While Toyota and Lexus get all kinds of praise from Consumer Reports and JD Power, those of us who cater to the automotive enthusiast have been less than kind. No Supra. No MR2. We moan that Toyota treads out the most boring, uninteresting Japanese cars out there. So isn’t it a little ironic that no Japanese automaker offers more convertibles than any other manufacturer?
The latest to join the Toyota Solara convertible and Lexus SC430 is the IS250C and IS350C, built off the familiar IS four-door platform. Drivetrains remain the same-a 2.5 liter V-6 with 204hp mated to a 6-speed manual or automatic, or a 3.5 liter V-6 which is only available with the automatic.
In creating the IS250C/350C, Lexus stayed true to its mission of luxury and pampering its occupants. This is not an answer to Infiniti’s G37 convertible by any means. The car retains the overall appearance of the IS sedan, but the rear overhang was stretched 2″ to accept two golf bags. Lexus took pains to insure as much quiet and tranquility as possible, with an “acoustic” windshield, and improved seals. The gauges have been reworked for greater visibility when the top is down. Speed-sensitive climate control adjusts fan-speed to keep cabin temperature constant. The typically exceptional Lexus audio system even compensates for the loss of bass when the top is down.Ã‚Â
Pricing for the IS convertibles has not been announced, but I expect it to be in line with the Audi A5 and BMW 3-series convertibles. The car should do well-I predict buyers turned off by the Infiniti’s or BMW’s intensity will embrace the car’s softer, more luxurious image. The IS convertibles will start popping up at your local country club in late Spring.