Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011 Lexus IS 250C: The Luxury Brand’s Lowest Priced Hardtop Convertible

Highlight: The IS 250C is available with a manual transmission.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $49,135 (Base price starts at $42,065)

Major Standard Features: 17-inch wheels; Lexus’ Safety Connect System; power hardtop roof; 10-way power front seats; automatic dual climate control; Bluetooth compatible; rear center seats with dual cupholders; and an automatic dimming rearview mirror

Standard Audio System: a 194-watt, 8-speaker audio system w/6-disc CD changer, iPOD/USB audio input plugs; XM satellite radio; and MP3/WMA

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.5-liter, V6/204-hp

Standard Fuel Mileage: 21-city/30-hwy

Competitor: BMW 3-Series Hardtop Convertible, Chrysler Sebring Convertible Hardtop Limited and Infiniti G37 Convertible

What’s New: The sporty, entry-level hardtop four-seater convertible was introduced last summer, making this the brand’s most affordable drop top.

Pros: Like most of GM’s vehicles, this Lexus is available with GM’s version of OnStar, Lexus’ Connect System. Just like GM’s system, this vehicle alerts the folks at Toyota’s call center of a collision, helps locate stolen vehicles, provides an emergency assist button and enhanced roadside assistance.

By opting for the less powerful IS 250C equipped with an automatic transmission, one can expect to improve their fuel economy by approximately 2 miles per gallon, while at the same time pocketing an extra $5,450 by not opting for the more powerful IS 350C, which puts out 302 horses.

And while our smooth-shifting IS 250C isn’t as powerful as the IS 350C, one can still expect the same luxury features we found in the IS 350C we reviewed last year. In fact, our vehicle included a $3,055 luxury package, which consisted of bi-xenon high-intensity adaptable headlights, heated (and ventilated) rotary dialed front seats, a front passenger memory seat, rain sensing wipers and a gadget to help rear occupants enter and exit the rear seats at the touch of a button. Added to our posh list of features, the vehicle was outfitted with a voice-activated navigational system, a rear back up camera, and Lexus intuitive parallel parking assist system. Unfortunately, this system doesn’t park your vehicle like in the top of the line LS, but it simply acts as an additional parking aid.

Furthermore, the easy-to-operate hardtop convertible can be opened or closed by simply touching a button.

Cons: Just like the throatier IS 350C, the less powerful IS 250C only guzzles premium fuel. Hopefully, Lexus has plan on offering a non premium fuel version in the future, since this vehicle only spews out 202 horses from its dual chrome exhaust pipes.

And while we welcome Lexus offering a manual transmission in the 2.5-liter IS 250C, the IS 350C which is only available with an automatic transmission offers better fuel economy along with more horsepower. Go figure?

The Verdict: Although the IS 250C is outfitted in a sleek, sporty design. One shouldn’t expect this vehicle to perform like a sports car since it only spews out 204 horses.

However, unlike a ragtop convertible, the Lexus IS 250C with its standard hard top eliminates the rattling, shaking and vibration found in most soft top convertibles – delivering a well built vehicle. With the top closed, the exterior noise is virtually non existent just like with any Lexus hardtop.

Pricing for the Lexus starts at approximately $40,000, which is less than its direct competitor the Infiniti G37. Unlike convertibles of the past, this is definitely an all-weather vehicle.


auto inspection services said...

These new features sound fantastic. Can't wait to get behind the wheel of one of these cars!

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