2014 Lexus IS350C Convertible Review by Stu Wright

    Lexus, Toyota’s luxury car division that has been around for 25 years, sells cars in 70 countries and is headquartered in Nagoya, Japan.  The name of the company’s product was selected from a list that included Verone, Calibre, and Alexis, among others.  Lexus was decided on, and is a combination of the words “luxury” and “elegance.

The test car I recently had in my possession certainly was elegant, and luxurious, as well.  It was the two-door convertible IS350C F Sport with metal retractable hardtop and it was painted Matador red mica with a black leather interior.  The vehicle weighs 3,872 lb. and its 182.5” length sits on a 107.5” wheelbase, putting its size on par with a 3-Series BMW.

American manufacturer, Ford, introduced the world’s first hardtop convertible in 1957, and today I believe there are over 40 such offerings on the market.  It (the Ford) was a smash when I was a teenager, and the size and configuration of it resulted in a redesigned trunk that would be stuffed with hardware when the top was down.

The Lexus, a much smaller car, actually has a little luggage space when in convertible mode, and plenty of room for four passengers.  By a little luggage space, I mean 2.4 cubic feet, a number that is 10.8 cubic feet with the top up.  I never attempted to carry luggage in the Lexus with the top down, but ostensibly it could perhaps hold a carry-on bag.

Buyers of this car are not interested in luggage, but in stylish motoring and superb performance from the F Sport IS350C.  F Sport denotes a package of performance items  including optimized steering, sport-tuned suspension, and special 18” alloy wheels.  Also included with an F Sport are aluminum sport pedals, special grill, silver metallic interior trim, and “F” fender badging.  The F Sport Lexus has heated and ventilated front seats, as well.

My test car was equipped with a high-intensity headlight/LED package ($875.00), navigation package ($3,520.00), headlamp washers ($100.00), and intuitive parking assist ($500.00).  Along with the F Sport upgrade ($2,550.00), freight ($910.00), and a base price of $46,990.00, total M.S.R.P. came to $55,445.00.  The navigation package included premium 12-speaker 270-watt audio, satellite radio, backup camera, and 7” high-resolution multimedia display screen.

Power for this rear-wheel drive two-door was supplied by a 3.5 liter V-6 with 306 horsepower (6,400 rpm) and 277 lb. ft. of torque (4,800 rpm).  Fuel economy ratings are 19-city, 27-highway, and 22 mpg, combined.  The fuel tank holds 17.2 gallons.  A six-speed automatic transmission is employed in the power train and zero to sixty mph acceleration is reportedly 5.8 seconds.  Double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension is a combination that makes the Lexus a blast to drive, regardless of where the roof is.  Driving a convertible is genuine fun on a balmy August day in Greeley, and a retractable hardtop that goes up or down in 21 seconds is a convenience.

I mentioned the wheels, which were ten-spoke dark graphite alloys fitted with 225/40R18 all-season radials.  Front-lip spoilers were installed on the Lexus, as well as dual chrome exhausts and light-striped outside mirrors.  I like red cars, and the IS350C styling presented a beautiful visage, in my mind.

Ride of the convertible was acceptable despite the 40-aspect tires, handling was was way above average, and guidance was great.  Wind noise was at a low level for a convertible of any sort, and visibility was suitable, certainly in three directions from the driver’s seat.

I had fun with the Lexus convertible, and would recommend it to the niche buyer looking for such a car.




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