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May 20, 2009

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Lexus IS Retractable Hard-Top Convertible Offers Top-Down Expressiveness with Coupe-Inspired Styling

The IS250C and IS350C represent Lexus’ second convertible and its first since the debut of the SC430 in 2001. Featuring a convenient single-switch operation, the new three-piece hard top provides open-air freedom with the top down without sacrificing the quiet and comfort of a coupe. Constructed primarily of lightweight aluminum, the hard top also provides surprising storage space but with low noise and increased security not typically found in soft-top convertibles. In addition, the top completely retracts with no elements remaining in view.

The Four-link roof assembly, also made of aluminum for a lightweight design, provides smooth even movement. Engineered to operate in an easy, efficient manner, each component is motor driven with detection switches, allowing the control unit to know their exact position at all times. In addition to the two main roof panels being constructed of light-weight aluminum, the back window’s reinforced glass construction also lends itself to reduced weight. Weather-strip changes in areas around the doors and windows ensure tight seals.

A roof-speed brake-control system decreases the roof speed especially as it approaches the end of the closing operation in either direction, ensuring an elegant and quiet movement.

On models equipped with available Intuitive Park Assist (IPA), sonar sensors in the rear bumper will stop the movement of the luggage door at the start of operation if it detects an obstacle will interfere. Also, a visual warning will appear on the instrument panel if a detected obstacle may soon interfere with top operation.

When the IS convertible’s top is opened or closed, the power windows will automatically lower if in the closed position, and raise back up when the operating switch is held. Also, when the top is up, the door windows automatically lower 15 mm when the door opens, and then raise back into a fully closed position when the door closes. This ensures the doors’ clean open/close function while also maintaining a tight seal around the glass. The aluminum hard top features an automatic front lock assembly that provides the interior security not found in soft-top convertibles. When the top is stowed in the down position in the rear of the IS convertible, the lock assembly is engaged to kept the panel in a fixed, stable position.

The IS convertible has a best-in-class 0.29 drag coefficient (Cd). This is accomplished with the help of underbody covers below the engine (with aerodynamic steps), the full floor, and fuel-tank covers, as well as s rear-floor diffuser with vertical fin and airfoil. Other areas that contribute to the low Cd include the design shape of the outer mirrors, high-mount stop lamps, and the rear tailamps. Fender fairings before the front and rear tires reduce airflow into the wheel house, improving aero characteristics and reducing air turbulence.

The IS convertible’s body structure has excellent rigidity and strength, achieved by effective structural changes and additions to the existing IS sedan platform. Additional bracing was implemented to help provide excellent handling control, ride comfort and body durability while also minimizing weight gain.

The IS convertible interior maintains the luxury touch points associated with the IS sport sedans, while new comfort and entertainment features provide a consistent atmosphere regardless of top configuration. Special attention was given to providing an attractive interior design when viewing the convertible externally. The door and side trim is fashioned to create continuity and continuous flow from front to back.

A four-seat configuration provides each passenger with their own comfort space, and the rear-seat console enhances the rear-passenger amenities with cup holders and storage. Soft padding on the sides of the console and the outer trim areas improve comfort. The rear headrests are retractable for improved visibility and the lever can easily be accessed from the rear console or from the driver’s seat. Rear-seat comfort is enhanced by shifting seat position inboard, providing for sizeable headroom.

The IS convertible models feature the same powertrains as the IS sedans. The IS 350C's 3.5-liter V6 delivers exhilarating performance with outstanding 306 horsepower at 6,400 RPM along with 277 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. The IS 250C's 2.5-liter V6 engine has a great combination of fuel efficiency and performance. The IS 250C’s V6 produces 204 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 185 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,800 rpm. Both engines utilize aluminum cylinder blocks and heads, while employing dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which controls timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts.

A direct-type fuel-injection system provides a cooling effect in the cylinders, enabling the high compression needed to extract maximum energy from the fuel. Aside from its larger displacement, the 3.5-liter V6 differs chiefly in that it augments the direct fuel injection with port fuel injectors. In light- and medium-load conditions, these additional injectors help produce a precise burn, increasing power and efficiency, while reducing emissions. A dual exhaust system reduces backpressure at higher engine speeds. Like IS sedans, the IS250C and IS350C meet the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II) certification.

An advanced six-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard on the IS 350. The IS 250 comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or the paddle-shift, six-speed automatic transmission. All new Lexus vehicles come with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48-months/unlimited miles. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage.

The 2010 IS250C will have a MSRP of $38,490 when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission; the IS250C with a six-speed automatic transmission will be $39,660. The IS350C will have a MSRP of $43,940. MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $875.

(May 12, 2009)


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