Following Lexus' introduction of the convertible version of its Lexus IS sedan last October, there really hasn't been much news to report on since. To remedy that, Lexus recently announced the starting prices for the IS 250C and IS 350C which will both go on sale later next month. While the IS sedan has a starting MSRP just over ,000, the 2010 Lexus IS 250C will start at ,490 while the more powerful 2010 Lexus IS 350C will start at ,940 - neither price includes the requisite 5 destination fee. Both Lexus IS convertible models will join what is becoming a popular luxury convertible market with new competition including the Audi A5 Cabriolet and the Infiniti G37 Convertible.
Both new convertible models manage to retain the same clean lines as the IS sedan thanks to a three-panel power retractable roof. The biggest changes to the car, besides the lack of two doors and a solid roof, are to the rear. The longer decklid is necessary for the hardtop design, but Lexus managed to camouflage the extended trunk region with subtle and effective flowing body lines. One aspect that was unavoidable was the addition of two inches to the car's rear overhang, which was required to maximize trunk space - with the top up, the IS convertible's trunk can hold a pair of golf bags and with the top down, it can hold a single bag. Up front, the IS convertibles will get a slightly different front fascia to help give it a sportier look with a taller, narrower lower air intakes and reshaped fog lights set into wider openings. Stylish details such as the upswept beltline and lower body creases help carry over the sedan's elegant profile. The IS convertible will also get a unique set of five-spoke wheels to finish off their distinct, yet familiar looks. The IS convertible can transform from a sporty coupe into an open-top convertible in just 20 seconds.
The four-passenger Lexus IS convertibles were designed to offer the same levels of luxury as the sedan for both front and rear occupants. Since convertibles are notorious for cramped rear seats, Lexus incorporated unique design cues into the IS convertibles cabin to avoid an uncomfortable experience for rear-seat occupants. In addition to adding almost a foot to the front doors to improve access to the rear seats, Lexus also reshaped the seat backs for improved legroom and moving the seating positions closer to the middle of the car to maximize headroom. The Lexus IS convertibles also feature a one-touch mechanism that slides and tilts the front seats forward to improve ingress and egress to the rear seats. In true Lexus style, the hardtop roof not only allows the IS convertible to offer a sporty, coupe profile, but it also helps reduce the interior noise associated with convertibles.
As the base model, the 2010 IS 250C comes with a 2.5-liter V-6 that puts out 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque and is available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Moving up to the 2010 IS 350C Lexus uses the more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 offering which offers 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque and is only available with the six-speed automatic transmission. Removing a vehicle's roof greatly affects its handling, but Lexus looked to overcome this challenge by adding a number of structural changes to augment torsional rigidity and augment chassis strength as well as improve roll over protection. Lexus also claims that the added structural support helps give the new convertible models noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels on par with the IS sedan when the top is up.
The all-new IS convertible models further expand the IS lineup following last year's introduction of the high-performance Lexus IS-F. The range-topping IS-F starts at $56,760, which includes a 416-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8, and eight-speed automatic transmission and a 0-60 mile per hour time of just 4.6 seconds.