First Drive: Lexus IS250C and IS350C |

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First Drive: Lexus and IS350C

Can Lexus inject passion into the brand models like the 2010 convertible?

Let’s face it, you think about passionate car Lexus is not the first to come to Among luxury marques, BMW, possibly Audi immediately pop into your Toyota’s luxury division is all quality, reliability and, the brand you think of for folks who reliable automotive appliances.

At that’s how things were for of the maker’s first two decades.  The Lexus LS is a perfect example.  loaded with luxury and routinely wins the quality but it’s certainly no 7-Series it comes to spirited driving.

the IS, the entry-luxury sedan first in 2000, and updated five later.  It’s steadily into a car that, while not yet the match of a 3-er, certainly can be as “spirited.”  Last year’s of the V-8-powered IS-F boosted the bona fides.  Now comes the Lexus IS250C and IS350C

Lexus will launch the ISC line-up, later this for a base price of $38,490.

We several days along the coast of Los Angeles testing out the new and if this is any indication of where is heading, it may be making all the right as it begins its third decade.  the ISC twins boast the sort of and apparent quality one expects out of marque, they’re likely to win a lot of new fans – not just to Lexus but to the of everyday, top-down driving.

If you’re already familiar the Lexus IS, the look of the IS250C and won’t catch you entirely by but with the folding hardtop in it is a bit different in appearance than the versions of the IS line. And so you’d considering the only piece of metal shared with the is the hood.  Even the front is revised slightly, with fog lamps.

The 2010 Lexus and IS350C convertibles can be dressed up a variety of new F-Sport accessories.

can dress things up even by ticking the boxes for a variety of new accessories, from wheels to handles, borrowed from the line.)

The rear deck lid is a bit and, nose-to-tail, the Cabrio measure 182.5 inches, 2.2 inches longer than the sedan.  The added length is in the explains Paul Wiliamsen, of the of Toyota, “so our stylists could get the they wanted and keep a trunk.”

The 3-piece top uses an impressive 15 and 37 sensors to enact its origami act in 20 seconds.  With it tucked there’s enough space in the for a couple duffel bags or a set of golf clubs.  Pack and you could get away for a cozy even without dumping in the rear seat.  And those two buckets could actually a couple adults, by the way, to those extra two inches of length.

The IS line, on the whole, is of the unusual Lexus strategy of two entry-luxury models.  (There’ll be a offering in this segment the new HS250h hybrid sedan market, later this As such, the interior doesn’t quite the lavish look of the GS or high-line LS models, but the IS is nonetheless for its segment.  The sloping dashboard is a bit too plastic for our taste, but the low-gloss and tasteful graining help, as do the bits of “wood” trim the cabin.

The 3-piece metal of the 2010 Lexus IS250C and will fold up or down in 20 seconds.

Controls are generally and the gauges are attractive and easy to Our one big complaint – and it is a significant one – is with the big LCD at the top of the center stack.  With the top up, the is easy to use and boasts phenomenal but when driving al fresco, it washes out, even on a coastal morning.  That it near impossible to follow the state-of-the-art mapping display, or to use the system.  Too bad, there, as we up giving up trying to find music after plugging in our

Speaking of music, even the audio system has been on the IS convertible, and automatically adjusts to the in conditions when the top is up-or-down.  (So the climate control system, by the Given a few extra bucks in our we’d immediately opt for the top-line Levinson audio package, delivers 270 watts of music a 12-speaker, 5.1-channel surround configuration.  The 2010 Lexus IS also introduces Bluetooth for those new MP3 players and phones offer this feature.

2 inches to the overall length of the IS a functional trunk and a usable seat.


As you’d expect Lexus, there’s an alphabet of safety systems: ABS brakes, BA – or assist – TRAC traction and control, and so on.  There are front, knee and seat and special gel-filled energy-absorbing for back seat passengers.  the ’10 convertible, Lexus also HAC, or Hill-start Assist If you’re nose up on a steep simply press the brake a bit harder than normal and the car hold in place, for a few seconds, rolling backwards.

There are a plenty of accessories if you’re willing to nudge up the base $38,490 for the Lexus and $43,940 for the Lexus IS350C.  another $875 for delivery and or DD, charges.)  There’s everything Pre-Collision, which can help and respond to an imminent accident, to cruise to 18-inch wheels and a camera.

Only a single of sheet metal — the — is shared between the IS and the new ISC convertible line.

The heart of the is a new, Direct-Injection 2.5-liter V-6 makes a peppy 204 horsepower and 185 of torque.  It can be mated to either a automatic or a 6-speed stick.  We several hours driving the package and it’s a lot more fun the numbers might suggest.  In despite the added 340 pounds of the hardtop, the “base” IS convertible is a fun-to-drive automobile.  It’s off the light and with the various options available, it could to be the real tuner car in the series.  At the time, it’s a good for the mileage-minded buyer, delivering 21 mpg town and 29 on the highway.

For that extra $5,500, the Lexus IS350C delivers an of added standard features – and a V-6 that boasts an unusual injection system.  Offered with a 6-speed automatic, it an impressive 306 hp and 277 lb-feet of torque.  a real serious performer on the highway, will get you into territory far faster than you expect.

The suspension of the convertible has tweaked, but maintains the multi-link and double-wishbone rear layout.  In corners, the convertible surprised us how flat a turn it could But around town, the suspension quite effective at soaking up the as well.  Steering is precise and just the right amount of without eliminating road

Is the IS convertible a match for the BMW 3-cabrio?  It doesn’t match the passionate of the Bavarian offering. It’s not quite up to the handling and throttle of the Bimmer.  But it comes far closer you might expect from a bearing the Lexus badge.  And you consider that you can get into the LS350C for about what pay for a base BMW convertible, there are to be a number of potential buyers who at the very least, take a pause.

The new IS cabriolet is a markedly better, mainstream exercise than the and ungainly SC convertible. If this is the Lexus plans to continue in, the 2010 IS250C and IS350C are definitely worth a closer They’re fun, affordable and be rolling, top-down, into nearest Lexus showroom this month.

To find out about where Lexus is click here for a new QA with General Manager Mark

This entry was posted on May 15th, 2009 at and is filed Automobiles. You can follow any responses to entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. comments and pings are currently


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