Special Coverage

Paris
Auto Show

Toyota Motor Corp. today unveils the Lexus IS convertible at the Paris auto show, with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. saying the car will arrive in the U.S. late next spring.

The IS convertible is a 2-door version of the IS sport sedan Lexus already sells in the U.S.

Like the sedan, the convertible will be available with a choice of a 2.5L V-6 (IS 250) or 3.5L V-6 (IS 350) engine, producing 204-hp and 306-hp, respectively, TMS says.

A 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmission are offered with the 2.5L engine, while the 3.5L mill comes standard with the latter.

The focus of the vehicle is its retractable hardtop roof, which TMS says closes in 21 seconds and is made entirely of lightweight aluminum. The choice of material helps to “achieve smooth, quiet retraction,” the auto maker says.

To slow the speed of the roof closing as it reaches the windshield, the auto maker says a roof-brake mechanism is installed, thus “ensuring easy retraction just before closure.” No elements of the roof are visible when it is fully retracted, TMS says.

The IS 250C and IS 350C have many changed body panels from their sedan siblings, with just the hood, headlamps, door handles and mirrors being shared.

The doors of the coupes are 11.8 ins. (30 cm) longer than those of the front doors in the IS sedans, TMS says. To ease ingress and egress for two back seat passengers, there is a 1-touch automatic mechanism that quickly folds the front seat and slides it fore and aft.

TMS says extensive testing was undertaken to make sure noise, vibration and harshness levels of the coupe convertible match those of the IS sedan. For instance, an acoustic glass windshield and optimized roof, door and window panel seals were utilized to reduce wind noise.

Interior changes for the convertible include revised easier-to-read gauges and a speed-sensitive climate-control system that automatically increases air flow when the top is down, TMS says.

Safety features carried over from the IS sedan include Toyota’s Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management and electronic stability control systems. A safety-restraint system has an enlarged seat-mounted side airbag to better protect passengers in “certain side impact scenarios,” while still having a twin-chamber passenger airbag, the auto maker says.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com