2015 Lexus IS C
The Lexus IS series has been around since 2000 as was Lexus’ attempt at making a proper sports sedan. The Japanese automaker did a respectable job with the IS, as it produced 217 horsepower and 218 pound-feet of torque form its 3.0-liter V-6. A five-speed automatic sent that power rearward. The IS’ design was a striking one, even propelling the aftermarket and a few other automakers into the whole clear-lens taillight fad. Things changed in 2006, as the IS lineup received an updated look and a slew of V-style engines. Lexus offered two levels of power in the IS 250 and IS 350 versions. Then in 2007, Lexus gave us the IS F; the 5.0-liter, V-8-powered BMW M3 rival. Though the IS lineup has moved to a new design theme for 2015, the IS C — Lexus’ hardtop convertible — remains looking as it did for 2013.
A redesigned ‘organ-type’ accelerator pedal, the addition of Slacker Radio to the Lexus Enform system, and updates to iHeartRadio 4.0 are all that’s new with the IS C for 2015. While it is disappointing Lexus hasn’t updated the car’s internal and external appearance, it’s also disappointing that the powertrain remains unchanged as well.
However, if a luxury hardtop convertible is on your wish list, the IS C still offers plenty to love, including a 20-second fold time for the top operation and plenty of power for motivation down the road.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Lexus IS C.
2015 Lexus IS C
Horsepower @ RPM:204 @ 6400
Torque @ RPM:185 @ 4800
0-60 time:6 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:155 mph
F-Sport models come with upgraded grille mesh and a more aggressive lower chin splitter.
A quick look at the old second-generation IS sedan will familiarize you with the 2015 IS C. A more diminished front grille and lower air intake are found under a sloping hood. The more traditional headlights create body lines that run rearward, matching up with the taillights. F-Sport models come with upgraded mesh grille and a more aggressive lower chin splitter. From the A-Pillar forward, the IS C looks like the standard IS sedan. Rearward of that, things get very different.
The hardtop has an almost bubble-like shape to it. Divided into three sections, the top slips into the elongated trunk area then lowered. For that reason, the area behind the doors towards rear of the car is much longer-looking that the IS sedan.
A leather-wrapped tonneau cover ensures a tight seal behind the rear two seats.
Standard 17-inch wheels and optional 18-inch units come wrapped in either all-season or sport rubber. LED brake, tail, and license plate bulbs keep the rear illuminated at night, while projector-beam headlights light the way up front.
With the hardtop down, the IS C looks like a proper convertible. The top neatly hides below the rear decklid and is unseen. A leather-wrapped tonneau cover ensures a tight seal behind the rear two seats. Wind noise and buffeting inside the cockpit are kept to a minimum even while driving topless down the interstate.
There is an oddly large gap between the front wheel and the fender well, even with the 18-inch wheels. Ground clearance is also interestingly high for such a sporty sedan. Neither of those design elements show through during casual glances, though. It takes getting down low in order for the gaps to become noticeable.
2015 Lexus IS C - Exterior Dimensions
|Overall Length||182.5 Inches|
|Overall Width||70.9 Inches|
|Overall Height (unloaded)||55.7 Inches (17-in. wheels), 55.9 Inches (18-in. wheels)|
|Tread Width Front||60.4 Inches (all wheels sizes)|
|Tread Width Rear||60.4 Inches (17-in. wheels), 60.0 Inches (18-in. wheels)|
2015 Lexus IS C - Standard Exterior Features
- 17-inch wheels with liquid graphite finish
- Color coordinated front airdam with low grille
- Color-keyed outside rearview mirrors
- Dual polished stainless steel exhaust pipes
- LED brake, tail and license plate lamps
- Projector bulb headlamps
- Shark fin antenna for SiriusXM Satellite Radio (complimentary 90-day trial subscription)
- Side mirrors with integrated puddle lamps and turn signals
- Top shade/tinted glass on front windshield
- Ultraviolet and infrared ray reducing glass on all windows
No less than five interior leather colors are available, including alabaster, black, light gray, saddle, and red leather.
The interior of the 2014 IS C is again a familiar place. A more conventional dashboard, steering wheel, and center console are present rather than the updated and futuristic interior of the IS sedan lineup. Generous room greets the front two occupants, while the rear two seats are best left for emergencies.
Materials, along with fit and finish, are on par with Lexus’ normal offerings. The IS C’s dash is covered in soft-touch plastic that feels premium, while several choices of trim color and style are available. No less than five interior leather colors are available, including alabaster, black, light gray, saddle, and red leather.
The Enform system works well enough, but is starting to look outdated
The Lexus Enform system is at home in the center console and includes a good-sized touchscreen. Navigation, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, and the Lexus Enform app suite are all available. The app suite includes Bing, Pandora, Yelp, and iHeartRadio, among other things. The Enform system works well enough, but is starting to look outdated. The voice recognition software is also becoming rather difficult to use, especially while entering an address into the navigation system.
Also a little out of place in the IS C is the lack of decent cup holders. There is one main cup holder in the center console, while a second one hides under the armrest. Sure, two cup holders exist, but using the second one almost eliminates the use of the center armrest.
2015 Lexus IS C - Interior Dimensions
|Headroom||38.3 Inches||36.1 Inches|
|Legroom||44.1 Inches||25.9 Inches|
|Shoulder Room||54.2 Inches||44.7 Inches|
|Hip Room||54.3 Inches||43.3 Inches|
2015 Lexus IS C - Standard Interior Features
- Black Metallic accent trim
- Dark Gray Bird’s-Eye Maple wood with Red, Light Gray and Black interior color
- Espresso Bird’s-Eye Maple wood with Alabaster and Saddle interior color
- Fabric sun visors and headliner
- Floor mats
- Interior colors: Alabaster, Black, Light Gray, Saddle, Red leather
- Silver finished trim on steering wheel and above glove box
Two engines are available in the IS C. Powering the IS 250C is a 2.5-liter V-6 that produces 204 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm
Two engines are available in the IS C. Powering the IS 250C is a 2.5-liter V-6 that produces 204 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 185 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The more powerful IS 350C comes with a 3.5-liter V-6 making 306 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 277 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. Paddle shifters allow for extra levels of fun.
The 3.5-liter V-6 makes use of an interesting fuel delivery technique. It has both port- and direct-fuel-injection to achieve both good fuel economy and stout amounts of power. A dual-exhaust system helps reduce backpressure, while sounding pretty good too.
For those looking for a little extra sport, Lexus offers the F-Sport package. It includes five-spoke, 18-inch wheels wrapped in either all-season or summer performance rubber sized in 225/40YR18 up front and 255/40YR18 out back. A retuned suspension system also offers better handling and more grip in the corners.
2015 Lexus IS C - Drivetrain/Specifications
|ENGINE||IS 250C||IS 350C|
|Type, Materials||V6 with aluminum block and cylinder heads||V6 with aluminum block and cylinder heads|
|Valvetrain||DOHC 24-valve with dual continuously Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)||DOHC 24-valve with dual continuously Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)|
|Displacement||2.5 liters||3.5 liters|
|Bore x Stroke||3.27 in. x 3.03 in.||3.70 in. x 3.27 in.|
|Horsepower (SAE)||204 HP @ 6,400 RPM||306 HP @ 6,400 RPM|
|Torque||185 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM||277 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM|
|Maximum Engine Speed (redline)||6,600 rpm||6,600 rpm|
Pricing for the IS C is considered reasonable for the level or luxury, refinement, power, and posh associated with the car. The main selling point is definitely the convertible hardtop and that does command a premium. Comparatively priced, BMW 4 Series convertible starts at $49,675. Similarly, the 2014 Infiniti Q60 convertible starts at $48,550. Even better, the Infiniti offers a manual transmission, though it commands a $5,000 premium over the automatic.
|Model||IS 250C||IS 350C|
|F Sport MSRP||$45,410||$49,690|
Based on the new 3 Series platform but just missing a couple of doors and a roof, the 4 Series Convertible is a solid competitor the Lexus IS 350C. The BMW BMW also has a 2+2 configuration and comes with a swanky folding hardtop. Also like the Lexus, the BMW comes in two engine trims; the 428i and the 435i.
For this comparison, the 435i is the one to choose. It’s powered by a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder that makes 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. If an all-season convertible is what you’re after, the four-cylinder-powered 428i is available with BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
Pricing for the BMW 4 Series starts at $49,675 for the 428i and rises to $55,825 for the 435i.
Infiniti is also in the hardtop convertible business with its Q60 offering. Powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 making a respectable 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, the Q60 is the performer of the bunch. It’s also available with a six-speed manual transmission, making it possibly the most fun of the pack. Rated at 18 mpg city and 26 mph highway with the seven-speed automatic, the Q60 still gets decent gas mileage for those long-distance cruises. And like the others, the rear wheels are the ones putting rubber to the road.
Pricing for the Infiniti Q60 starts at $48,550 for the automatic and $53,400 for the six-speed manual.
The Lexus IS C lineup offers plenty of luxury and comfort, while giving a no-compromise option between a two-door coupe and a drop-top convertible. What it lacks in an updated design, it makes up for in a curious one. The top is a fascinating aspect to the car and really brings a unique selling point to the IS lineup. For those looking for a smaller car with a luxurious badge and feel, who also want to let their hair down on the weekends, the IS C makes a solid choice.