The Lexus IS is an entry level luxury car series offered by the Japanese auto manufacturer. Lexus introduced the IS series in 1998, intended to compete in the upscale compact car category. The Lexus IS series was actually sold in Japan as the Toyota Altezza, and is the vehicle that inspired the trend of “altezza-style” aftermarket taillamps. When the Lexus brand was introduced, the brand absorbed the Altezza lineup and the series entered its second generation in 2006. The Lexus IS series is assembled at Lexus and Toyota production facilities in Tahara, Aichi, and in Miyawaka, Fukuoka, in Japan. The Lexus IS series is designed to compete primarily with luxury and sport compact sedans from European auto manufacturers. The IS 250 is available around the globe, in markets including North America, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, South Africa, and Chile.
The Lexus IS 250C is a four passenger, hardtop convertible variant of the Lexus IS series, specifically the IS 250, that made its debut in October of 2008 at the Paris Motor Show. The IS lineup was treated to a refresh for that model year, and the suspension and steering components received upgrades to improve control, stability, and drivability. The Lexus IS 250C went on sale in North America and Europe in early 2009, alongside the Lexus IS 350C and a more limited version of the IS convertible, the IS 300C. Another refresh, in 2010, provided interior updates for the IS model lineup.
The retractable convertible hardtop on the Lexus IS 250C is the car’s most distinguishing feature, although the luxury of the car’s interior is typical of Lexus vehicles. It is available in only one trim level, with optional stand-alone upgrades and feature packages. The list of standard equipment and features includes 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth wireless integration, keyless entry and ignition, fog lamps, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, the Lexus Safety Connect communications system, and an eight-speaker audio system with satellite radio, USB and iPod connectivity, and an auxiliary input jack. Upgrading to the luxury package adds bi-xenon headlights, higher grade leather upholstery, a driver memory function, wood interior trim, and heated and ventilated front seats. The navigation package adds the nag system as well as a rearview camera, voice commands, HD radio, and an optional upgrade to a 12-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound audio system. Parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, and F Sport performance components are optional stand-alone upgrades. Standard safety features include anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, pop-up rollover bars, front side airbags, front knee airbags, and full length side curtain airbags.
The rear-wheel-drive Lexus IS 250C is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine that yields 204 horsepower. The engine is paired to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic with manual shift control. The Lexus IS 250C boasts a 0-60 acceleration time of 8.4 seconds. The vehicle earned Environmental Protection Agency ratings of 21 miles per gallon city, 30 miles per gallon highway, and 25 miles per gallon combined, with slightly lower manual transmission ratings. The Lexus IS 250C is still available as of the 2014 model year.