It’s hard to fault the 2010 Lexus ES 350. There is no hint of rattle. The suspension feels as though it would take the worst New England washboard roads with aplomb. The steering is responsive and precise, and the handling crisp at modestly extra-legal speeds on Clifton VA’s marvelously twisty, hilly byways, despite 3,600 lbs of mass–almost parsimonious in this age of bloat–although you get the feeling you might begin to push the limits of crisp if you go much faster around here.
When you punch the gas the six-speed slushbox practically says “yes sir!” and salutes as it downshifts, and the melodiously burbling 272 hp, 3.5 L V6 blasts off. The ES has as much power as the South Seas had breadfruit back in Captain Bligh’s day. I mean, I can’t help thinking it would have blown The Rip Chords’ “Hey Little Cobra” right off of the track, along with the Stingray that the Cobra shut down back during the LBJ administration.
Oh, it would be nice to have RWD, as when you whomp the fun-pedal you feel the nagging symptoms of pull-power, a little bit of steering this way and that from cracks in the road, although I didn’t spin the tires once, a problem that plagued me with a VW Eos and other FWD fun cars. It’s actually amazing what this thing can do despite the absence of an optimal power train configuration. And if Heaven bestows it upon you, you are not going to sell it for the cash and hang onto your old WRX or whatever performance sedan from at least five years ago currently gives you your jollies.
Or maybe you might. Inside the Lexus there is space and comfort front and back, despite my elongated torso, which pushes my scalp to the roof in just about anything with a sunroof, and in this thing, too, though barely. But the damn greenhouse has such narrow slits that I feel like I’m in a space capsule, which would be fine if that were the moon down there. But it’s not the moon, it’s just Northern Virginia. Still, it’s beautiful out here in horse country. But even on the blasted Beltway, driving by Tyson’s Corner, I prefer to see my surroundings, and not just navigate through them.
Thanks to Will Meyer, of sureshotinc.com, Arlington, VA, for letting some maniac drive his car for TTAC