Why The 2014 Lexus IS 350C Looks Like The Last Generation IS

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Lexus IS350C
The 2014 Lexus IS 350C.
There is a sleek, svelte new Lexus IS in town.  You have seen it, on this very site.  About seven months ago, I reviewed it, in the form of the IS 350 F-Sport. But the IS 350C retractable hardtop convertible and the high performance IS-F sedan still carry the rounder, smoother design from the previous-generation IS.

Side view of 2014 Lexus IS 350C
2014 Lexus IS 350C.
Cost amortization is likely the reason.  These low-volume, high-content cars are not cheap to build and need some time to sell well enough to make themselves profitable. The good news is that, if you don't have to have styling that fits in with the rest of the IS lineup, the IS 350 C is a very good car indeed.

Michael said as much, in his review of the C last summer, declaring it a quantum leap from Lexus' previous retractable, the SC430, a car that was in contention for Top Gear's "Worst Car In The World".  The IS 350C will never end up on that list.  It is competent and ultimately endearing.

The base price has risen a modest $200 between 2013 and 2014, to $46,990, which brings a wealth of standard equipment, including a 3.5-liter V6 with 306 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, perforated leather trim, 10-way power-adjustable driver and passenger front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, an 8-speaker premium audio system and more.

The powertrain is a rather economical one, all things considered, returning 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highway, according to EPA estimates.

Interior view of 2014 Lexus IS 350C
2014 Lexus IS 350C interior.
Our test vehicle added the F Sport package, upgrading to 18-inch dark graphite wheels with summer tires, an F-Sport suspension, sport pedals, aluminum scuff plates, and adding heating and ventilation to the front seats ($2,550).

Another $875 brought high-intensity headlamps with LED running lights, $3,520 upgraded the audio system to a 12-speaker Mark Levinson surround unit with navigation, backup camera and the Lexus Enform app suite.

$500 more for intuitive parking assist with front and rear sensors, and $100 for headlamp washers brought the total as-tested price---with $910 delivery, processing and handling fee---to $55,445.

The IS 350C has none of the float and flex that plagued the SC430 and, for that matter, many other convertibles. The retractable hardtop makes it as wind, water and sound-proof as any coupe when the top is up.

Lexus' slogan is "The relentless pursuit of perfection", and the IS 350C proves that they are pursuing it in open-air motoring at last.