Lexus has added a four-cylinder variant to its ES sedan range as part of a mid-life makeover.

The importer for Taiwan and China today revealed the new ES240 as well as a facelift for the ES350. The front-wheel drive ES, a rebodied Camry, has long been Lexus’ best-selling car in the US and Canada but has never been sold in Europe. It is built in Japan.

The current generation ES was launched at the Chicago motor show in February 2006 and had a minor update for North America’s 2008 model year but until now, all versions have had a standard 272hp 3.5 litre V6.

Although there is no official word as yet from Toyota Motor Sales (USA), it would be surprising if the 2.4-litre variant wasn’t part of the as yet unannounced 2010 model year ES range. The ES could certainly do with a boost. US market sales are off dramatically so far this year, with only 5,629 units sold in August, that tally accounting for almost half of Lexus’ passenger car sales last month.

Glenn Brooks