Just 20 seconds separates coupe from convertible worlds in the 2014 Lexus IS C models. That’s how long it takes for the three-panel aluminum roof to lower once the driver has pushed the switch. The coupe’s retractable hardtop disappears beneath a locking panel, with no need for the driver to secure a tonneau cover or hold-down snaps.
Lexus offered the first retractable hardtop in the premium-luxury segment with the SC 430 and applied engineering ideas from that car to the IS C models. Two versions of the 2014 IS C are available, the IS 250C is powered by a 204 hp 2.5-liter V6 engine and the IS 350C gets a more potent 306 hp 3.5-liter V6. Both models come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The IS C delivers a Lexus-quiet ride, thanks to an acoustic glass windshield, along with special seals on the roof, door and window panels. The back window is made from reinforced glass. A sleek aerodynamic design, with a low 0.29 coefficient of drag (Cd), helps minimize wind buffeting in the cabin when the top is down. With the top up, the trunk offers storage for two golf bags, or one golf bag with the top lowered.
The IS C models cut a sharp profile, which looks sharper still with the addition of the available F SPORT package. This package’s combination of sport-tuned suspension, F SPORT 18-inch wheels, exclusive interior trim and aerodynamic body features give the IS C models a decidedly sporty stance, with enhanced agility to match. Additional F SPORT Performance Accessories available for the IS C models include 19-inch forged alloy wheels, suspension and brake upgrades, air intake, exhaust systems and more.
High-Tech Roof With Many Talents
Constructed primarily of lightweight aluminum, the retractable hardtop features an automatic front lock assembly that provides the interior security not found in most soft-top convertibles. When the top is stowed, a lock assembly engages to keep the panel in a fixed, stable position.
Lexus ensured smooth, low-noise roof operation by using a lightweight aluminum four link design. The roof even closes quietly, thanks to a roof-speed brake system that slows the roof as it approaches the end of the closing operation.
When the IS C is equipped with the available Intuitive Park Assist (IPA), roof operation will stop if an obstacle that might interfere with operation is detected behind the car. The driver will get an audible warning, and a warning light illuminates in the instrument panel.
The Lexus IS C intelligently responds to being in coupe or convertible mode. For example, when the top is lowered, IS C models automatically adjust the climate control system temperature and airflow to compensate. The system takes into account vehicle speed and even the amount of sunlight reaching the interior.
Convertible drivers tend to like their music played clearly and powerfully. However, a convertible’s sound system generally loses bass response when the top is lowered. Here, too, the IS C responds to its environment by automatically adjusting the sound equalization to compensate, and then changing back when the top is raised.
Music is provided by the standard Lexus Premium Audio System, which features a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, eight speakers, integrated SiriusXM® Satellite Radio receiver (complimentary 90-day trial subscription included), Bluetooth® hands free phone capability with automatic phonebook download, Bluetooth music streaming, and USB/iPod® connectivity. Like other Lexus models, the IS C offers the industry-exclusive upgrade to a Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio system.
The Lexus IS C is strictly a four-seat car, with a high level of luxury as standard. The leather-trimmed 10-way power-adjustable front seats have power lumbar support. Choose the available heated/ventilated front seats, and the heating range includes the shoulder areas.
The two rear seats are positioned slightly inboard to maximize room and comfort, and Lexus ensured easy ingress/egress with a one-touch feature that automatically folds a front seat and moves it forward. The rear-seat console includes cup holders and storage.
When there are no rear-seat passengers, the driver can enhance visibility by lowering the rear headrests using a lever located on the front of the rear console.
Connectivity and infotainment do not take a back seat in the Lexus IS C. With the available hard disc drive (HDD) navigation system, the IS C comes with Lexus Enform. The available Enform service, with Destination Assist, eDestination, and App Suite, comes with the Navigation System/Mark Levinson Audio Package. Lexus Enform provides access to the subscription-free App Suite. These voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Bing™, make restaurant reservations through OpenTable®, get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com™, listen to Internet radio, including , Pandora®, and iHeartRadio™, search business reviews on Yelp®, and check in on Facebook Places™.
The IS C’s telematics system, Lexus Enformwith Safety Connect® is available by subscription. Complimentary one-year trial subscriptions are available on all purchases of new Lexus vehicles equipped with these features. Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles while Lexus Enform with Safety Connect is on all vehicles equipped with the optional Navigation system. The Lexus Enform and the Safety Connect response centers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—every day of the year.
Lexus Enform vehicles are factory ready for subscriptions to a variety of innovative SiriusXM services including NavTraffic, NavWeather, Sports, Stocks and Fuel Prices. SiriusXM services offer complimentary one-year trial data subscription.
The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) is packaged with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set following distance from a vehicle traveling ahead.
What’s New for 2014
- Interior trim revised for optional F SPORT package. This option includes sport-tuned suspension, F SPORT 18-inch wheels with dark superchrome finish; upper and lower grille insert; F SPORT steering wheel and F SPORT heated and ventilated front seats; front lip spoiler; aluminum sport pedals; silver metallic interior trim; aluminum scuff plates, and F SPORT badging.
- The IS 250C’s 2.5-liter V6 engine delivers 204 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 185 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,800 rpm.
- The IS 350C’s 3.5-liter V6 offers 306 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 277 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm.
- The 3.5-liter V6 augments the direct fuel injection with port fuel injectors. In light- and medium-load conditions, these additional injectors help produce a precise burn, optimizing power and efficiency.
- A dual exhaust system reduces backpressure.
- The body structure has excellent rigidity and strength, achieved by effective structural changes and additions to the rocker area, A and B pillar under structure, side collision crossmember, and upper and rear-floor crossmembers; underfloor braces were added in the front and rear.
- High-rigidity damping materials and asphalt sheets were added to help minimize vibration effects.
- The IS convertible features standard 10-spoke 17-inch wheels with a clean liquid-graphite finish and optional split five-spoke or five-spoke 18-inch wheels with a liquid-graphite finish and all-season tires.
- Standard Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System (VDIM) interfaces with the electronic throttle control system and governs all of the vehicle’s dynamic handling systems – the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) – employing them collectively and seamlessly to make corrections while helping provide higher dynamic capability.
Safety and Security Features
- Seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters are used for the front seats, while the rear seats adopt emergency locking retractor seatbelts.
- The Lexus Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) includes dual-front airbags, front-seat-mounted side curtain and torso side airbags, and knee airbags for both the driver and the front passenger.
- Two convenient fold-forward lock-release levers on both sides of the front seats make operation easier from any seat. In addition, the passenger seat features a power slide button on the top of the seatback to ease rear seat ingress/egress.
- An available automatic one-touch, easy-entry power-seat mechanism provides even easier egress and ingress through quick-acting, front-seat fold-and-slide activation.
- The doors feature three open-stopping positions (rather than the normal two) to add convenience in various parking situations.
- The standard SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button-start/stop allows the driver to keep the access key fob in a pocket or purse.
- Standard Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) helps prevent the vehicle from moving backward when the driver’s foot moves from the brake pedal to the accelerator.
- Lexus’ available Hard-Disk Drive (HDD) navigation system has a seven-inch VGA touch-screen, back-up camera, Voice Command casual-language voice recognition system, Bluetooth automatic phonebook download and music streaming HD Radio™ with iTunes tagging.
- Available in conjunction with the optional navigation system is a 12-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio system that features discrete 5.1 multi-channel playback, nine amplifier channels providing 270 watts total output at 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD).
- Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with LED daytime running lamps (DRLs) are available.
- The optional Intuitive Park Assist (IPA) system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect objects close to the car's front and rear bumpers, alerting the driver and showing distance to objects in the multi-information display within the speedometer.
- 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.
- 72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage.
- 72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.