DETROIT, MI -- Lexus has joined the hard top convertible crowd. Last spring, the company introduced the IS 250/350C. Of course, that last letter stands for convertible.
Like most hard top drop tops, the car has a different silhouette than the IS 250/350 sedan upon which it is based. The roof line has less height and the trunk line is higher. Still, without the seams in the roof it's difficult to point out a Lexus' convertible hard top with the top up.
The top separates into three parts and folds into the trunk in 21 seconds. I got the car with winter approaching, so I wasn't worried about how fast the top folded into the trunk. However, I did note that there was bit of room behind were the top would fold into the trunk for a duffle or roll on bag.
My IS 250C was had a 2.5 liter six speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. A six-manual gearbox is also available. The engine made 204 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. The combination gave the IS 250C sporty driving dynamics.
By that I mean it was not Lexus smooth. In other words, I felt the road which is a good thing in terms of fun driving. As someone said to me, I felt what the car was doing.
It was quick, cornered well, rode smoothly and handled nicely.
Still, my test car was silky smooth. The engine was unbelievably quiet, gear shits were imperceptible and if not for the world whizzing by, I would not have known the car was moving from the sound of the engine.
For more oomph, the IS 350C provides 306 horsepower and 277 pounds-feet of torque. A six speed automatic is the only transmission available.
The car had an aluminum top. It saves weight and allows very quicker deployment and retraction. With the car up, I found the car pretty quiet. One complaint about convertible hard tops is that block out all the noise that you'd think since the top is hard. Still, the IS 250C wasn't bad.
Although the back seats looked like they were just for show, I got in there surprised at the head room. It wasn't much but I could set up straight. The IS 250C's back seats could accommodate two adults, with the top up. But I would not advise it for a long ride. Looks do deceive.
I was surprised when the driver seat slid and then folded forwarded with the push of a button for easy access; then slid back into place. My test vehicle was loaded. It had satellite radio, a rearview camera, bush button access and plus push button start stop.
The front set of seats were power, heated and cooled and were they really comfortable. There was a navigation system and a premium audio system with USB plug, hands free cell phone connection and Xenon headlights.
A pre-collision system and radar cruise control are also available. That's just some of the IS 250C's equipment. Still, I wish I could have gotten the car when it was warmer. The real deal is that convertible top. Well, there's always next summer.
The base price of the Lexus Is 250C was $39,660. But add optional equipment, a delivery charge and the cost of my test vehicle cane to $48,200.