Image credits: © Lexus.

2015 Lexus IS C Leads a Double Life

•A Hardtop Coupe That Transforms Into A Convertible In 20 Seconds
•Choice Of 204-hp Or 306-hp V6 Engines
•Available F SPORT Package Boosts Handling And Luxury
•Versatile Lexus Enform Multimedia

July 25, 2014 Some find the choice between coupe and convertible difficult to make. The Lexus IS C eliminates that dilemma. Its retractable hardtop provides the snugness of a closed coupe when up, and, at the push of a button, lowers in just 20 seconds when you want the unique feeling of top-down driving.

Enhancements to the IS C for 2015 include a new, organ-type accelerator pedal and, expanding music options, upgrading to the Lexus App Suite wîth iHeartRadio 4.0 and adding Slacker.

The 2015 Lexus IS C comes in four flavors: IS 250 wîth a 204 hp 2.5-liter V6 engine; IS 250 F SPORT wîth track-tuned handling upgrades; IS 350 wîth the potent 306 hp 3.5-liter V6, and the IS 350 F SPORT. All come standard wîth a six-speed automatic transmission wîth §teering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The IS C also comes wîth a pedigree. More than 20 years ago, Lexus became the first brand to offer a retractable hardtop convertible in the premium-luxury §egmènt, the SC 430. Lexus refined technology from that car for the IS C, bringing it to a more accessible §egmènt.

Vital Stats

6-speed Automatic
Leave it to Lexus to ensure coupe-like quiet and comfort in a convertible. The IS C makes effective use of an acoustic glass windshield, along wîth special seals on the roof, door and window panels. The rear window is made from reinforced glass. The design looks sleek to the eye and is also slippery in the wind tunnel. An impressively low 0.29 coefficient of drag (Cd) helps to minimize wind buffeting in the cabin when the top is down.

The available F SPORT package brings out the IS C models' inner road athlete. The F SPORT grille and lip spoiler and aerodynamic body elements accentuate the car's already sporty stance. The sport-tuned suspension sharpens the car's moves without harshening the ride.

The Dark Superchrome finish?on the 18-inch split-five-spoke alloy wheels gives the IS C F SPORT models an almost sinister look, and the wheels apply a trick from racing, called a 'staggered' tire array. The front 18 x 8.0-in wheels have 225/40YR18 tires, and the wider 18 x 8.5-in rear wheels wear 255/40YR18 tires (choice of all-season or summer performance tires).

Inside, the F SPORT treats the driver and front passenger luxuriously wîth leather-appointed, heated and ventilated sport seats. Únique features include the F SPORT §teering wheel and shift knob, Silver Metallic interior trim, aluminum sport pedals, and aluminum doorsill scuff plates.

High-Tech Roof With Many Talents
There's much more to the IS C's clever roof design than meets the eye. Behind the scenes, 13 electric motors and 33 sensors control the three-panel aluminum roof. When it's lowered, the roof hides beneath a locking panel that automatically closes. Únlike wîth a soft-top, there's no need to secure an awkward tonneau cover or hold-down snaps. With the top raised, the trunk is roomy enough to carry two golf bags, or one golf bag wîth the top lowered.

Lexus applied its penchant for quiet operation to the roof, using a lightweight aluminum four-link design and a roof-speed brake system that slows the roof as it approaches the end of the closing operation.

When the IS C is equipped wîth the available Intuitive Park Assist (IPA), roof operation will stop if an obstacle that might interfere is detected behind the car. The driver will get an audible warning, and a warning light illuminates in the instrument panel.

Four's Company
Lexus designed the IS C as a strictly four-seat car, wîth a high level of luxury as standard. The leather-trimmed 10-way power-adjustable front seats have power lumbar support. On the available heated/ventilated front seats, 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 wîth a one-touch feature that automatically folds a front seat and moves it forward. The rear-seat console includes cup holders and storage.

Top-Down Intelligence
The Lexus IS C knows when it's a coupe, and when it's a convertible. When the top is lowered, the climate control system automatically adjusts the temperature and airflow to compensate. The system takes into account vehicle speed and even the amount of sunlight reaching the interior.

What good is a high-end sound system like the 14-speaker Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound Audio System available for the Lexus IS C if you can't hear its full potential when the top is down? Here, too, the IS C responds to its environment by automatically adjusting the sound equalization – particularly bass response -- to compensate, and then changing back when the top is raised.

Well Connected
The Lexus IS C connects you to music, information and destinations, through onboard systems and your smartphone. Standard equipment includes a SiriusXM® Satellite Radio receiver (complimentary 90-day trial subscription included), Bluetooth® hands free phone capability wîth automatic phonebook download, Bluetooth music streaming, and ÚSB/iPod® connectivity.

The available hard disc drive (HDD) navigation system also comes wîth Lexus Enform Destination Services, which includes Destination Assist, eDestination and the subscription-free Lexus Enform App Suite. Its voice-enabled apps let you search the Internet through Bing™, make restaurant reservations through OpenTable®, get movie tickets via™, listen to Pandora®, iHeartRadio™ and, new for 2015, Slacker. You can also search business reviews on Yelp®, and check in on Facebook Places™.

Lexus Enform Safety Connect is standard on all vehicles, while Lexus Enform Destination Services is on all vehicles equipped wîth the optional Navigation system and includes a complimentary one-year trial subscription. The Lexus Enform response centers operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) is packaged wîth 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
•Redesigned organ-type accelerator pedal.
•Lexus Enform App Suite adds Slacker and upgrades to iHeartRadio 4.0.

•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 direct fuel injection wîth 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 help minimize vibration effects.
•The IS C features standard 10-spoke 17-inch wheels wîth a clean liquid-graphite finish and optional split five-spoke or five-spoke 18-inch wheels wîth a liquid-graphite finish and all-season tires.
•Standard Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management System (VDIM) interfaces wîth 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.

Luxury Options

•The 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™ wîth iTunes tagging.
•Available in conjunction wîth 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 wîth 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 wîth 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.

Source - Lexus
Toyota's luxury division unveiled its newest sport-luxury compact sedan in 2001, the Lexus IS 300. Sharing its engine with the larger GS 300, the IS was built with rear-wheel drive and carried a 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine that achieved 215 horsepower. The engine operated with VVT-i. During its first season, only a five-speed automatic transmission was offered, but it did incorporate Formula One-inspired E-Shift gear selection on the steering wheel. The wedge-shaped IS body had a semi-fastback roofline and was sharp-edged in design. It was called a ‘condensed high performance stance' by Lexus. A choice of either 16 or 17 inch wheels could be mounted on the IS 300 and front side airbags were installed along with antilock braking and traction control. Available on the vehicle was a limited-slip differential. Inspired by sport watched, a chronograph-style instrument panel was installed in the vehicle. The IS 300 was originally designed for the European market, and is promised to give ‘compelling challenge' to European sport sedans.

Though smaller than the BMW, the Lexus IS300 carried a fairly tight rear seat, though it had a high level of comfort. In Japan the Lexus IS300 was sold as the Toyota Altezza. Introduced in 1999, the IS 300 went on sale in June of 2000. Shortly afterward it appeared as the CART Championship pace car. Along with the IS 300 SportCross, a five-speed manual-transmission version was debuted. The sedan and the little-known SportCross was somewhat publicized by two racing entries in the 2001 Grand-Am Cup North American Street Stock Series. Competitive immediately, the IS scored its first pole position in its fourth race and first race win in the fifth round at Virginia internatiojnal Raceway.

In March of 2003 the IS SportDesign was introduced, basically a cosmetic package equipped with a special grille, tailpipe along with other touches. Sharing its in-line six-cylinder engine with the Supra, the Lexus IS 300 came with rear-wheel drive and an interior that was more sport than luxury. 215 horsepower was produced with the six along with 218 lb-ft of torque that used variable valve timing to broaden its torque curve. The IS 300 also had a two-stage induction system along with a two-way bymass muffler that enhanced breathing and lower noise. Excellent handling was provided by a double wishbone suspension.

When desired, the SportCross and the automatic transmission sedan featured E-Shift steering wheel-mounted shift buttons for finger-tip control over gear shifts. Basically a wagon/crossover version with the same dimensions as the sedan, the IS 300 featured a rear tailgate, a split fold-down rear seatback and fold-down front passenger seatbacks that allowed it to carry either long or odd-shaped items. A rear power outlet and a seatback table were also located in the folding passenger seat.

Wind noise was lowered due to a low 0.29 coefficient of drag, while the interior was quieted with sound-dampening asphalt sheets in the roof. Optional on sedans was a real spoiler, while the SportCross featured a unique spoiler as standard equipment. The IS300 had drill drilled aluminum pedals with rubber pads, supportive height-adjustable seats and stainless steel doorsill scuff plates. 17-inch wheels, low-profile performance-tread tires, auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors, a high-power audio system with both a cassette player and six-disc in-dash CD changer with eight speakers, and High-Intensity Discharge headlights were all standard features.

Optional on the IS300 was eight-way power driver's and passenger seats, heated front seats and a power moonroof. The interior could be outfitted with an optional leather/Alcantara trim package or a full leather-trimmed interior in either ivory or black.

The SportCross offered the Vehicle Stability Control system as an option. This was also optional on the automatic sedan. This feature was helpful in controlling traction while cornering on slippery or dry road surfaces by utilizing throttle intervention. To help limit rear-wheel slip on acceleration the VSC supplements the standard full-range traction control. Brake Assist and Electronic Brake force Distribution was featured on the four-sensor, four-channel anti-lock brake system. To determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking, brake assist is designed to figure this out, along with if the driver has not stepped firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage the ABS. The system supplements the braking power applied until pedal pressure is released.

Pretensioners and height-adjustable anchors are incorporated on the front seatbelts in the Lexus IS 300 to help avoid the forces to the upper torso in a serious frontal collision. The SRS, Supplemental Restraint Systems included dual front airbags, side curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, and front seat-mounted side airbags. A personal security feature is the speed-sensitive and shift-linked automatic door lock/unlock system.

An optional feature on the Lexus IS 300 was the Lexus Navigation System which used a DVD for map storage. All on one disc, the DVD contains all of the U.S. and the major cities in Canada. High-speed route calculation, multi-route calculation, route preview, a dual-map screen mode and simplified highway junction graphics are functions of the Navigation System. Deployed from the dashboard, the System is easily hidden when not in use. The remote controls for the system are hidden in the center console between the front seats. A dashboard storage compartment with a spring-loaded retractable lid is featured on models not equipped with the Navigation System.

For 2004 all Lexus IS models added a standard maintenance indicator light along with automatic power door locks. In October of 2005 the second generation of IS models were introduced, the IS250 and the IS350.

By Jessica Donaldson
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    CT 200h

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