2012 Lexus IS 250C Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
December 11, 2011

The 2012 Lexus IS 250C strikes a good middle ground between racy roadsters and luxury convertible cruisers, but its sluggish powertrain performance will be a deal-breaker for many.

The 2012 Lexus IS 250 C is closely related to the line of Lexus IS sport sedans, and with two doors, a retractable hard top; and a completely different roofline, it doesn’t actually share any sheetmetal with the sedans, yet it’s easy to see the resemblance. The rear-wheel-drive IS 250 C comes with the same 204-horsepower, 2.5-liter V-6 engine as the IS 250 sedans, and its cabin isn't much tighter than that of the sedan. In fact, it's one of the few drop-tops in its class that can hold two adults in back, for short stints.

While the 250’s engine is just adequate in the sedan, it’s borderline sluggish in the convertible—especially if you plan to pack some friends in, go away for a long weekend, or face a route with some mountain passes. And the IS 250’s 1- or 2-mpg advantage in official EPA fuel economy ratings, over its more powerful sibling, the IS 350, is quickly erased in real-world driving, In fact, we can’t see a single good reason to go with the IS 250C instead of the IS 350C, other than its somewhat lower price.

The centerpiece of the IS 250C is its well-designed retractable hard top. Unlike some other units, it’s built with lightweight aluminum. When up, it tightly seals out the elements, while when down it tucks away under the rear deck.

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What’s also appealing about the IS 250C is its front-seat comfort and ride quality, as well as interior trims and materials that are luxury grade all the way. Factor in a host of premium comfort and convenience features like available heated-and-ventilated front seats; push-button start; an available Mark Levinson surround sound system; hard-drive navigation; and the Lexus Enform suite of concierge services.

For more information about the IS 250C and IS 350C, see this full review, or our full review pages on the 2012 IS sedans.

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