Got 20 seconds? That’s all it takes to transform the 2014 Lexus IS 350C from coupe to convertible, offering consumers the best of both worlds. Lexus first debuted luxury hardtop convertible architecture on the SC model line, and in 2009 brought that technology to its IS sport sedan lineup, shaving two doors but offering it in 250 and 350 form.
While Lexus updated the 2014 IS sedans, the convertible remains pretty much a carry over, as it is still offered on the previous generation chassis. New for this year was the offering of an F Sport package, but our IS 350C tester did not feature that enhancement.
So what better way to put the hardtop convertible Lexus through the paces than a road trip to the Texas Hill Country? That’s exactly what we did, and we really got to see what the car is made of.
Right off, while packing for the trip, we discovered the storage space (or lack thereof) issue when the three-panel aluminum roof is stowed in the trunk compartment. Good thing our travels were only for one night, as we were able to squeeze a couple of soft bags into the rearward space left available in the IS C.
This being springtime in Texas, sunscreen was a must, but the ventilated seats in this black leather interior were a very welcome benefit. Strange weather this time of year — as we were getting sunburned, Colorado was getting snowstorms.
While the rear seats of the Lexus IS 350C are a veeeery tight squeeze, they do offer additional storage room for bags and what not, so long as you are able to secure them enough to keep loose items from blowing around; the air is very turbulent back there when the top is lowered. In the front seats however, things calm down a bit as I was able to keep a ballcap on my head the entire time during our roofless travels. The same cannot be said for all droptops we’ve tested though (Mustang and Camaro, I am looking at you).
As I mentioned, the three roof panels fold neatly into the trunk which opens in reverse fashion to accommodate the pieces. There is a safety barrier that will not allow the roof to be stowed if that needed cargo space is compromised by other items you’ve placed back there.
Our 2014 IS 350C tester did arrive with the latest technology including Enform package with app suite, as well as Mark Levinson audio system and navigation with Destination Assist and eDestination, NavTraffic and NavWeather, surround audio system with satellite radio and rear view camera, and Intuitive Park Assist with front and rear sensors. The latter was a big help when the roof was up as the rear blind spots are somewhat significant.
While the 350 model Lexus vehicles come with the larger V-6, we did still enjoy good fuel economy (more than 27 mpg highway) along with the 306hp and 277 lb. ft. of torque that made driving the scenic back roads of the Hill Country a blast. The Lexus IS is a rear-wheel drive car that even with the standard 17-inch all-season tires offers endless driving pleasure, all the while bathed in full comfort and surrounded by state-of-the-art amenities.
Pricing for the 2014 Lexus IS 350C begins at $46,990 with our loaded test model arriving at $55,144. EPA fuel economy rating for the 3.5-liter V-6 backed by six-speed automatic gearbox is 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
So if you’ve got 20 seconds, Lexus can take you from coupe to convertible – how you spend the rest of your day is completely up to you (sunscreen not included).