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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Jun 5, 2009

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Lexus IS 350 C F-Sport FIRST DRIVE

DUO LEXI Driving the New Lexus IS 350 Convertible and HS 250h By Kurt Fuhrmann

Sunny Southern California, a beautiful place where the sun keeps the residents warm eight to ten months out of the year. There is also an abundance of restaurants, clubs, great beaches, hot cars and 'beautiful people.'

Lexus IS 350 C Great news this year in our Garden of Eden are the 2 new cars from Lexus: the IS 350 Convertible, and the brand new HS250h, a sophisticated, stylish, and efficient hybrid. These two new luxury vehicles have something for everybody. Lexus put on an event to drive these new cars around the spectacular Pelican Resort. But then again, where else should Lexus be found. The first Lexus that caught my attention was a black IS 350C F-Sport with all the bells and whistles. The F-Sport package includes, a sport dual exhaust system, and a myriad of specialty items that will make your head spin. The F-Sport is the cream of the crop and this is obvious from the first drive. The powerful growl of the exhaust doesn't let you forget that there is real muscle under the hood, 320 horses worth of it. The F-Sport is equipped with a quick-shifting manu-matic transmission, plus high performance brakes; which are very useful when one wants to put the aforementioned 'ponies' back in the barn. Driving the F-Sport is a thrill a minute.

Lexus IS 350 C Since the F-Sport was an exceptional experience, I probably should have tested the standard IS 350C first. The fact that the F-Sport has 'more' in many areas does not mean that the standard IS 350C has 'less', it's just different. Granted, there was no exhaust growl, and less tightness in cornering, and softer brakes, but nonetheless, a true luxury convertible throughout. It performed very well, and even though this IS was not equipped with the performance shifting, the paddle shifting performed flawlessly. Since the convertible top only takes 20 seconds to stow, the coupe is quickly transformed into a luxury tanning bed. Finishing the course with the top down showed how comfortable and surprisingly quite the ride is. The IS 350C fits in nicely at the beach with the top down, or in valet parking at a fine restaurant, or of course, at the premier Pelican Hill Resort.

Lexus HS 250h Even though the IS was luxurious and great fun to drive; perhaps the excitement of the event was to test drive the HS 250h, a brand new luxury hybrid. Lexus is not new to the hybrid genre, but the HS 250h is new from the ground up. The doors were open to develop something unique; and that is exactly what they did. Even some of the interior and cargo area accouterments were developed from plant-based materials. In addition, the cabin was shifted forward to provide better weight distribution for improved handling. When driving the HS, there are three specialized driving positions: power, economy, and EV, which uses only the battery for slow driving conditions. The three modes provide a nice variety in determining how much of the178 HP you need. Shifting through all three modes while driving up a hill illustrates the differences between the modes and it was obvious when the power mode was called for.

Lexus HS 250h Overall, this Hybrid is definitely a Lexus, with the requisite level of comfort, driving pleasure and of course the Navigation System in the event one gets lost. The HS 250h luxury hybrid could be a home run, it doesn't look like a hybrid, doesn't drive like a hybrid, and as our gas prices continue to climb, a luxury hybrid might be just the thing for someone looking to change their driving experience.

Lexus IS 350 C The IS 350 Convertible Engine: 60 degree V6 aluminum block with Four cam, four valves per cylinder, with Dual variable valve timing HP: 306 hp @ 6,400 Torque: 277 lb-ft @ 4,800 Suspension: Front - Independent, double-wishbone with coil springs, gas pressurized shock absorbers and stabilizer bar Rear - Independent, multi-link with coil springs, gas pressurized shock absorbers and stabilizer bar Brakes: Four wheel power assisted Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and brake assist

Lexus HS 250h The HS 250h Hybrid Engine: 24-liter Atkinson Cycle Inline 4 with four cam, four valves per cylinder with Variable Valve Timing Electric Drive Motor: High-output, permanent-magnet electric drive motor Total System Horsepower: 188 hp Transmission: Electronically controlled Continuous Variable Transmission (ECVT) Drive Type: Front-wheel drive Suspension: Front - Independent, struts with coil springs, gas pressurized shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar Rear: Independent double wishbone with coil springs, gas pressurized shocks, And stabilizer bar Brakes: Four wheel Power Assisted disc brakes with Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) And energized function

Lexus IS 350 C F-Sport

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