What’s better than a rear-wheel drive luxury performance sport convertible? A rear-wheel drive luxury performance sport coupe that can transform itself into a convertible in 20 seconds. That’s what the Lexus IS 350C can do, and it’s as easy as pushing a switch. This week we are test driving the 2014 IS 350C and it comes with the F-Sport Package that makes this hardtop/convertible a fun performer.
What’s new for 2014?
The interior trim has been revised for the optional F-Sport package.
Lexus IS 350 Convertible options
This 2014 IS 350C came with the optional F-Sport Package ($2,550) that includes a sport-tuned suspension, F-Sport 18-inch wheels with dark super chrome finish; upper and lower grille insert; F-Sport steering wheel and F Sport heated and ventilated front seats; front lip spoiler; aluminum sport pedals; silver metallic interior trim; aluminum scuff plates, and F-Sport badging. It also came with Navigation and Mark Levinson Premium audio ($3,520), HID Headlamps ($875), headlight washers ($100) and Intuitive Parking assist with front and rear sensors ($500). Total MSRP is $55,445, including destination.
Inside, the IS 350C features an attractive and well-appointed cabin and gets top-quality materials and workmanship. The front seats offer power-adjustability and good comfort and support. Lexus says this is a four-seater, but back seat passengers will find it too cramped for much more than a short trip. Trunk space is also limited due to the retractible hardtop workings that takes up space.
The IS 350C’s roof
The Lexus IS 350C is more like a luxury sports coupe with a convenient convertible option. The hardtop is a three-panel aluminum roof that lowers with a push of a switch inside. The coupe’s retractable hardtop disappears beneath a locking panel and it only takes 20 seconds for the top to go completely out of sight.
While driving with the hardtop up, we noticed how quiet the cabin is which Lexus says is due to an acoustic glass windshield, special seals on the roof, door and window panels and a back window that’s made from reinforced glass. With the top down we didn’t notice the wind noise as much because of the coupe’s aerodynamic design that features a low 0.29 coefficient of drag (Cd).
Engine and fuel mileage specs
This 2014 Lexus IS 350C is powered by a 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 that pumps out 306 hp and 277 lb.-ft. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters. It will sprint from a standing start to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds making it fast enough to get in serious trouble on the street. With the car being a bright Matador Red Mica color, we had to keep our heads on a swivel the whole week. Fuel economy estimates are 19/27 mpg city/highway.
This IS 350C came with the optional F-Sport package ($2,550) that pushes the fun-to-drive meter up the scale a bit. The package includes a stiffer F-Sport suspension that enables the coupe/convertible to take the corners a bit faster. The package is more of an appearance package and sets the IS 350 C apart with its 18-inch dark graphite wheels and extra front lip spoiler and sport grille.
On the road, the 2014 Lexus IS 350C is fairly quick and comes with a level of refinement that will satisfy most luxury convertible buyers. As we drove over rough pavement, the sports car remained stable and composed because of its solid body structure. One big plus for this convertible, is the “intelligence” factor of the climate control system. It automatically adjusted the temperature and airflow as we drove with the top down on a cooler day. When equipped with Intuitive Parking Assist, the roof’s operation will stop if it detects an obstacle that could interfere with the roof’s operation.
The 2014 Lexus IS 350C is a multi-talented coupe with an easy and fast retractable hardtop for open-top fun. The three-panel hardtop minimizes noise levels and temperature extremes and allows you to drive this car year-round. The IS 350 C’s 306-hp V6 engine is lively and the F-Sport adds an extra level of performance and good looks. Buyers looking for a relatively fast and very comfortable luxury convertible, will like the Lexus IS 350C’s smooth ride that makes this convertible easy to live with.