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 has 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.