Competes With: BMW 3-Series Convertible, Mercedes-Benz CLK Convertible
Preview: 2010 Lexus IS 250 Convertible
With BMW squarely in its sights, the drop-top version of Lexus' hot sedan drew crowds at the Paris auto show. But the early reaction we overheard at the show indicates a polarized opinion of the car's styling. There's no doubt, however, it's a technological masterpiece, with its choice of two V-6s -- 204-horsepower or 306-horsepower -- and a three-panel aluminum roof that operates in just 21 seconds. The design is similar but different to the sedan, as just the mirrors, headlamps, hood and door handles are the only components shared by the two models. Perhaps it's the extended rear overhang, designed to deal with the folding top, that turns off some observers, but we'd be happy to be seen cruising PCH in the sporty drop-top after it goes on sale late in the first quarter of 2009.
2010 Lexus IS 250 Convertible Front" src="http://img.autobytel.com/car-reviews/autobytel/digital-assets/Autoshows/2008ParisAutoShow/2010LexusIS250ConvertibleFront400.jpg" alt="2010 Lexus IS 250 Convertible Front" />
Why it Matters
The Lexus IS 250 convertible is a hardtop convertible based on the IS 250 sedan. While the Lexus IS 250 Convertible is a two-door, Lexus has no intentions of releasing a coupe version of the IS 250, only the hardtop convertible and sedan versions. The Toyota luxury brand has made a point of going after the European luxury market and looks like it is now ready to take on the likes of the BMW 3-Series Convertible and the Mercedes-Benz CLK Convertible. If the past is any indication of what the future will be like with a Lexus IS 250 Convertible in the mix, the Europeans should be worried.
What it Looks Like
What it looks like with the hardtop in place at least is a Lexus IS 250, minus two doors of course. When the hardtop is folded it will eat into the trunk and rear seat room, but it will have a rear seat, so the proportions should be about the same with longer doors making up the difference and easing access into the rear seats.
What's Under the Skin
All we really know at this point is the IS 250 will come with the Lexus 2.5-liter V-6; thanks Lexus for that easy-to-use numbering system. Speculation is that an IS 350 will follow with the obligatory 3.5-liter V-6 and Lexus enthusiasts are hoping for a V-8 powered IS-F convertible to join the fray as well
What We Think
convertibles rock, even more so when they are retractable hardtop convertibles. With the best of top down fun and hardtop security all rolled into one package we’re sure the Lexus IS 250 convertible will be a hit and give the BMW 3-Series Convertible and the Mercedes-Benz CLK Convertible a run for their money. Although it is still likely to be a pricey proposition, it should come in at a better price making it a value as well.
By Vernon Heywood and Greg Brown
Photo credit: Greg Brown