POSTED: Monday, October 19, 2009 - 1:52pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:05pm
I have to admit, it was hard to get the keys away from me on this one. It is the newest, most fun version of the entry-level Lexus, the IS 350. It is a convertible hardtop and the target is those guys from Munich who make that BMW thingy.
Now, at $52,000 loaded, the convertible is about 15-grand more than the hardtop and about 15,000 times more complicated. But hey, when the roof goes down, it’s almost worth the price of admission.
Inside, very nice cabin, very neatly laid out. If you order the 6-speed automatic, you get these cool flappy paddles on the steering wheel to make you think you’re shifting gears. They are silly. A marvelous 6-speed standard is available on the IS so unless you can shift a proper gearbox, just put it in drive.
Performance is not bad considering convertibles are heavier than sedans.
The IS 250 is the base model, with which you can get the standard gearbox, and it’s 2.5-liter V6 cranks out 204-horsepower. The 350 has the 3.5-liter V6 with 306 eager ponies. Both are available as convertibles.
On the road, the unlimited headroom is absolutely seductive, and the IS 350 handles the curves fairly well. It doesn’t wallow like a Camry, but doesn’t handle like the SC roadster. 0-60 miles per hour comes up in about 6 seconds, and overall, it’s a pleasant way to burn a gallon of gas every 21 miles.
And that’s the Lexus IS 350C. Is a nice V6 convertible worth 52-grand? That’s your call, but the Lexus can certainly make that case. I’m Roger Gray and we’ll see you on our next Road Trip…