First-ever IS droptop
Ten years after the first Lexus
IS rolled into dealer showrooms, Lexus is finally following its competitors and offering an IS convertible, and it's a hardtop, just like the ones from BMW
, and Infiniti
. The IS350C and IS250C, which hit dealers in late May, "give us an opportunity to compete in an area we've never competed in before," says Mark Templin, group vice president & general manager of the Lexus division. "We get to unleash our darker side with the IS C."
Marketing-speak aside, Lexus, being last to the table, had the luxury of watching everyone else introduce their convertibles first. Lexus must have been taking notes, because the IS convertible is a sweet piece. The retracting roof opens in only twenty seconds and doesn't produce the same sort of awkward thumping sounds as its competitors while doing so, thanks to a complex system with fifteen electric motors and 37 sensors that monitor top movement. Lexus claims it's the fastest-opening three-piece metal hard top in the world. What's more, once the top is down, the IS C offers the most accessible trunk space in its class.
Rigid and rewarding
The engineering team's main goal was to maintain the IS sedan's driving performance while insuring a great experience for the driver, whether the top is up or down. Maintaining structural rigidity in convertibles is always tricky, but by adding two major cross beams---one under the rear seat, and the other behind the rear seat headrests---Lexus was able to keep the IS impressively rigid. Surprisingly, the only body panel the IS convertible shares with its sedan brother is the hood; all other panels were created specifically for the convertible, including the two huge doors. Which begs the question; will we ever see a Lexus IS coupe? "We're not here to announce anything, but I can't say we haven't already looked into it," says Templin.
Starts at less than $40K
The Lexus IS250C starts at $38,490, making it the only hardtop luxury convertible below $39,000. The IS350C starts at $43,940.