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2010 Lexus IS C Near-Luxury Convertible
By Derek Price
The all-new 2010 Lexus IS 350C and IS 250C hard-top convertibles give Lexus a coupe and convertible in the entry luxury segment for the first time
What was tested?: 2010 Lexus IS350C ($43,940).
Options: Luxury package ($3,055), navigation system ($2,340), parking assist ($500).
Price as tested (including $875 destination charge): $50,710.
Pros: It has all the great Lexus traits -- dependability, silence and quality -- with the added benefit of a hard top that folds away electronically. With the top up, it's nearly as quiet as the IS sedan.
Cons: Styling isn't as sexy and expressive as some of the competition, including Lexus' own SC convertible that was introduced in 2001.
Lexus has tried hard to inject some excitement into its lineup with a new small car called the IS. For the most part, it's worked.
The IS is the answer to people who say Lexus' cars are too soft and slobbery because they don't try to copy BMWs, which is what most other luxury brands have done in recent years. Lexus has smartly charted its own path of making squishy, quiet, traditional luxury cars that slow your pulse.
The IS, though, is an exception.
The Lexus IS convertible rear view features a clean, continuous design, with flowing bumper corners and a strong bumper shape that flows inward towards the exhaust
It's designed for those adrenaline-loving drivers who want a car to provide some thrills -- the same people who would normally consider a BMW. It's sporty and fun, with an emphasis on balanced handling that makes you want to wring it out on a racetrack.
So, what could Lexus do to add even more fun to the IS? Chop off the roof, of course.
For 2010, there's a convertible version of the IS, called the IS C, that comes with a hard top that folds away at the push of a button. When the roof is up, it has enough sound insulation that it's nearly as silent as normal, non-convertible Lexus cars. But with the roof down, you get the wind-in-your-hair excitement of driving a high-performance luxury vehicle.
If your car decisions are based purely on performance, you won't want a convertible. The fold-away top adds weight and complexity that does nothing but slow the car down. But if you're looking for more of a comfortable top-down cruiser that can also be fun on winding roads, the IS C is for you.
Just like the regular IS, the IS C comes with your choice of two V6 engines: a 2.5-liter version that makes 204 horsepower, and a 3.5-liter engine that makes 306 horses. Both engines have the wonderful buttery feel you expect in a Lexus, the kind of power that feels unruffled and confident under acceleration.
The hard top is a work of art in itself. It takes about 20 seconds to open or close, folding away in a choreographed dance that hides the roof neatly under the trunk.
The IS con...