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>> Lexus' answer to perennial hottie, the BMW 3 series convertible is this, the IS 350C. It goes fast enough, and the retractable top is very Lexus. But let's check all the tech.
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Now even for a car brand like Lexus known for fussy little technical miracles, this top is a fussy, f-in, technical miracle. Check this out. Hit the little button, and all kinds of things start moving around. Up goes the world's largest trunk on a smallish car. Those two things fly up in the air, there goes the back light down flat. Now the two part metal shell top, that folds in on top of the back light, and back down comes the ginormous clam shell trunk. Unfortunately there is a down side to that technical wonder and that is, you need to be an agoraphobic to buy this car and own it successfully. Because if you like to leave the house for more than a few hours, like overnight, you're screwed. There's barely enough room for a set of golf clubs. In fact, they'd have to be your kids'. You've got a fairly standard payload of Lexus tech in this guy. Remember, this is not a top of the line car, so they're not gonna put all the bells and whistles in it. Nonetheless, their stuff's good. Love this map and navigation interface from day one. It's a touch screen. Notice, this car does not have the newest Lexus trick, which is that remote touch palm controller down here. This is, if you will, their older system, but by no means a slouch. It is hard drive based, but there's no hard drive space allowed for you to rip your CD's or transfer MP3 files. So again, it's a little stale in that respect as well, but the hard drive's a good thing. You do have live traffic on here. That's through XM. It's this system of indicated lines with colors and arrows showing which way the flow is going and you get a little flag when you got a problem there.
>> Southbound, I280 at 5th street, slow traffic.
>> Let's talk about audio now. This car comes with a Lexus audio system, or you can option up to the Levinson audio rig, either with or without the nav. It's not all one package which is good. You've also got here in the console, an aux jack and a USB jack and those are all included standard on the garden variety Lexus audio rig. To get Bluetooth hands-free, though, and Bluetooth audio streaming, you've got to go for one of two very chunky packages. That adds a lot of money to the price tag. Bluetooth ought to be standard on this guy. You have a 6-disc, internal changer because we have the Levinson audio rig here. CD's, DVD. It is full 5.1 surround sound and the Levinson rig is 12 speakers, 270 watts. You can watch DVD movies on this guy, but you have to be not just in park, but also have the emergency brake on, and only then is it going to let you play ball. Also, as part of a luxury package, you've got to get to the tune of 6,000 plus dollars, we get the heated and cooled seats, we also get a backup camera right here.
Pretty standard stuff though. It doesn't have any trajectory indications, not even any distance indications. Just a camera.
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The IS 350C's audio and climate rigs know when the top is down and they adjust accordingly. That largely means more heat, more fan, and more bass. The IS 350C has a 3 and a half liter V6 doing 306 horsepower and 277 foot pounds of torque out the rear wheels. That's good for 0 to 60 in about 5.8, delivering 18/25 mpg. If you step down to a IS 250C, you'll be flogging a much less interesting four cylinder with 204 horsepower, 0 to 60 in a much longer 8.4 seconds, but 21/29 mpg. On this car, many technologies just aren't spoken here, because it's too low on the Lexus totem pole. Things like lane departure, multiple cameras, adaptive cruise control, and Lexus remote touch interface are among the no-shows. But the idea of an IS C is affordable drop top fun when the whole Lexus luxury thing matters to you. Otherwise, you might just buy a VW Eos. Okay, let's price a Lexus IS 350C. Remember, a 350 is the V6, so you're paying full freight here, about $45,200 is your base. Then you got to spend $8,300 more to get the luxury package with nav and Mark Levinson audio. It also includes the Bluetooth stereo streaming, the adaptive front lights, the rearview camera, bunch of luxury niceties inside. But still, $8,300 is an expensive car when you go CNET style. You can save a lot of money though. If you want this basic concept, look at a IS 250C, 4 cylinder with a 6 speed manual. You're well under 40 grand there.
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