Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins, Photos by Garvin St Villier
Launched in the US in 1989, Lexus continues to attract a diverse and extremely loyal consumer base while staying ahead of the curve in the fields of technology and innovation. With its newfangled Black Line Special Edition, Japanese opulence presents itself in every aspect, from the design evolution to distinctive interior materials aimed towards sensory stimulation. My 2021 Lexus ES 350 F SPORT Black Line Special Edition test car arrived in an Obsidian outer hue with an exquisite two-tone white and black offset interior with gray stitching. The Lexus experience was perfect for seven days.
My wife and I were owners of a 6th generation ES (also in black) and loved that sporty sedan. Hence, it is gratifying witnessing the brand’s evolution right before our very eyes. For the ES, Lexus product planners utilized lessons from their flagship LS. They applied some of those techniques, such as utilizing premium materials and attention to detail with the distinctive one-piece spindle grille design. A few critical elements of change between the old and the new include a lowered roofline, a longer wheelbase, an overall longer, lower, wider body, and triple-beam LED headlamps.
This specific vehicle targets Lexus loyalists and manifests from the aggressive F SPORT, which first collaborated with the ES on the 2019 model. In this case, the Jet Black and dark trim mesh grille with interlocking “L”s replaced the standard grille and showcases dual-spoke 19” split-five-spoke alloy rims, a rear spoiler, and aluminum pedals. You will also find exclusive bolstered seats designed for lateral support, leather-wrapped shift knob, the F SPORT meter, and the F SPORT Adaptive Variable Suspension that adjusts thousands of times per second. Additionally, Drive Mode Select inherits Custom, Sport S, and Sport S+ to the small rotary dial above the power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. On the road, I felt the Lexus react with more focus and control with Sport S engaged, especially when using the paddle shifters. However, keep in mind the F SPORT enhancements are mostly cosmetic with no additional power. Enthusiasts of select edition models typically enjoy increased horses, bigger brakes, and engaging exhaust systems, so hopefully, we will see this in the future.
Offered in three exterior hues — Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0, Obsidian, and Ultra White — Lexus will produce a limited run of 1,500 units for the ES 350 F SPORT Black Line Special Edition. Nevertheless, the black-on-black is a menacing look for a vehicle already donning the proper sports sedan physique. This package blacks out the mirror caps, F SPORT rims, and rear lip spoiler. It features the aforementioned unique interior and a fashionable two-piece set of luggage from Zero Halliburton’s Edge Lightweight Collection. The “Zero Halliburton for Lexus” integrates a black Edge Lightweight 22” Continental Carry-on and a black 26” Medium Travel Case with a laser-etched chrome logo badge, an embossed Lexus leather logo badge, and a Lexus grille motif. I need this set for my 100,000 annual business travel miles.
The 2021 ES 350 F Sport Black Line Special Edition’s performance stems from the equivalent ES 350 3.5-liter DOHC with the D-4S fuel injection system and the Direct Shift 8-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission pairing. The efficient V6 produces 302-horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque while offering 31-highway mpg. F SPORT Black Line’s steering inputs from the rack assist Electric Power Steering were on point, and acceleration certainly felt much quicker than its 0-to-60 time of 6.6 seconds. More importantly, AWD is now available on the 2021 Lexus ES 250 AWD. A few years ago, I wished for an AWD ES model to give owners living in inclement weather states better traction options. Lexus, please bring it to Black Line.
Inside the perforated NuLuxe and Hadori Aluminum trimmed cabin is provocative elegance from the Lexus perspective. Centerstage is the dash-embedded 12.3” Electro Multi Vision color display. It is the nucleus of the ES and houses navigation, apps, audio, and communications. The square Remote Interface pad controls most of the operations, and an informational 10.2” color Heads-up Display allows for more focus on the road. Studio audio stems from an impressive 17-speaker Mark Levinson Pure Play premium surround system highlighting parent company HARMAN’s Clari-Fi technology that restores original recording quality. Lexus furthermore includes Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, and Verizon Wi-Fi into the infotainment features.
Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 provides you with protection and security by way of Daytime Bicyclist Detection, All-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Road Sign Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Assist, Frontal Collision System, and much more. Connected Services includes three complimentary years of Lexus Enform Safety Connect and ten years of Lexus Enform Service Connect.
Starting at $46,550, these are impressive attributes for a 2021 ES 350 F SPORT Black Line Special Edition that is already impressive in totality. Well done, Lexus!