If you enjoy the dynamics of the Lexus IS but yearned wind rushing through your hair, you may be in luck. We had our first at the 2010 Lexus IS 250C and IS 350C convertible, the third variant of the current IS line, this morning at the Paris motor show.
Like the larger SC 430 and its BMW 3-series competitor, the IS convertible eschews a ragtop in favor of its three-piece retractable hard top. Lexus says the system cycles open in as little as 21 seconds, allowing drivers to quickly switch from two-door coupe to open skies.
We'd argue the IS looks best in its topless state. Though the roofline of the IS convertible looks fine, the transition between the rear pillar and the beltline of the car is a bit awkward. Once the top is down, the trunk gently flows up to the tonneau cover, where it then cleanly wraps into the interior.
Though the car's rear quarters are noticeably different, Lexus designers threw in a few other tweaks - but you'll have to look carefully to spot them. Up front, the IS convertible displays a new fog lamp treatment, while new LED lamps adorn the rear fascia. The rear overhangs are slightly longer than the sedan, but it grants the convertible extra storage - Lexus says there's room for two golf bags when the top is up.
Early reports indicated tat the car would be mated only to the IS 350's 306-hp, 3.5-liter V6, but consumers may be happy to hear both the IS 350C and the IS 250C - equipped with a 204-hp, 2.5-liter V-6, will make their way to the U.S. IS 250C models are available with either a six-speed automatic or manual transmissions; the IS 350C is mated only to a six-speed automatic.
Lexus expects the drop-top IS models to appear in Europe next year, but we in North America will have to wait until fall 2009, when they'll arrive at dealers as 2010 models.