2016 Lexus IS C

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Lexus’ IS line is very popular and a hot seller. The recently redesigned sedan combines futuristic, swoopy looks with typical Lexus luxury and build quality. It also has proven to be a legitimate sports sedan, besting both a BMW 335i and Cadillac ATS in independent testing. We recently reported on a possible coupe variant , and now we have a rendering of the IS C convertible update. The current IS C, while competent and classy, is a bit long in the tooth. It has been around since 2009 and, as of July 2014, hasn’t enjoyed the redesign the rest of the IS line received.

Our own Mark McNabb tested a 2014 IS 350 C F-Sport , and came away impressed with the drivetrain, luxurious interior, and power-folding hardtop. However, there is no denying the car’s age. Five years is an eternity in the automotive world, so Lexus needs to up its game and redesign

Click past the jump to see more about our rendering of the IS C and see what we expect it to bring to the table.

Rendering

Lexus IS C

Lexus hasn't released any details, but, in typical fashion with turbocharged motors, expect the output to possibly be tweaked for the new IS line.

This is an artist’s rendering, but expect the next-generation IS C to integrate the current IS line’s dramatic, curvy looks and futuristic interior into an attractive hardtop convertible design.

Drivetrain

The 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 should initially remain intact in IS 350 C guise, and, more importantly the 2.5-liter, 204-horsepower, underpowered V-6 that powers the IS 250 C will be history, most likely to be replaced by the brand’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four.

The new engine, which also powers the NX 200t crossover, should produce at least the 235 horsepower it makes in the NX , while providing better-than-average fuel economy. Small, turbocharged engines are the latest fad these days, and Lexus is finally in the game with its own design.

This exciting, new engine features direct injection and a twin-scroll turbo, and should cut at least a second off of the current IS 250 C’s lethargic 8.4 second 0-to-60 time.

This new engine will finally take the IS 250 C out of the slow lane, while competing with the turbocharged engines BMW and Audi provide.

The current IS 350 doesn’t need any help in the acceleration department, thanks to a 5.8-second 0-to-60 time, while making all of the right sounds.

Regardless of its competence, expect a possible replacement soon, as the venerable 3.5-liter has been around for quite a while.

Lexus IS Coupe Rendering

Lexus IS Coupe

Competitors

BMW 4 Series

BMW 4 Series Convertible

The just-introduced BMW 4 Series has burst onto the scene sporting a brand-new design, a state-of-the-art power-folding hardtop and BMW BMW ’s turbocharged inline-four and inline-six engines, producing 240 and and an even 300 horsepower, respectively. The interior is more luxurious than ever, and typical BMW driving dynamics seal the deal.

Of course, pricing is in the stratosphere, with the 428i starting at $49,675, and the 435i beginning life at $55,825. Prices rise quickly with options.

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Audi A5 Convertible

While the A5 features a more conventional soft-top design and only a turbocharged inline-four as the engine choice, it is also a direct competitor to the IS C. Said inline-four offers good performance, thanks to its stout 220 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque.

The A5 Cabriolet has been well-received by critics, offering excellent driving dynamics and the typical, lush Audi interior. The only thing lacking is perhaps a six-cylinder engine. The A5 has also been around and relatively unchanged since 2009, just like the current IS C, and could use a redesign to remain fully competitive with the freshest offerings.

Nevertheless, the A5 is a solid choice that starts at $47,600.

History

Lexus IS 350C F-Sport Special Edition

Introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model, the IS C was a replacement for the aging SC430. The IS C departed from the SC430’s La-Z-boy, luxury-oriented design and injected a much-needed dose of sportiness, while retaining typical Lexus luxury.

Unlike the SC430, the IS C was a true four-seat design, with just enough room in the back to squeeze a pair of adults with some stretching beforehand.

The 2010 IS C started at $39,365, significantly less than a comparable 3 Series convertible.


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