Lexus IS 250C (2009 – 2013) Review

Lexus IS 250C (2009 – 2013) At A Glance


+Incredibly refined. Barely any top-down turbulence. Metal-folding roof retracts smoothly. Effortless performance.

-Thirsty and expensive to run. Soft handling means it's no sports car. Lacks the feelgood factor you'd expect of a convertible.

Insurance Groups are between 29–31
On average it achieves 104% of the official MPG figure

When I first read the price of the Lexus IS250C, I have to confess my jaw dropped a bit. I was expecting an entry level of £28,000 to £30,000. So £34,550 came as a bit of a shock. And that doesn't even include satnav. For the Navigator version you are asked to hand over a cool £36,750.

Lexus justifies this with a list of standard equipment as long as your arm (see below). Enough to pull the price of its closest competitor, the BMW 325i coupe convertible, way south of £40,000. So it's actually quite brave of Lexus to quote an all-in price rather then tempt buyers with a low list price, then keep adding to it to put you into the specification you really want.

Lexus IS250C 2009 Road Test and Video


Real MPG average for a Lexus IS 250C (2009 – 2013)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

29–36 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Should I buy a Lexus IS 250C to accompany my Mercedes-Benz SLK and Chrysler 300C?
"I have three cars: a 2008 Chrysler 300C estate with a Webasto electric roof, unique stitched Nappa heated leather, fantastic Classic FM and Radio 3 Boston audio upgrade and Parrot, tinted glass, 57,000 miles, FSH, no faults, value £8500k. It's a whispering Mafia staff car with a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine averaging 31mpg and 5-speed automatic transmission, assembled by Steyr of Austria with fake wood interior, Bentley grille and which is ultra-relaxing to drive. I love it. My second car is a 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK280 with 77,000 miles, indispensable air-scarf, valuable and ultra-safe Xenons, in obsidian black with heated cream leather and DAB radio. I can buy one of the last of Lexus IS250C's, the Advance with the special engine, one of the last made with full UK and European postcode satnav and 22,000 miles, at £23,000 privately against Lexus £27,500 for precisely that car. It's a nice margin as they'll buy at £22,000, except the widow will NOT sell her recently late husband's very loved car to them. I can have all three or a combination of any one or two. I do 9000 miles a year and have been driving for 50 years. My instinct is to buy the Lexus and keep all three."
I like the IS250C because of its refinement. You don't need the air-scarf because the clever design means no buffeting. We don't have any information about an engine upgrade for the last of the Advance models. Power and torque of the 2.5 V6 engine are exactly the same for the new IS 250 as they were for the old model, at 205PS and 252Nm. It's not as quick as an SLK280, but it is much smoother and more refined. So if you're going to dump anything, dump the SLK. Keep the 300C.
Answered by Honest John
How can I improve the ride quality of my Lexus IS250?
"I have purchased a secondhand Lexus IS250. It’s very nice, except the ride is very rough. It has alloy wheels fitted with 255/40 ZR18 99Y tyres. How can I improve the ride?"
The problem is the wheels and tyre size. You can go down to 17-inch wheels with deeper profile tyres for this model and, for the new IS, Lexus is offering 16-inch wheels with even deeper profile tyres. These may fit the old model, but I am not certain that they will.
Answered by Honest John
Which luxury cabrio?
"I have an Audi A3 Cab 2.0L auto - efficient but dull. I dream of an SL level of car while just under 70 years old, but for the best engines we are looking at 2012+ and that costs mega-bucks with surprising depreciation. Next yearss A3 Cabriolet looks a sensible buy but be mid-year before good discounted ex-demos are available. Saw a comment by you regarding the Lexus IS 250C being better than Bentley and your test report. I like the left-field, non-obvious choice but worry regarding fuel consumption and road tax. Same money could buy me nearly a new Lexus or Audi. Heart says Lexus brain says Audi. Your impartial view is..?"
As expressed. You can now get the Lexus IS250C for less than £25k.
Answered by Honest John
Can I fit 15-inch wheels to my Lexus IS250 for a comfortable ride?
"I had the good fortune to be able to take your advice and buy a Lexus IS250, petrol, automatic and I'm not disappointed. The ride is very comfortable on 17-inch wheels but would it be 'transformed' on 16-inch or even 15-inch wheels, and if so what tyres would you recommend for a quiet comfortable ride?"
You can't go to 15s on this, but you can go to 16s. I reckon 205/55 R16 Toyo J48s or Michelin Primacy 3s. The new Lexus IS is offered on 16s and the IS300 hybrid gets under 100g/km on them.
Answered by Honest John
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