I'm not a big believer in these hardtop convertibles. You lose the romance and the better looks of a ragtop, not to mention you lose a lot of cargo space that is eaten up by the metal roof once it's folded away.
But if you're into the concept, the Lexus IS convertible is an appealing piece. It seems to be very well built, and the body structure is, of course, commendably stiff. It was 36 degrees this morning here in Michigan, so I didn't put the top down, but it's clear that the rear seats are really only suited for groceries or very small people, but that's the case with most 2+2 convertibles.
Our test car had only the 2.5-liter V-6, but for most sun seekers it will be more than sufficient. I agree with Joe Lorio that the car had surprisingly sporty reflexes, although I found the steering to have heavy effort more than feel. Contributing to the sport effect are the paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel column; they are nicely shaped, feel good to your fingertips, and easy to grasp. Not much wood in here, which is fine; adds to the modern aesthetic. Superb radio and navigation interface; very obvious how to switch back and forth between nav, audio, and climate controls.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor