Tony O'Kane | Jun 10, 2009

LEXUS HAS ALREADY released the IS 250C in Japan - its first convertible since the SC430 - now the topless two-door is set to arrive here in the third quarter of this year.

But when it goes on sale, it won't be the first time the IS convertible has landed on these shores.

Back in early 2008 Lexus sent a number of development mules to the Northern Territory to test the hot-weather performance and durability of the car. They were used to assess, among other things, the IS convertible's structural rigidity, dust intrusion resistance, climate control performance and driving dynamics.

2010_lexus_is250c_03

The climate control system in particular copped the harshest treatment, being left to soak up the sun (roof up, of course) for four hours until interior temps reached a whopping 100 degrees centigrade. To make things extra tough, a black vehicle was used for these tests.

Wind buffeting with the roof down was also tested, as was body flex with the roof both deployed and retracted.

The dusty roads of the Northern Territory made an ideal test-bed to evaluate the car's weather sealing - an important test for a hardtop convertible, considering the many joints and openings necessitated by the roof assembly.

2010_lexus_is250c_01

The result of all that testing is a car that Lexus says is one of the best-built in its class.

Lexus Australia says it will continue to sell the venerable SC 430 after the IS 250C arrives, but given the SC is nearly nine years old (and showing its age), it's a no-brainer that the IS 250C will quickly take over as Lexus's most desirable two-door.

Local specification and pricing has yet to be announced, but as with the IS sedan, Australia-bound cars will only come with Lexus' 2.5 litre V6, and not the 3.5 litre V6 available in the USA.

At this stage it's unclear whether a manual gearbox will be offered alongside the volume-selling automatic.

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