With the poorly selling SC 430 on the chopping block, Lexus found itself in need of a sexy luxury convertible to generate some excitement around the brand.
The IS sedan is about the same size as the SC and much better-looking. In IS 350 trim, it also extracts more horsepower from its 3.5-liter V-6 than the SC can from its 4.3-liter V-8. So, rather than update the aging SC, Lexus transplanted an updated version of its three-panel aluminum folding roof onto the IS sedan and, with a little massaging, the IS C was born.
The IS C goes from hardtop to topless in 20 seconds, which is 5 seconds faster than the SC 430.
With the exception of the new roof and two fewer doors, the IS C looks identical to the sedan. Upon closer inspection, we can see that the aesthetics have been tweaked to better fit the IS C's sporty open-air attitude. In fact, we're told that the IS and the IS C share almost no sheet metal. Of course, this is most notable around back, where the IS' tail lamps have been reworked and its rump raised to accommodate the retractable hardtop.
On paper, IS C still seats four passengers. In reality, passengers will find that the rear seats have been shifted forward by 5 inches, compromising leg room.
In the cabin, an optional Mark Levinson audio system sounds fantastic, thanks to a tweaked version of Automatic Sound Leveling that not only adjusts volume for vehicle speed, but also adjusts the equalizer to compensate for the loss of bass that comes with open-air listening. Perhaps it was our ears playing tricks on us, but the IS C's stereo actually sounds better when the vehicle is rolling than it does at a stop, which is quite an impressive feat.… Read more