure|
|Auto field/lane-keep/blind spot/AEB||Y/£895*/£895*/y||Sure/sure/£500*/sure||Sure/sure/no/sure|
|Local weather/cruise ctrl/leather-based/heated seats||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/adaptive/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure/sure|
|Met paint/LEDs/keyless/pwr tailgate||£685/sure/£695/£430||£700/sure/£575/sure||£920/sure/£4,000*|
|Nav/digi sprint/DAB/related companies||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/no/sure/sure|
|Wi-fi cost/CarPlay/Android Auto||£475/£235/no||No/£300*/£300*||£700*/no/no|