The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

April 16, 2013

Lexus IS C is sporty, luxurious

In the late 1980s, Lexus came along and fixed a problem that no one else had managed to solve: luxury cars break far too often.

It's not that luxury cars were bad before Lexus arrived. They just had lots of bells and whistles that broke after three or four years, when the motorized doodads and electrified widgets met the end of their lifespan.

As a result, Lexus built its reputation on making cars that don't break. It didn't always have the most interesting engineering, like Mercedes-Benz, or the most stunning style, like Jaguar. But it did finish at the top of consumer quality surveys year after year.

The only problem? Cars that are designed to be ultra-reliable can end up being ultra-boring if you're not careful.


That's why Lexus has been injecting its lineup with some exotic rides like the LFA supercar and IS F sports sedan, which fights head-to-head with the BMW M3.

And just a little of that newfound Lexus excitement has filtered its way into the car I drove this week, the IS C convertible.

Like the IS 250 and IS 350 sedans, the IS C is sporty by Lexus standards. It has rear-wheel drive, just like a proper sporty car should, and a suspension tuned to be compliant over bumps but firm enough to actually enjoy.

Compared with a more traditional Lexus, like the ES, it's absolutely thrilling. It's a car with some life and personality in it, and it's sure to make you smile with the top down on a sunny day.

Its hard top is motorized to fold and unfold in just a few seconds at the touch of a button. With the top up, it's comfortable and quiet for long stretches of highway driving, a remarkable feat if you're used to the wind-beaten clamor of soft-top convertibles.

Unfortunately, it loses some of its sexiness with the top up. The convertible's roof lines don't look as sleek as those on the IS sedan, despite the drop-top's two-door layout. With the top up, it makes me pine for the feline grace of the SC 430, an expensive but wonderful convertible that Lexus no longer sells.

The IS C's only other downside is a cramped rear seat, which is far less usable than the one in the IS sedan. Unless the driver and front passenger have short legs and can scoot their seats forward to make space, the back seats are best left for children.

Aside from that, this car is like most every other Lexus: hard to find anything to gripe about. It comes with outstanding build quality, a supple ride and styling that turns heads without being distasteful.

Power comes from your choice of two engines.

A 2.5-liter V6 makes 204 horsepower in the IS C 250 ($43,505), which is adequate but doesn't feel particularly luxurious. If indulgence is what you're after, the bigger 3.5-liter engine should do the trick. It makes 306 horsepower in the IS C 350 ($47,775), enough to give it that rocketship feeling when you pull away from stoplights.

If you want more sportiness, the IS C F Sport model has a suspension and steering setup that were tuned by the same engineers who worked on the LFA supercar. With the bigger engine, it tops the IS C lineup at slightly more than $50,000

Derek Price is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at carcolumn@gmail.com.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • This Weekend in Stanly County

    After a week at work, weekends are a good time to get out into the fresh air on these long, balmy summer days. Stanly County offers plenty of places for you to do just that.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ruth Moose Author inks book deal from 26-year-old draft

    After 26 years tucked away in a drawer, one might think the story had grown stale, that it had sat in the dark too long to be revived into something palatable.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results