Here at The Garage we’ve been tracking the second convertible in the history of Lexus, the IS250C and IS350C. At the IMPA Test Days press event held in the Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania, I was able to sample the IS250C. The IS convertible is based on the IS sedan, but the only body part shared in common is the hood. Still, the convertible is instantly recognizable as a Lexus, and a member of the IS family. Fitted with the optional 18″ graphite alloys, the IS embodies the Lexus design language in its most pure form-cool and sophisticated.
In transforming the IS sedan platform to a hardtop convertible, it is obvious Lexus did its homework. Top up, the car is nearly silent, and utterly composed. Top down, conversation between passengers is easy. It goes without saying that the cabin is a study in luxury, no doubt helped by the optional Luxury Package and Navi the tester was equipped with.
The IS250C is powered by a 2.5L V-6, rated at rather sedate 204hp, paired to a 6-speed automatic. Compared to the competition, the IS250 is the least powerful. In driving the IS250, the car is no slouch, but I wouldn’t call it quick. The V-6 is smooth throughout the rev range. My only complaint is with the transmission. Even in Sport mode, cruising at a slow pace, if you nail the throttle it takes at least a full second or two for the computer to figure out you want it to drop a couple gears for some oomph. Ã‚Â Ride quality is excellent, as expected. Steering and brakes won’t set the enthusiast on fire, but the car is very competent and composed, even when pushed.
Those of you expecting an answer to a BMW 3-series convertible are misguided, as that is not Lexus’ intended market. What the IS250 offers is style, comfort, and all the advantages of top-down motoring with as minimal disadvantages as possible. In doing so, Lexus has built one of the most civilized convertibles under $50,000.