Lexus IS350C Road Test

The IS-series sedan has been a success story for Lexus, and it shows by the sheer number we see on our roads. The convertible model is however new for this series.

But this is not the first Lexus hard-top convertible to ever hit the market. The SC430 was and has just only recently been consigned to the history books.

So Lexus has had experience with hard-top convertibles, so how did they do this time around?

Judging from its looks, they did a good job, but not exactly a great job. While from certain angles and in certain colors it looks attractive, but it is hardly a pretty thing in my opinion. The biggest visual design flaw in my opinion is the sheet-metal above the rear wheelarch. There is simply too much metal there and the end result is that it makes the rims look rather small in proportion to the body (the Mercedes-Benz SLK also suffers from this issue). Lexus will probably tell you this was necessary to make room for the roof to fold down into, but BMW seems to have accomplished this without making their car look fat, so why couldn’t Lexus?

You could almost forgive Lexus of such a high beltline if the trunk had lots of room, but it doesn’t. When the roof is folded down, there is hardly any room at all left for any luggage. So if you are planning to do some shopping, either dump your bags in the rear seats (which are decently commodious) or put the roof back up, then you have a rather large trunk at your disposal.

Jump in behind the steering wheel and you will find a very spacious, comfortable and a well designed interior at your disposal too. It is also extremely well made. You get the feeling that this interior can and will last 20 years easily. So if you are looking for a long-term car, this just might be it.

If you are looking for a sporty convertible, this surprisingly plays that role far better than I was expecting. Lexus usually has a reputation of making good, but boring cars. But this IS350C has a very good chassis, the suspension not only soak up the bumps rather well, but also are firm enough for sportscar like handling. The steering weight feels right and the steering wheel mounted pedal shifters certainly add to this cars sportiness.

Then there are the engines. While you can get a 204 hp, 2.5-liter V6, I would recommend that you spend the extra money and buy the one with the 3.5-liter V6. This engine pumps out 306 hp and send its power to the rear-wheels via a very smooth six-speed automatic gearbox. This car can propel from 0-100km in about 5.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 250 km/h. That sure is fast and yet this car is also very frugal. I averaged 11.2-liters/100km during my week, which is rather good.

So while it might not be the prettiest convertible on the market, it sure is one of the best made and one of the best to drive in its segment. With Prices starting around $52,100 the ISC is also one of the best value on the road, in any segment.

Would I buy one? If I was leasing, probably not. But if I was buying to keep for a long, long time, I would be interested, and I’ll have mine in the ultrasonic blue thank you.

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