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Lexus IS 350 C Convertible

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By Cor Steenstra, Photos by Chris Jones, Model Natasha Lankish, Make Up Victor Krone.

We recently drove the Infiniti G37 Convertible for you, and as luck would have most of the week we had the Infiniti was rained out, a unique phenomena in Southern California. So, we planned the Lexus IS 350 C Convertible for a time of the year nuch more suitable for open top driving…, and again we were confronted by a lot of bad weather. We’re now going to test if this logic really works, that whenever we plan a convertible for a test the rains come to SoCal. If that works, we could finally overcome the drought that has harmed this region for so long!

Back to the real business. The Infiniti gave us a view of what a high quality sports convertible would feel like in this day and age, with excellent road holding and superb fit and finish. Since the Lexus was introduced before the Infiniti, and the IS series is a little older than the Infiniti too, we were kind of anticipating the Lexus to fair reasonably well in comparison… Man… Were we shocked…!

The IS 350C is borderline perfection! Not only is the fit and finish of excellent level, higher than the Infiniti, the amount of noise you get in the car in closed version, the lack of wind turbulence in open version, it is all of a much higher standard than the Infiniti! And then the road holding… A dream… My favorite piece of road to evaluate the road holding is the Highway 74 from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore, a piece of road where you have some stretches that are long and you could evaluate the speed, and then there is the very curvy mountain section with the ravine on one side, where the road holding comes under real stress.

This piece of road is your typical corner-rich mountain road, with steep climbs and descents, 180 or more degree corners, 2 lane only, so no overtaking. The maximum speed there is set at 55, with a 30 to 35 mph recommended maximum speed at the tighter corners. The Lexus allows for you to drive this road at a comfortable 70 -75 mph without any sense of panic, no tire noise, no drama, with only an occasional tapping on the brakes to slow down to 55-60 in the tightest of corners, more due to the unknown behind the corner than the Lexus not being able to cope.

Of course we have not driven this road at that speed at all.., but we could have easily, after 11 at night, when there is no police control anymore, all the bikes have ceased and only a few lunatics are out.., and then this Lexus would allow you to be the fastest among them.

All in all we had a very excellent impression of the Lexus IS 350 C. Inherently due to the type of retractable roof construction, the rear deck is a little high in side view compared to the other lines from the IS series, but where opening up a car in most cases leads to a reduction in the road holding capabilities of any car, this Lexus is still performing at exceptional level, with ease. So much so in fact, that we asked Lexus to schedule us in for the lowest IS 250 to see if that offers a similar quality experience.

We will keep you posted.

Special thanks to Judy for her handling of the gear shift specialties..

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