Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
feels tauter, responds more authoritatively to steering direction, and emits a meaner sound
his is more freeway cruiser than canyon carver, and it seems everything about this car is more biased toward a smooth ride than making the driver's heart beat faster.
Edmunds' Inside Line
easy and quiet acceleration
responds to steering inputs quickly and accurately, with only minor body motion at sane road speeds
The Auto Channel
Steering is precise, and the soft ride is smooth, without being sloppy
Comfort and true luxury-car refinement are the priorities in the 2012 Lexus ES 350, so it should come as no surprise that performance takes second stage—except in straight-line acceleration, where it doesn't interfere.
In some ways the ES 350 is epitome of a classic luxury car—serene and soft, but not at all bouncy, with a powertrain that moves you along quickly but almost silently. The strong, 272-horsepower V-6 (which no longer requires premium fuel) is surprisingly responsive and satisfying in combination with the six-speed automatic transmission, and it can dash to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds.
Handling is competent and predictable, but the ES 350 steers with a light, detached feel and you'll feel no urge to drive it fast around corners, as there's lots of body roll and ample tire squeal. The steering's also a bit too light on center, which means you'll be making frequent adjustments on the highway. That said, you couldn't do much better for a highway cruiser.
The 2012 Lexus ES 350 has strong, confident performance, provided the road is straight.