2015 Lexus IS C Review

IS C

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2015 Lexus IS C Overview

Lexus’s IS hardtop convertible stays the course yet again, receiving only minor updates for 2015 despite a redesigned IS sedan for 2014. The IS C has been around since 2010 and is therefore technically only 5 years old, so we can’t expect it to be discontinued as such a lack of refresh would otherwise indicate, but redesigned foot pedals and expanded music options are a mighty small condolence, all things considered.

Last year the IS sedan gained a totally redesigned body, suspension and drivetrain for more room, a compact-like driving character, and improved fuel economy. This year the sedan gained Siri Eyes Free and LED fog lights, too. In contrast, the IS C remains on the last generation’s platform and really adds only Slacker radio with a couple of software updates and stylistic changes otherwise. But, as disappointing as that may seem in black and white, get the IS C on tarmac, and it’s easy to feel and hear that the IS C is simply unbroken perfection.

You see, the IS C holds a special place in the heart of Lexus by using an improved version of the hardtop technology the maker debuted over 20 years ago, and drivers are deeply in love with this incarnation. Its 0.29 drag coefficient with the top down—yes, down—rivals that of coupes which never let the sun shine in, let alone any other convertible. Lexus would be hard-pressed to improve on this technology yet again, and they’re clearly taking their sweet time in doing just that.

The good news: We might see such an update as early as next year. The bad news: Lexus isn’t saying anything. Not a word. Some speculate we might see the base 2.5-liter V6 engine replaced by a turbo, and maybe even a new Coupe body to boot, but Lexus isn’t confirming any of this, and neither has anyone caught a sneak peak at any tester that might give some indication. In simpler terms, we just don’t know what to expect, and there are no clues, either.

So for now and the foreseeable future, the IS C is a satisfyingly sweet drop-top with all the luxuries of a static greenhouse and any other Lexus for that matter. The rear-wheel-drive configuration offers sporting performance if the car is a bit slow, with the 2.5-liter engine motoring it to 60 mph in a downright pokey 8.4 seconds. Upgrade to the IS 350C if 5.8 seconds to 60 mph is more your speed, but expect about 5 mpg off the 2.5’s estimated 21 mpg city/30 highway.

That base 2.5-liter in the 250C is rated for 204 hp and 185 lb-ft/torque, whereas the potent 3.5-liter V6 in the 350C delivers 306 hp and 277 lb-ft/torque on precisely the same power band—peak horses are found at 6,400 rpm (which is decidedly high), and you’ll get max torque at 4,800 rpm no matter the engine. Raw power isn’t exactly the IS C’s strong point, and almost as if to drive that point home, every IS C is delivered with a 6-speed automatic with steering-mounted paddle shifters, but if you’re looking for a luxurious ride with a kick of spice, the IS C has that in spades.

Anteing up for the F Sport nets a sport-tuned suspension, aerodynamic body elements, heated and ventilated leather sport seats, and metallic accents to call out what Lexus dubs its “inner road athlete.” Add to that a specialized Dark Superchrome finish and a staggered tire array for a look any street racer would envy.

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Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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