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2011 Lexus IS 350C Road Test by Martha Hindes

2011 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes

2011 Lexus IS 350 Coupe

Know that song “I want it all and I want it now?” It could be the theme for the 2011 Lexus IS convertible, with top down, breezing along a Southern California coastal road, special someone sitting close by and heading for a late day wine tasting or something equally esoteric. You cruised in surround sound comfort that adjusted for open air audio quirks, spurred this rear-drive topless beauty into red line action when a tempting stretch of uncluttered winding road opened up, and upon arrival tossed the keys to an admiring valet with the offhanded confidence of someone like Angelina Jolie or her squeeze Brad Pitt.

In these Justin Bieber or Vanessa Hudgens days, where growing pains can be painfully apparent, knowing what you want and getting it right the first time can be a cultivated taste.  Your arrival in the IS 350C makes the statement your car does everything well, a confirmation of your achievement, good taste and intent. Consider that a prelude, perhaps, to a late night rendezvous at some sumptuous resort overlooking the Pacific, without the time consuming business of an awkward first date.

Critics have occasionally bashed Lexus in the past for having its sport convertibles try to do too many things. They not only performed with racing agility and gutsy engine power, but pampered with all those luxurious touches the premiere car company's known for.

Now that Lexus' convertible has moved to the four-seater IS lineup, with a leaner, lither foundation and tawnier good looks, there's a more contemporary enthusiast wanting two V-6 powered versions. Six-speed manual fans can get an IS 250C generating 204 HP.  That model and the 306 horsepower IS 350C have a six-speed automatic with intelligence and paddle shift manual mode while earning 21/30 and 20/27 mpg respectively.

(For some, “sport” without a jarring suspension, stick shift and banshee ride loses the qualification.)

Lexus fits a lot into this $35 K to$45 K base open-top successor to yesterday's dated SC. Tops is the standard, electronic folding hard top that scoots into the trunk in about 20 seconds. Expect the same attention to gratification and quality that's a hallmark for every Lexus vehicle, just with slightly simpler appearance. Among the few adds for 2011: Smart Stop technology for the 250's manual trans, plus Espresso wood and Saddle Tan interiors and LED daytime running lights for the Luxury Package.

If one is indulging in the IS 350C with all the bells and whistles intact, we think the proof of the decision is evident in some of its “best of” awards. And the woman behind the wheel, seeing the road warrior in her rear view mirror, is probably laughing all the way to the resort...

For more information on the 2011 Lexus IS 350C, click here.


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