With good looks, plenty of luxury, and a healthy dose of performance, the 2012 Lexus IS 350C certainly has a lot going for it.
Competing against the convertible versions of the Audi A5 and BMW 3-Series, as well as the Volvo C70, the IS 350 is one of the most practical in its class thanks to its clever retractable hard-top, reasonably spacious trunk, superb quality, and decent ride.
While its IS 250C sibling
can feel a bit anemic, having to suffice with only a 2.5-liter V-6, the IS 350C gets a big 3.5-liter V-6 and the full 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque that comes with it. The silky smooth unit feels strong, right through the rev range, and the six-speed automatic (with paddle-shifters) is a willing companion, yielding impressive straight-line performance.
Fuel economy comes in at an EPA-rated 19/27 mpg city/highway, which is relatively good for the class. And considering the mileage gains of the less powerful IS 250 are only a couple of mpgs, we strongly recommend opting for the IS 350C if your budget allows.
On the road, the extra performance of the bigger engine is immediately noticeable, especially if you’ve driven the cars back-to-back. The IS 350C offers excellent comfort and ride quality, though it isn’t as sharp as its German rivals. The flipside is that it’s a lot more comfortable, especially when the road surface isn’t the best.
Inside, premium feeling materials and excellent build quality reminds you that the IS 350C is also a great luxury car and not just a performance machine. For instance, two fold-forward lock-release levers are standard on both sides of the front passenger seats, making it easier to operate from any location inside the vehicle. The passenger seat also features a power slide button on the top of the seatback, making it easier to get in and out of the back. The IS 350C is also equipped with a standard power tilt and telescoping steering column to help you quickly get into a comfortable position.
There are loads of other features as well, including an eight-speaker sound system as standard, Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity, and XM NavTraffic, Nav Weather, Sports, and Stocks. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, you can spice up your IS 350C with a host of appearance or performance enhancing F-Sport accessories available at the dealership.
For a closer look at the 2012 Lexus IS 350C, and all it has to offer, head over to our sister site The Car Connection
for the full review.