Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: 2010 Lexus IS250/350C

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,968

    2010 Lexus IS250/350C

    Lexus has made a killing (up to now) by beating Mercedes-Benz and other Euro status brands at their own game. Similar cars; generally a much better price up front and (historically) stronger re-sale value down the road for the Lexus.

    The big LS sedan, for example, could be bought loaded with everything for less than the base price of a bare-bones S-Class Mercedes.

    And it held its value better, too.

    Now comes the new IS retractable hardtop coupe. It's using the same play book: Undercut the Germans on features-for-the-price.

    And offer features (such as a standard retractable hardtop) that none of the Japanese competition offers at all.

    WHAT IT IS

    The IS 250/350C is a four-seater retractable hardtop luxury-sport coupe. It's compact-sized, rear-wheel-drive and comes with either of two V-6 engines - and manual or automatic transmissions.

    Base price for the IS250C with 2.5 liter V-6 and manual transmission is $39,440. An IS350C equipped with a larger, more powerful 3.5 liter V-6 and automatic transmission starts at $44,890.

    Primary competitors include the Benz SLK series (which also has a retractable hardtop) and the Infiniti G37 and BMW 3-Series convertibles.

    WHAT'S NEW

    The IS retractable hardtop coupe is a new sub-model spun off the existing IS-series sport sedan.

    WHAT'S GOOD

    Around five or six grand less to start than a Benz SLK ($46,900), BMW 328i ($45,000) or Infiniti G37 convertible ($44,350).

    Four seats (SLK has just two).

    Retractable hardtop (G37 and BMW 3 are soft-tops).

    Extremely refined driving experience; sportier than you might have expected.

    WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD

    IS250C's 204 hp and 8 second 0-60 time is a little on the weak side for the price - and compared with the much more powerful/quicker Benz SLK and Infiniti G37.

    Manual transmission not available in 306 hp IS350C.

    Back seats predictably useless.

    Recent Toyota recall fiasco may hurt once-excellent Lexus resale values.

    ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

    The IS250C comes with a 2.5 liter, 204 hp V-6 and six-speed manual. Optional is a six-speed automatic with sport mode and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

    You can upgrade to a 3.5 liter, 306 hp V-6 in the IS350C. The larger V-6 comes only with an autoamatic transmission, however.

    Both versions of the IS are rear-wheel-drive.

    0-60 with the 2.5 liter engine takes about 8.4-8.5 seconds; with the 3.5 V-6, the time drops to just under six seconds.

    For comparison, the Benz SLK300 comes standard with a 228 hp six and gets to 60 mph in about 6.1 seconds; the BMW 328i has a 230 hp six and gets to 60 in about the same time. The bicep-bulging Infiniti G37 convertible comes standard with a 3.7 liter, 325 hp V-6 and gets to 60 mph in about 5.4-5.5 seconds.

    Fuel economy with the 2.5 liter engine is 17 city, 26 highway. The larger 3.5 V-6/automatic actually gets slightly better city mileage (18 mpg) and its highway figure (25 mpg) is only slightly less - solid stuff, given this engine produces 102 more horsepower and is also significantly larger.

    DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

    The IS250C is one of those cars that isn't quick but doesn't feel slow - most of the time.

    Though the math doesn't sound optimistic - 204 hp to haul almost 4,000 pounds of car - the car's marginal reserves don't become obviously apparent unless you try outmuscle an SLK300 or G37 when the red light goes green.

    In that scenario, it's hard to hide a two-second-to-60 deficit.

    But otherwise, the IS250 moves out (or at least, feels like it's moving out) better than you'd expect, given the "numbers." You do need to floor it (and hold it) to execute a safe/effiicient pass from say 45-60 mph - but the car can pull it off without scaring you or feeling as though it is being pushed uncomfortably close to its maximums. Tall overdrive gearing gives the car great high-speed legs, too. In sixth, the RPMs at 70-ish are just over 2,000 and everything is dead calm smooth.

    Keep in mind, too, the huge price difference between the IS250C (just over $39k) and the Benz SLK (nearly 47k to start and only slightly more powerful).

    If you want more scoot, you can always upgrade to the 306 hp IS350C, which is quicker than the SLK - and still some three grand less.

    Same thing vis-a-vis the BMW 3.

    Both versions of the IS handle exceptionally well without being the least bit harsh or over-firm. They are stunningly serene and quiet on the inside - much more so than any soft-top convertible. A fairly long wheelbase (107.5 inches) helps the car feel bigger and more planted than the stubby (and very short wheelbase (95.7 inches) SLK.

    Yet at the same time, if you need to move muey rapido, the car delivers. Maybe the steering's not as dead-on as a BMW's, but it's close and the cornering grip/balance are top drawer.

    Another point: Some Lexus models are a bit fussy in terms of their controls (too many, too complicated) but the IS is very driver-oriented, with a straightforward gauge cluster and minimal dashboard clutter. It's a car you can just jump into a drive, without needing time to figure out what does what.

    I liked that a lot.

    STYLING & UTILITY

    The IS is possibly a bit bland-looking and wide through the hips. It has some less than perfect angles (or curves and bulges). It's not by any means an ugly car; it's just not a car that really turns heads like an SLK can.

    The big draw is the retractable hardtop, which provides much more in the way of physical as well as psychological security than a cloth top convertible like the Infiniti G or BMW 3. Less of the outside world gets in; no relatively delicate fabric to stain or tear. And a hardtop means superior body integrity (fewer rattles and squeaks, especially as the car ages) and possibly safety, since there's a physical structure over your head. Sure, it could be expensive to fix down the road when the warranty's expired. But so are soft-top convertibles.

    Anyway, the real point here is that Lexus will sell you a snarky retractable hardtop coupe for something on the order of six grand less than the next-closest thing (a Benz SLK).

    It also has more seats.

    Granted, the back two are next-to-useless as far as carrying people goes because there is literally zero leg room (the front seat backs touch the rear seat cushions) but nonetheless. You could scooch the front seats forward enough to get a kid or agile small adult back there. It wouldn't be comfortable for either party, but it's a possibility at least. In the two-seat SLK, it's an impossibility, period. And even if you don't intend to try to carry people, you can carry a few bags of groceries, etc. Lexus even provides an electric tilt-forward/slide button on the top of the front seatbacks to make the process easier.

    Trunk space with the roof up is decent, too: nearly 11 cubic feet - more than both the SLK (9.8 cubic feet) and the physically larger G37 (10.3 cubic feet). However, with the roof down (and the top filling up much of the available space) trunk capacity shrinks to a pocket book-sized 2.4 cubic feet.

    QUALITY & SAFETY

    Lexus built its sterling reputation on delivering superb fit and finish the equal or better of cars costing much more - which meant better value up front - and superior resale value down the road.

    The IS definitely delivers on the former; its the least expensive luxury-band retractable hardtop coupe on the market - by a not-small margin - and it doesn't cut corners on other features or equipment to get there.

    On the latter - well, we'll see. The recent recall debacle has hurt Toyota (and Lexus) badly. The current woes could translate into losses resale value-wise, too. It's too bad, because the fact is Lexus vehicles are probably as good today as they were last year. It's just that public perception has as real an effect on reputation (and thus, things like resale value) as an actual problem or defect.

    The standard warranty - four years/50,000 miles - along with a six-year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty - is stronger than the Benz SLK and BMW 3's four-year/50,000 standard/powertrain coverage but not as good as the Infiniti G's class-leading four year, 60,000 mile basic and six-year, 70,000 mile powertrain coverage.

    In addition to all the safety equipment you'd expect to be standard equipment in a $40k car, the IS also offers Adaptive Cruiser Control (it slows the car automatically to take into account the ebb and flow of traffic) and comes standard with front seat knee air bags, which can save your legs from being mauled in a head-on crash. A back-up camera is bundled with the GPS navigation system and comes on automatically when the car is put into reverse.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    Maybe not the quickest, but the price tag (and retractable hardtop) can make you forget all about not being king of the dragstrip.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    840





    Last edited by Mase; 04-25-2010 at 03:39 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Raleigh NC, USA
    Posts
    3,628
    I haven't sat in the new convertible model, but have in the coupe.

    It is very driver-oriented (nice) but I found that despite the largish-appearing outside appearance, it was actually a little too snug on the inside. Where did all the space go?

    Several years ago, I test drove an IS 300 and liked it better than the BMW 325. But didn't want to spend that kind of money on a new car.

    Chip H.

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,968
    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    I haven't sat in the new convertible model, but have in the coupe.

    It is very driver-oriented (nice) but I found that despite the largish-appearing outside appearance, it was actually a little too snug on the inside. Where did all the space go?

    Several years ago, I test drove an IS 300 and liked it better than the BMW 325. But didn't want to spend that kind of money on a new car.

    Chip H.
    The BMW 3 is a superb car but the 328i convertible is underpowered and overpriced. $45K? Against $39k for the Lexus with a retractable hardtop? The 330i is $51k! And still no retractable hardtop....

  5. #5
    Lexus has made a killing (up to now) by beating Mercedes-Benz and other Euro status brands at their own game. Similar cars; generally a much better price up front and (historically) stronger re-sale value down the road for the Lexus.
    The Mercedes Benz "game" used to be excellent engineering, safety, and driving dynamics combined to make cars that were better than anything else on the road.

    See: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...standard&hl=en

    From 1977 at the peak of Mercedes' reign over fine luxury cars. It took a decade of development, to make cars that would debut in 1977, and still look and perform good in 1987 (and they did). You don't see that kind of commitment these days. Its all about the "newest" technological gizmos, the highest horsepower engines, the lowest profile tires, and the biggest rims. The cars were engineered to a standard, not to a price. It has all changed since 33 years ago. The last "real Mercedes" rolled of the lines in 1995 (when the W124 series ended production) and it has been pretty much downhill since. And the future isn't looking better for fine engineering from any company anytime soon either.

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,968
    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    The Mercedes Benz "game" used to be excellent engineering, safety, and driving dynamics combined to make cars that were better than anything else on the road.

    See: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...standard&hl=en

    From 1977 at the peak of Mercedes' reign over fine luxury cars. It took a decade of development, to make cars that would debut in 1977, and still look and perform good in 1987 (and they did). You don't see that kind of commitment these days. Its all about the "newest" technological gizmos, the highest horsepower engines, the lowest profile tires, and the biggest rims. The cars were engineered to a standard, not to a price. It has all changed since 33 years ago. The last "real Mercedes" rolled of the lines in 1995 (when the W124 series ended production) and it has been pretty much downhill since. And the future isn't looking better for fine engineering from any company anytime soon either.

    Very true.

    Benz used to be the ingot-solid brand for people who valued extremely high quality and bulletproof German engineering. Today's it's become another "flash" brand - catering to the taste(lessness) of what used to be called noveaux rich types who primarily want to show everyone else how rich they are.

    Current Benzes don't appeal to me at all.

    In fact, the last luxury car I really liked was the Jaguar XJ. But that's on the Kill List, too.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.
    Posts
    3,489
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Very true.

    Benz used to be the ingot-solid brand for people who valued extremely high quality and bulletproof German engineering. Today's it's become another "flash" brand - catering to the taste(lessness) of what used to be called noveaux rich types who primarily want to show everyone else how rich they are.
    I remember a German colleague of mine asking 'Why do you British like so much the Mercedes. We just look on it as a taxi car.'

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Edentulites
    Posts
    22,968
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    I remember a German colleague of mine asking 'Why do you British like so much the Mercedes. We just look on it as a taxi car.'

    Ken.
    Those late '60s, '70s and '80s-era Benzes were magnificent. The large sedans were just vaults on wheels. Massive, regal chariots that may not have been especially quick but which could build up incredible speed (for the era) if given a little room and then hold it comfortable, for hours - if you could get away with it!

    Coupes like the 280-up SL series were just gorgeous. The epitome of graceful and elegant.

    Today's Benzes tilt too far to the garish for my tastes.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Those late '60s, '70s and '80s-era Benzes were magnificent. The large sedans were just vaults on wheels. Massive, regal chariots that may not have been especially quick but which could build up incredible speed (for the era) if given a little room and then hold it comfortable, for hours - if you could get away with it!

    Coupes like the 280-up SL series were just gorgeous. The epitome of graceful and elegant.

    Today's Benzes tilt too far to the garish for my tastes.

    The W116 450SEL 6.9, was a hell of a car. Faster than most super sports cars of the time (Lambo, Ferrari, etc.) yet could haul 5 in solid comfort. You can still pick up a solid example for under $15k. 70's Ferrari's and similar run quite a bit more. And the W109 300SEL 6.3. Almost as fast as a GTO..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u7lld9SmnA&

    The modern era Mercedes had leaned way too far towards the Lexus-BMW type gadget mobile recently. Look what they did to the Gelandewagen. Most enthusiasts agree, if Mercedes made a W123 or W116 type car today, updated to modern technology, but without all the fancy gadget stuff, people would buy it.

    I agree about the "noveaux rich" types. I see them quite a bit, mostly in the Poconos. They all roll around in their expensive car, to their expensive house they can't afford expecting locals to cater to them whenever they desire. It's all happened in the last ten years. I think its time to move....far away.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    840
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Very true.

    Benz used to be the ingot-solid brand for people who valued extremely high quality and bulletproof German engineering. Today's it's become another "flash" brand - catering to the taste(lessness) of what used to be called noveaux rich types who primarily want to show everyone else how rich they are.
    How do you categorize (to the extent they can be) those who purchase Rolls-Royce or Maybach?

    Those are definitely niche market cars, and even your typical McMansion buyer probably can't afford them...

    I don't think Rolls is built with the same hand-made quality it used to be, but Maybach probably still is...

    I don't think those buyers have anything to prove to anyone anymore. They probably buy what they want without regard to what the Joneses think.




    Some of these folks don't even drive the car; they have a driver on staff.
    Last edited by Mase; 04-29-2010 at 01:42 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. 2010 Lexus RX350
    By Eric in forum New Car/Truck Reviews
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-16-2009, 08:26 PM
  2. 2010 Lexus RX makes it debut
    By Eric in forum Automotive News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-13-2008, 07:22 AM
  3. 2010 Lexus IS250/350 convertible coming
    By Eric in forum Automotive News
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-04-2008, 06:16 AM
  4. Lexus
    By ChevyMan in forum Advice/Questions/Tips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-01-2007, 04:51 PM
  5. 2007 Lexus LS460: The uber Lexus arrives
    By Eric in forum New Car/Truck Reviews
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-24-2007, 05:05 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •