From £24,510
Stylish, well executed four-seat CC alternative to the usual Teutonic suspects

Our Verdict

Lexus IS 2005-2013
The IS-F was the first sports Lexus model to make production.

The Lexus IS is a sleek junior exec that makes for an interesting alternative but lacks a decent diesel option

What is it?

This is the Lexus IS 250C convertible. Lexus has been late into the CC game, or so it would seem. While BMW, Audi, Merc and others churn out one open-topper after another, Lexus has been biding its time.

Some will recall the sleek LF-C concept as the inspiration for the IS 250C, but that was way back in 2005. Lexus certainly hasn’t rushed this one and, after a spirited afternoon’s drive through the mountains, we’d say the four-seat cabrio IS 250C has been worth the long wait.

The Laid-back Lexus IS 250C is no road burner, but it is seriously polished in the way it rides, steers, cruises and brakes. Visually, it also cuts the right kind of dash, especially top down.

The IS 250C has the same wheelbase as the recently made-over IS saloon, but all body panels aft of the reconfigured front screen are bespoke. The star act, of course, is that trick, three-stage, electrically-operated metal roof, which folds up and down in just 20 seconds.

Crucially, the conversion, which brings extensive underfloor bracing hasn’t impaired the packaging, so there is still genuine space to seat four normal-sized adults. It does add 160kg to the weight, though, and rear vision through the narrow rear glass isn’t great.

What’s it like?

The 2.5-litre V6 is refined and easy revving, but one that’s not overly endowed with bottom-end punch. Fact is, there’s not much below 3000rpm, but then pedal-to-the-metal pace is not what the Lexus IS 250C’s about. Like the Infiniti G37 Convertible, its nearest domestic rival, the IS 250C is in its element as a stylish, laid-back boulevardier.

Top up, the Lexus is as taut and snug as any normal coupe. Top down, it’s still impressively rigid and, if there’s the occasional mild front-end tremor when you hit a bump, it’s nothing serious and the car soon shrugs it off.

Lexus has done a particularly fine job on the steering, which is both well weighted and consistent. The IS 250C turns in eagerly, grips well and, while handling is biased towards stability, it’s still quite entertaining through fast S-bends, with roll and understeer kept well in check. There’s a choice of 18-in or 17 in tyres, but we’d go for the 17-inchers unless you want a bit more image and grip, as the 18-inchers make for a marginally more unsettled low speed ride.

Should I buy one?

It’s a highly polished product, the IS 250C – air-con and audio that automatically adjust to whether the top’s up or down are a typically thoughtful Lexus touch – but it’s joining a crowded marketplace, so it really needs to stand out. Still, there’s no denying that the IS 250C is well on the pace and feels like a quality piece of kit. While the 2.5 V6 doesn’t endow it with supercar pace, it nevertheless does a lot of the important cabrio stuff very well.

Peter Nunn

Join the debate

Comments
12

19 May 2009

I suppose if you are going to get a CC then the IS250 is the one to have. Always felt , though , that the latest IS really should have a straight six engine like the first one. You build a V6 so that you can mount it transversely.

19 May 2009

[quote Autocar]This is the Lexus IS 250C convertible. Lexus has been late into the CC game, or so it would seem.[/quote]

What about the awful SC430? That was a CC.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

19 May 2009

[quote TegTypeR]What about the awful SC430? That was a CC[/quote]

Hopefully this is the first step in erasing that abomination from history...

On the subject of the IS-C, I think it's a rather lovely thing. Can imagine it wafting around in the sunshine quite happily.

20 May 2009

Shame they dont bring us the IS350. With this extra weight it could do with that extra bit, and for this money it should have it already.

20 May 2009

I'm surprised the Mercedes, being the first with the CC roof concept, don't actually have a CC in this segment.

20 May 2009

[quote TegTypeR]What about the awful SC430?[/quote] Now, now. Owners lover them. Curiously, of al the cars we have had on TV - and viewers of UK TV will know that barely a UK drama exists without a Lexus in it (Doc Martin, Spooks, Silent Witness, etc) the only occasions when we’ve heard of it leading directly to sales were all with SC 430. Three separate times, in fact. Plus, it looks great as the SuperGT race car. SC430 It will be a much sought after classic in the early 2030s, you mark my words.

20 May 2009

[quote Scott B]SC430 It will be a much sought after classic in the early 2030s, you mark my words. [/quote]

Sought after because the vast majority would have been scrapped long before then? I blame the 430 directly for giving the likes of Pug and Vauxhall the misplaced confidence to knock out their own CCs and believe it to be acceptable to have huge saggy arses on their works of travesty.

And, if anyone came into my car showroom (not that I work in one) wanting to buy a car because they'd seen it on Doc Martin or Silent Witness, they'd get a slap and shown the door...I'll give you Spooks though.

20 May 2009

[quote The Colonel]I blame the 430 directly for giving the likes of Pug and Vauxhall the misplaced confidence to knock out their own CCs and believe it to be acceptable to have huge saggy arses on their works of travesty.[/quote]

My wife has a saggy arsed vauxhall, the Tigra, and to give it some credit I think it actually looks ok. Nothing special but nicely shaped and a good relatively cheap fun car.

However I do agree that the SC430 is a bit of a pig.

20 May 2009

[quote memyselfandi]My wife has a saggy arsed vauxhall, the Tigra, and to give it some credit I think it actually looks ok. Nothing special but nicely shaped and a good relatively cheap fun car.[/quote]

Just to clarify mm&i, the Tigra gets away with with it (it has quite a pert botty), just, by being a two seater, I was aiming more at the four seaters, the 30whatever and the Astra, Focus thing...even the Eos.

21 May 2009

[quote The Colonel]I was aiming more at the four seaters, the 30whatever and the Astra, Focus thing...even the Eos.[/quote]

Yes but this Lexus is aimed at much richer hairdressers than the Astra twintop etc...

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