2011 Lexus IS 250 C Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Lexus IS 250 C Convertible

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Lexus IS 250 C Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 204 hp @ 6400 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Lexus IS 250 C

  • The 2011 Lexus IS 250 C delivers high levels of comfort and refinement in a hardtop convertible, but not without a few compromises.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    High-quality interior; smooth ride quality; all-weather hardtop; many safety features; golfer-friendly trunk.

  • Cons

    Poor rear visibility; limited top-down trunk space; cramped backseat; weak acceleration; rear end looks bulbous and awkward.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the Lexus IS 250 C sees only a few interior and exterior cosmetic changes, the most prominent being optional LED daytime running lights.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (12 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

It was on my bucket

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Lexus IS 250 C

And it was worth waiting for. I went through the years of soccer mom vans and cars that matched my sensible shoes. Nevertheless, I revel in the sensibility of this car, nevermind the epa rating of the gas mileage. This does much better. I am getting 32 mpg. When I spend more time in town, that compromises into the high 20s. The wind does not whip me around, the windshield is a great design. You can carry on a conversation, even in highway driving. I am sorry I did not get the rear view camera as the backup view with the top up is compromised. This car is gorgeous, smooth driving, steering, and more. The back seat is tight and the front seat is not as comfy as the bigger sedans.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

My 6th lexus!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Lexus IS 250 C

Just sold my IS300 Sportcross and picked up an IS250C. I loved my Sportcross, but it didn't have any of the technology that I crave. So, went back to our dealership and got one of the last two IS250C's in stock with all the bells and whistles. Love it. Not as peppy as the Sportcross, but it will keep me from getting speeding tickets! I love the trunk space when the top is up, and love that my hair barely moves when the top is down. I already got a compliment from a woman in her Escalade at the stop light. She rolled down her window and yelled "I love your car!" With the top down, I love it, too! The backup camera is a necessity with the small rear window.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Excellent automobile

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Lexus IS 250 C

This is our second IS - we traded in a 250 for this car. Fit, finish, ride comfort all are up to Lexus standards. It's quiet (much more so than the 350Z we had before the IS250) and easy to get into / out of. A little more pep would be good, but we'll sacrifice that for the gas mileage - if pep is important go with the 350C. We got rear-ended 2 months getting the car, but it's been put back together very well. Overall a great car if you want topless motoring!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love my is 250 c

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Lexus IS 250 C

This is my second Lexus and my first retractable hard top convertible. I Love This Car! I drove a little '87 Toyota MR2 for 9 years w/o any problems, and the Lexus IS250C is every bit as much fun plus the added luxury of the retractable hard top. I fuel it with non-ethanol mid-range fuel, and no matter how I drive the car, it averages 24-25 mpg. It has plenty of power for my needs, even on the freeway. And you don't see another one every time you turn another corner. This is a sporty car with rear wheel drive so I cannot complain about this when it comes to winter weather driving; but then, I grew up with rear wheel drive cars in Minnesota and North Dakota.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A well-built comfortable convertible

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Lexus IS 250 C

My IS250C is a tight, well built convertible. Unlike some hard top convertibles, the Lexus exhibits no squeaks, rattles, or snaps. Handling is good for a Lexus but not up to German standards (I'm a former Audi owner). I get 29mpg on my 75 mile commuter circuit. The interior is well-appointed and comfortable. The electronics package is terrific which is typical for a nav-equipped Lexus. My only complaint is that the USB interface does not recognize iPod playlists...a problem for classical music lovers. The car is quite with the top up and comfortably quite with the top down. The top retracts quickly...a nice feature.

Simply lexus

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Lexus IS 250 C

This is my second Lexus to own. I previously owned a Lexus RX 300 for 8 years and it was a great vehicle. I wanted something a little more fun to drive in my senior years so I started looking at convertibles. I looked at BMW and Infiniti hardtop convertibles but they couldn't hold a candle to the the Lexus IS 250 C. The Lexus IS 250 C is so quiet with the top up and only takes 20 seconds to drop the top. The standard sound system with 11 speakers is excellent. I recommend getting the navigation system with the rear camera. I don't regret spending the extra dollars to have this feature and it really makes for a more attractive dash display. I've had so many compliments on this car.

Full 2011 Lexus IS 250 C Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the Lexus IS 250 C sees only a few interior and exterior cosmetic changes, the most prominent being optional LED daytime running lights.


Sometimes, compromise is a good thing. Without it, we would forever be wrapped in deadlock and a comfortable middle ground wouldn't exist. The 2011 Lexus IS 250 C is a prime example of how advantages can be taken in compromise. One admirable feature may negatively impact the vehicle in another area, but on the whole, Lexus' entry-level convertible represents a solid choice for shoppers who want a little of everything.

A retractable-hardtop convertible provides plenty of advantages. In terms of safety and security, having a steel shell instead of a piece of cloth between you and the elements (or a thief with a box cutter) is certainly preferred. The IS 250 C's retractable roof provides even more enticement with its tightly sealed gaps that reduce wind noise to a hush and quick operation that drops the top in a mere 20 seconds. The compromises come in the form of reduced trunk space when stowed, reduced rear visibility and a rather ungainly appearance from behind.

Concessions have been made in other areas as well. The IS 250 C's 2.5-liter V6 engine is quite frugal when it comes to fuel consumption, but performance is adequate at best. The suspension ably insulates passengers from ruts and bumps, but will disappoint drivers looking for lively handling. Having rear seats in a convertible adds convenience, but the limited space back there makes them appropriate for the smallest of passengers only. One area free of compromise, however, is the high-quality interior that is synonymous with the Lexus nameplate.

The 2011 Lexus IS 250 C isn't the only choice for a luxury convertible, with competitors presenting their own strengths and weaknesses. Within this price range, the 2011 Audi A5, 2011 BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37 and 2011 Volvo C70 are all worth consideration. Spirited drivers desiring more athletic performance will also be well served by the nearly identical IS 350 C, which is covered in a separate review.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-passenger 2011 Lexus IS 250 C is a retractable-hardtop convertible that is offered in one well-appointed trim level. There is an IS 350 C with a larger engine and a few additional features; it's reviewed separately.

Standard equipment on the IS 250 C includes 17-inch wheels, foglamps, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 10-way power front seats (includes two-way lumbar control), leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Also standard are the Safety Connect telematics system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and an eight-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and iPod/USB interface.

The Navigation System package adds a hard-drive-based navigation system, Bluetooth phonebook downloading, a rearview camera, voice commands, real-time traffic and other information, and Lexus Enform enhanced telematics features. A 14-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound system can be added to the navigation system. The Luxury package adds xenon headlamps, LED daytime running lights, auto-dimming outside mirrors, automatic wipers, driver memory functions, ventilated front seats and wood trim.

Stand-alone options include a few of the items listed in the above packages, plus 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control with Lexus' Pre-Collision System.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Lexus IS 250 C comes with a 2.5-liter V6 that produces 204 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic that includes manual shift control.

Lexus estimates that the IS 250 C will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates with the automatic are 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined. The manual transmission comes in slightly lower at 19/27/22 mpg.


The IS 250 C comes standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, front-seat side curtain airbags, front-seat knee airbags and Lexus Safety Connect emergency telematics. Included with the optional adaptive cruise control is Lexus' Pre-Collision System, which can retract the front seatbelts and activate brake assist immediately when the driver presses the brake pedal if an impending collision is detected.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2011 IS 250 C boasts first-class accommodations in terms of premium materials and sporty design. As expected from any Lexus, fit and finish is top-notch. The navigation controls feature a mix of physical and touchscreen buttons for intuitive operation. Unfortunately, some climate and audio controls are also run through the touchscreen display and cannot be adjusted when viewing the navigation system.

Whether the top is raised or lowered, the IS 250 C's climate control automatically adjusts fan speed and distribution to maintain optimum comfort. The audio system also adapts to al fresco motoring by adjusting the equalizer settings based on wind noise.

Convertibles generally place little emphasis on rear seat comfort, and the IS 250 C is no different. With one of the smallest backseats in its class, space is at a premium for even the smallest of passengers. As with most retractable hardtops, trunk space is significantly reduced when the top is stowed. At its maximum, the trunk offers a decent capacity of 10.8 cubic feet. With the top folded, that figure drops to a puny 2.4 cubes. Fortunately, what remaining space there is will still accommodate a golf bag.

Driving Impressions

Top up or down, the 2011 Lexus IS 250 C delivers high levels of refinement. The body structure is shake-free even when driving over rough pavement, and the folding hardtop provides impressive isolation from highway wind noise. Acceleration is adequate with the automatic transmission and we actually prefer it over the six-speed manual that's neither accurate nor fun to shift. Those desiring livelier engine performance should check out the more powerful IS 350 C. The soft suspension and lifeless steering are tuned more for comfort than spirited handling, but the optional F Sport dealer accessory parts may be able to add some spice to the mix.

Talk About The 2011 IS 250 C

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs