New Lexus IS 250C Convertible Launched at Paris Motor Show

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On Thursday 2 October 2008, Lexus unveiled the new Lexus IS 250 C at the Mondial de l'Automobile motor show in Paris. The new convertible Lexus will be on sale across Europe in Summer 2009. The new model combines the award-winning design of the IS sports saloon with outstanding open-top engineering ingenuity.

The Lexus IS 250C shares its smooth 205bhp (208 DIN hp) 2.5-litre petrol V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission with the IS 250 saloon. It has been styled to offer minimal wind turbulence when driving with the top down and extensive revisions to the body structure and suspension provide the right degree of torsional stiffness to ensure a level of ride comfort appropriate for a Lexus. In coupe trim, the car's low NVH performance is on a par with that of the IS saloon.

Thanks to the remarkably compact packaging of the three-part roof mechanism, the Lexus IS 250 C has a large boot space, together with easy rear seat access and generous accommodation for rear passengers.

The new coupe / convertible is the third model in the Lexus IS range, joining the Lexus IS petrol and diesel-powered sports saloon and the ultra-high performance 5.0-litre V8-powered Lexus IS F, which introduced the F Sports designation to the line-up earlier this year.

KEY POINTS

The new Lexus IS 250 C convertible will be on sale in the UK in Summer 2009

The IS 250 C is engineered to combine sporting elegance, top-down driving pleasure and uncompromised driving dynamics

A 3-part lightweight folding aluminum roof opens faster than any other, in just 20 seconds

The roof design is ultra-compact, ensuring a large boot space and generous accommodation for rear seat passengers

One-touch fold and slide action on front seats allows easy access for rear passengers

In convertible form, the IS 250 C is designed for minimum wind disturbance

Powered by 205bhp (208 DIN hp) V6 petrol engine with six-speed automatic transmission

Enhanced torsional stiffness, with noise and vibration levels on a par with IS saloon

EXTERIOR DESIGN

The IS 250 C builds on the elegant proportions, sweeping, sculptural lines and contrasting convex and concave surfacing of the IS saloon range to combine the muscular appeal of a sports coupe with the stylish lines of a convertible.

Only the bonnet, headlights, door handles and mirrors are shared with the IS saloon, all other body panels have been redesigned to ensure they harmonise perfectly with the three-part folding roof.

With the hard top down, the Lexus IS 250C has a seamless and elegant profile that is punctuated only by an integral roll-over hoop behind the rear seat headrests. No roof mechanism elements remain in view or project above the car's waistline, with the complete structure concealed beneath the boot surface and flush-fitting rear parcel shelf.

INTERIOR DESIGN AND COMFORT

The IS 250 C offers the same high levels of luxury and practical innovation as the IS saloon, with a number of bespoke technical revisions designed to ensure the on-board comfort and entertainment systems operate effectively when the car is in convertible form.

The instrument panel, surrounding elements and the steering wheel are the same as on the IS saloon, but the instrument binnacle in front of the driver has been extensively revised to ensure good visibility is maintained during top-down driving.

The climate control system has been configured for top-down motoring, with the addition of speed sensitive control, which automatically increases air flow when the roof is lowered and further increases it in line with vehicle speed.

AERODYNAMICS AND WIND STREAM MANAGEMENT

The IS 250C has been designed to combine the lowest possible drag coefficient with minimal wind turbulence affecting the cabin when in convertible form. Key features include a steeply raked windscreen, ultra-smooth cabin profile, aerodynamically efficient "duck tail" rear styling that gives an "airkick" effect, detail rear lamp cluster design and a an array of underbody covers. With the hard top in place the drag coefficient is 0.29, which compares very favourably with the 0.27 Cd of the saloon.

Lexus design engineers focused on reducing wind turbulence and generating the most comfortable airflow pattern for passengers when the roof is lowered. The angle of the windscreen and its top edge are major factors in achieving this performance.

RIDE COMFORT

The IS 250 C uses the proven front double wishbone and multink rear suspension format from the IS saloon range to give sporting, agile performance. Significant chassis revisions promote greater ride comfort suitable for a convertible and ensure consistent dynamic performance in both coupe and convertible guise.

Extensive temperature, vibration and shaking tests were carried out to ensure the changes to the bodyshell and chassis maintain NVH characteristics almost identical to those of the IS saloon. Class-leading low wind noise levels are achieved with help from acoustic glass for the windscreen and painstaking design of the roof, door and window panel seals.

SAFETY

The IS 250 C has been designed to achieve a five-star frontal impact rating in Euro NCAP crash testing, with world-class safety performance in both coupe and convertible configuration. Numerous changes in the body structure enhance collision strength, roll-over protection and torsional rigidity, minimising cowl shake and optimising chassis control.

Like the IS saloon, it benefits from the highest content of sophisticated active and passive safety technology in its segment, including Lexus's Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Control (VDIM), incorporating Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) that is tuned specifically for open-body driving and which gives shorter stopping distances on road surfaces with uneven levels of grip. A revised Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system is also available, supporting pre-crash seatbelt and braking functions, and the passenger front airbag has a twin-chamber design for safer and more effective operation.

For added protection when driving with the roof down, the Lexus IS 250 C is equipped with new-design larger side airbags that provide head protection in the event of a side impact. The bodyshell also features additional energy-absorbing side impact pads for both front and rear seat occupants.

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Michael Valvo
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