What it is: The IS convertible is the Lexus four-door luxury hard-top convertible with a fully retractable roof. While the Lexus IS sedans are all-new for 2014, the convertible has not been updated and is based on the same version released as a 2010 model. No new model has been officially announced, but you have to think that one is coming in the next few years based on the new IS platform, which I consider to be one of the best available period. The current IS 250C does have a lot going for it, even if it was developed five years ago. The interior feels very luxurious (and very Lexus as a result) and the retractable hard-top convertible is fantastic. I had no problems putting the top up or down during a normal red light stop. My test model also had lots of add-ons like the F-Sport package, which provides 18 wheels, special suspension, sport grille, leather trimmed seats, and so on for $2,550. Definitely a good value if you want the more aggressive appearance. Also chosen were HID headlights with LED daytime running lights ($875) and the navigation system with Mark Levinson twelve-speaker audio system for $3,520. I see less value there. I was underwhelmed with the performance of the IS250C as it is equipped with a 2.5 liter V6 engine producing 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. With that being said, the IS250C is only available because Lexus wants to deliver a more affordable IS convertible. Comparible offerings from Infiniti and BMW offer more power, but sticker prices are $6,000 higher. The IS250C, with the lower price and a smooth ride it makes a lot of sense for customers who want a hard-top convertible but dont need high horsepower. Cost: $42,710 base price. $51,234 as-tested. MPG: 21 city/30 highway Upsides: Cheapest available hard-top convertible, but still a great product. Downsides: Its a $50,000 luxury sports car with as much horsepower as a Honda CivicSi. Summary: Normally I would never recommend buying a car model immediately before it is replaced by a new version (unless you get a steep discount of course), but I can recommend the 2014 IS250C. It is a great convertible and a great car for someone not as concerned with big horsepower and wants to save 10 percent in the process.

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