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Convertibles, concepts and fast cars from Lexus

Its top was dropped for the first time last week in gay Paris for the Mondial l’Automobile, and now Lexus has shipped its new IS convertible to sunny Sydney, with two race-inspired sedans hot on its heels.

The surprise arrival of the IS 250C confirms the car for Australia, and converts the sedan range into a trio of three by 2009. The IS 250C is a two-door four-seat version with an aluminium three-piece folding hard-top roof with a drop time of 21 seconds.

The convertible is powered by the IS’s 153kW/252Nm 2.5-litre V6, with a six-speed auto as standard.

Lexus claim rigidity revisions and suspension modifications bring the drop-top up to par with the sedan in both handling and NVH.

The body is differentiated by unique alloys, different front bumper, a high centre-mounted brake light (and of course, only two doors and no roof).

Lexus also boasts a mechanical ‘roof brake’ on the closing stages of the conversion, bringing the ceiling back to the windscreen without an awkward thump or rattle.

The rear overhang has increased by 50mm to accommodate the folding roof and additional weekend luggage (that includes a golf bag, though not much else).

Toyota’s high-end arm also has not one, but two performance versions of its base IS250 on display at this year’s show.

The Sports Concept is a works version of the base IS250 sedan, resplendent with big six- and four-piston calipers beneath grey 19-inch forged alloys, Bilstein sports suspension, rigidity braces, a new heavy-breathing air intake, cat-back sports exhaust for a 1.5 per cent increase in power, short-shift manual, and fat integrated spoilers.

The engine itself extracts a further three per cent of power, and is hidden under a carbon-fibre engine cover. The factory options are under consideration for the Australian market as a way for an IS250 owner to afford some, if not all, of the IS-F’s extreme power and sporting prowess.

Speaking of which: the IS-F sedan’s local facts and figures have also been revealed.

Its massive 5.0-litre V8 engine and eight-speed Sport Direct Shift (SDS) transmission claims combined consumption of 11.4 litres/100km while managing 311kW at 6600rpm, and 505Nm of torque at 5200rpm through the rear wheels. The 0-100km/h sprint is all over in 4.8secs.

The IS-F will be officially launched in November this year, with the IS 250C following on a year later. So it won’t be long until Lexus has a full-scale assault team to tackle the 3 Series BMW and C-Class Mercedes-Benz.


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