2014 Lexus IS 250 C Review
The hard-top convertible that's easy to top.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 13th, 2014
The good news is, the IS 250 is going away, to be replaced by the RC 250, which is infinitely better looking and will hopefully be infinitely more fun to drive. But alas, we're not reviewing the stylish new 2015 Lexus 250 RC, we're reviewing the still-hanging-around IS 250 C, which retains the design elements the brand has since seen fit to do away with. And not a minute too soon either, especially for the haunchy and bulbous IS, and extra-especially for the hard-top convertible version, the IS 250 C.
It's hard to make a convertible that doesn't look somewhat cool with the top down, but even the fully exposed top is lost amid the massive side panels, which go so far as to wrap themselves around toward the inside a bit at the top, as if they just weren't oversized enough already.
With the top up, the IS barely resembles the sedan version, which wouldn't be a bad thing, except that what it does resemble is something much worse. And, as is to be expected, having the top down completely obliterates all trunk space, save for an area approximately the size of a golf bag.
The interior isn't much better, but it feels mean to rag on a car so severely, especially when it's already been made redundant. Suffice it to say that you'd have to go to a sex-toy factory to find more molded plastic than you'll find in the interior of this $50,000 luxury car.
Despite the presence of the F-Sport badge, and the concordant sporty steering wheel, shifter, and pedals, the 250 C is anything but sporty. Rear-wheel drive usually provides a ton of potential fun, but when you have to add the weight of all manner of hydraulics and possibly the entire roof of your car directly on top of those rear wheels, it ends up not feeling any different from all-wheel-drive. And while that makes this a good car if you are worried about getting out of snow-and-ice-filled parking spaces (think of it as having 50 bags of kitty litter in the trunk at all times), it's not much good for any other kind of driving.
Sport mode helps a tad, allowing increased throttle response and an almost imperceptible tightness to the steering, but this car is so hippy and bloated that it never feels like anything that could ever be referred to - in good conscience - as "sporty."
Mind you, there's nothing really wrong with how the IS 250 C drives. It handles ably and it provides a satisfyingly comfortable ride, but despite the aggressiveness of its design, it drives more like an extended-wheelbase sedan than a coupe.
Lexus' cars always err a bit too heavily on the comfort side of the luxury/sporty divide for our tastes, but when your $50,000 convertible drives like a $40,000 Prius, it's time to ditch it for something better. Which is what Lexus has indeed done. Thank heavens.
Specs & Prices
Engine: 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-6
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Power Output: 204 hp / 185 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 21 city / 30 highway
Price (base): $42,710
Price (as tested): $50,734 (includes $910 destination charge)
F-Sport package: F-Sport suspension, sport pedals, sport grille, sport steering wheel and shift knob, leather-trimmed, heated, and ventilated seats.
Navigation system/premium audio package: Mark Levinson system with 12 speakers, navigation system with backup camera, satellite radio.
Individual options: High-intensity headlights with LED running lights, cargo net, trunk mat.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Lexus IS 250C, click here: 2014 Lexus IS 250C.