Ever since Lexus ended production of the SC in 2010, we have been wondering if their modern convertible would be just as memorable. Last November they teased the world with the LF-C2 Concept. We would love to get behind the wheel, but the closest we could find was a 2015 IS 350 Convertible.
Compact, rear-wheel drive, hard top convertibles are almost extinct, so we jumped at the chance to sport their latest offering. Last year I spent a week with the 2014 IS 350 Convertible in F-Sport trim. A few upgrades make this latest model a more sensible choice.
This new car had stylish 17-inch alloys with a comfortable amount of sidewall. LED fog lights are also new and are easier on the eyes at twilight. The retractable hard top fools many, as it is easily mistaken for a coupe. If you hate blind spots, this roof is among the best engineered on the market. The rear glass is almost vertical, and combined with big quarter windows it offers a great field of view.
Under the hood is the same 306 hp 3.5-liter V6. Torque is adequate at 277 lb-ft, but lower than several comparable four cylinders in this segment. The IS 350 is stylish, and with Lexus’ attention to detail it is a quiet and well-composed coupe. Space is at a premium on the inside, so many non-essential systems have controls in unlikely spots. Leather can be found on the seats and steering wheel, but the remainder of the interior is finished in the same fine grain black rubber that is found on most other Lexus and Toyota models. If you intend on mostly enjoying top-down motoring, opt for the 12 speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
Handling and braking were identical to the 2014 model, and after a week we still believe that this is one of the best convertibles on the market. Our 2015 car had fewer options, so the sticker price jumped by $600 for a total of $54,460. That is a completely justifiable price for the luxury and quality of Lexus with the wind in your hair.