But what is it?
The Lexus ES received a mid-life update for the 2021 model year and yet Toyota's luxury brand has just announced the "new" ES will have its world premiere later this month at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show. A teaser image and video have been released but a close examination of both shows the same vehicle. The front headlight image and the rear end shot from the video matches the styling of the 2021 model, which has been on sale for a few months.
It's certainly possible a new trim will be unveiled even though the ES 250 was added for 2021 that also introduced an all-wheel drive option.
Whatever Lexus has planned for the ES, it'll premiere alongside the LF-Z Electrified Concept, a radical-looking EV SUV that previews the brand's new styling direction while packing advanced AI technology. Lexus aims to launch 20 "new or improved models," including 10 battery-electrics, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, by 2025.
The just-teased ES is probably part of those 20 models. Currently available in three flavors - ES, ES F Sport, and Hybrid - the 2022 model could possibly add a PHEV variant, which could be the teaser we're looking at. This is purely speculation on our part.
Still, it makes no sense to have a global premiere for a vehicle that was just updated for the current model year and can be purchased at any Lexus dealership right now. An ES PHEV reveal would explain things. It's definitely not an all-electric version because we can see the sedan's rear exhaust outlets in the video.
The seventh-generation ES was launched for the 2019 model year and shares a platform with the Toyota Avalon. The non-hybrids come powered by either a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 302 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque or a 2.5-liter inline-four with 203 hp and 184 lb-ft. The hybrid, which is more efficient than last year's model, consists of a 2.5-liter inline-four and an electric motor. Expect 2022 model year answers to arrive on April 19.