Considering how successful the SC has been for Lexus (there's seemingly one at every stoplight in South Florida), the cheaper IS convertible is a no brainer. Like its more expensive lineup-mate, the IS wears very attractive, if decidedly feminine sheet metal, which is especially impressive since the aging IS sedan hardly stands out visually. The cabin design is dark and dull, but at least everything fits well, emitting not a squeak nor rattle at any point during my ride. As others have noted, the 2.5-liter V-6 is perfectly sufficient for a comfortable, good-looking cruiser. My only real disappointment dynamically was with the automatic transmission, which behaves rather strangely in manual mode. Unlike just about every other car with shifter paddles, the IS does not automatically return you to first at a stop. If you're in second, it seems to stay in second. If you're in fourth or fifth, it will downshift, but then fails to indicate as such on the instrument panel, meaning you don't know what gear you're in until it reaches the one you've last selected. Odd.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor