Toyota’s premium brand, Lexus, has officially introduced their new IS Convertible with the hope that it could enter a market long dominated by its European counterparts, including BMW and Audi. Characterized as a stylish convertible with luxurious amenities, the 2012 IS Convertible offers plenty of that and so much more.
The sophisticated machine capably blends the stylishness and sportiness of a convertible with the more tuned-down approach of a coupe in one package. There’s plenty to like about the car, from the easy transformation of coupe to convertible and vice versa in just 21 seconds all the way to the new Nebula Gray Pear exterior finish.
The choice of trim for the IS Convertible, whether its the 250C or the 350C, also offers a choice of powertrain, from the more fuel efficient 2.5-liter V6 for the former and the more powerful 3.5-liter V6 for the latter.
For the 2012 IS-C, versatility is the name of the game. And whatever trim option you choose, you’ll be certain to get a car that gives you exactly what you’re looking for.
Find out more about the 2012 Lexus IS Convertible after the jump.
The Lexus IS Convertible model comes in two trims, the 250C and the 350C. While the exterior design lends itself to the lineage of the IS sedan, it also comes with its own unique and dynamic styling.
Out in the front, the car is characterized by the hood lines that flow into a unique chrome grille then continue down into an air inlet before flowing outward past the distinctive elliptical fog lamp designs that make the car’s profile stand out. Over at the side, the car’s convertible set-up allows it to be a little more aggressive and muscular-looking, especially when the belt-line draws up around the rear deck lid. As for the rear, the IS Convertible combines the taillamp clusters with two distinct horizontal lines to emphasize personality. With a clean and continuous design throughout the rear, it makes for a pretty impressive view without having too worry about design clutter.
There’s no question that the IS-C is targeting a young audience and the design accomplishes it without being too bland for the younger demographic’s taste. The impressive design of the car is further complemented by a new set of 18" fix-spoke wheels with a Liquid Graphite finish.
The IS-C’s interior comes with the perfect blend of design, comfort, technology, and luxury - not an easy feat considering that balancing all four is a difficult task for everybody.
The four-seat configuration - with leather trim, no less - offers ample space for each passenger with the rear seats carrying a few amenities, including storage and cup holders. The power front seats can be adjusted ten ways, including power lumbar support and a heated/ventilated function that has a heating range reaching from the shoulder areas and increases airflow in ventilation function.
Though the gauge cluster is similar to that found on the IS sedan, a few noticeable modifications have been done for aesthetic and functional purposes. In the IS-C, a high-contrast multi-information LCD is available with a multi-information display that includes status of the hardtop while in transformation so you know how far it is along in its progress. The display will also let you know if there’s a malfunction that’s impeding the roof from opening or closing.
As a bonus - or bonuses - for those wanting more for their car, Lexus is offering a slew of upgrades for the IS-C, including the company’s own Hard-Disk Drive (HDD) navigation system with a seven-inch VGA touch-screen and back-up camera. There’s also the Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio system, which comes with a 12-speaker audio system and a discrete 5.1 multi-channel playback with 5.1-channel speaker architecture. Another optional system is the Intuitive Park Assist, which comes with ultrasonic sensors to detect objects close to the car’s front and rear bumpers, alerting the driver and showing distance to objects in the multi-information display within the speedometer. Then there’s the Pre-Collision System that is packaged with the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead.
The 2012 IS Convertible will carry the same powertrain options as that of its sedan sibling. The IS 250C will come with a 2.5-liter V6 engine, producing an output of 204 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 185 lb/ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. As for the more powerful IS 350C, it carries a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 306 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 277 lb/ft of torque at 4,800 rpm.
Both engines feature aluminum cylinder blocks and heads, and use dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) to control timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts. Likewise, the IS 250C comes in a choice of either a six-speed manual transmission or a paddle-shift, six-speed automatic transmission while the IS 350C is powered by an advanced six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
To ensure the safety and rigidity of the IS-C, Lexus made sure to give it top-quality safety features, including seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters for the front seats, as well as retractor seatbelts with an automatic locking retractor for the rear seats.
Dual-front airbags come as standard for the model while the IS Convertible also features the Lexus Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), which includes front-seat-mounted head and torso side airbags, and knee airbags for both the driver and the front passenger. The front-passenger airbag features two chambers, creating an indentation in the center impact area.
No word yet on how much the 2012 Lexus IS Convertible is going to cost, but when you base it on the 2011 models, the price can hit anywhere between $40,000 to $45,000.
Among the cars you’ll most likely come across when looking for alternatives to the Lexus IS-C are the BMW 3-Series Convertible and the Audi S5.
Both cars cost more than the IS-C - each costs in the neighborhood of $59,000 - so we’ll just get that out of the way. But what you get for the premium price isn’t something that you should take lightly.
For the BMW 3-Series, the 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology produces an output of 320 horsepower, which is more than what either Lexus trim is capable. Then there’s that thing about it being a BMW, which by its name alone, already carries a certain cache to it that Lexus is striving to have.
The same can be said for a car like the Audi S5, which also has a more powerful engine in the form of its 3.0-liter TFSI engine and its 333-horsepower and 325 lb/ft of torque output. It’s a little more expensive than the 3-Series Convertible, but it offers more bang for your buck as far as interior goodies are concerned.
So is there really a market for the Lexus IS-C? Well, it’s a strong segment that has some pretty popular models in the mix. Having said that, the Lexus IS-C still has some zing behind its punches and if you’ve got some heat, you’ll get attention.
Interior options are too many to count
Exterior design comes with a few tweaks
Powertrain could’ve been better