Digital door mirrors were once the preserve of futuristic concept cars. They recently started to appear on supercars and EVs, and now Lexus is offering them as an option for its ES executive saloon.
The ES, a relatively conventional (albeit hybridised) BMW 5 Series rival, uses tiny cameras mounted on stalks. Two five-inch colour monitors are positioned at the base of the front pillars, closely aligned with traditional mirror height.
Being much smaller and more aerodynamic than standard mirrors, there’s a tangible reduction in wind noise, plus an increase in efficiency. The system is only available on the top-spec ES Takumi for the moment.
The cameras can automatically reduce headlight glare and adapt to different conditions. They’re heated, to prevent freezing over, and there’s also a demister. For reversing, the monitors can present an extended view along the side and rear of the car. The driver can also turn this on manually, or disable it altogether.
The monitors can show reference lines, as you might see on a reversing camera, to help avoid kerbed wheels. Distance indicators can also be displayed when driving on the motorway.
So what does all this cleverness cost? Your ES 300h Takumi can have digital mirrors for an extra £1,600. Quite steep, then, and they don’t even retract into the car.
That’s a symptom, we suspect, of the fact that the ES wasn’t designed for digital mirrors from the outset, unlike the Honda e or McLaren Speedtail. No doubt if they did integrate into the doors, they’d be more expensive.