sporty lexus the cherry on top

BEING a holiday I decided it was a good idea to kick back on the sofa, crack open a couple of cold ones and watch a little TV.

BEING a holiday I decided it was a good idea to kick back on the sofa, crack open a couple of cold ones and watch a little TV.

Fortunate enough to have a satellite dish, I decided there must be something worth viewing on the box. Yeah, right.

Flicking through the movie channels I came across the original Ben Hur that was made in 1959 - and being screened for about the 1000th time - and a movie about a woman who was pregnant with a two-headed serpent.

Opting for the sports channels things didn't get much better - a table tennis game from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and some South Korean beach volleyball.

Determined to push on I ended up watching the crime channel, which featured a programme that showed how a woman managed to kill a man with small doses of arsenic win his cornflakes.

And it was about then that I decided that instead of paying R549 a month for something ridiculous like 80 channels of nothingness, I'll opt for what M-Net refers to as their "compact bouquet" range of channels.

So for R232 a month I might have less channels (35) but at least I won't get sore fingers from channel-surfing in the hope of finding something worth watching.

Which brings me to the new Lexus IS250c, which falls into my favourite category of cars - luxury sports models - and for me the IS250 is the "compact bouquet" of this particular segment.

It might not have all the features and gimmicks that many other manufacturers have, but it has exactly what you need and desire when forking out half-a-million bucks for a sports car.

Now, I think most of us know the quality that the Lexus logo represents, but to have it in convertible form is just the cherry on top.

Our test vehicle came in a lovely deep maroon hue and the cream leather seats and interior suited it perfectly.

A number of characteristics you will find on the more traditional IS250 sedan carry over to the convertible derivative - bonnet, headlamps, mirrors and door handles.

While inside the dual climate control, navigation, Bluetooth technology and an 8-speaker sound system is consistent with the sedan.

The six-speed automatic gearbox is also common to both varieties - and what a pleasure it is to use.

Gear changes are super-smooth and when you do decide to test the car's acceleration it chops down effortlessly before building up the RPM's and redlining at the 7500 mark.

The extra-large 19-inch wheels look the part and a wide range of safety features give a certain degree of confidence in the unfortunate situation of an accident happening.

Comfort goodies include park distance and cruise control, rain sensing wipers and paddle shift controls if you want to be adventurous and use the sequential gear shift.

On the downside is the boot space. When the roof is folded away it's just enough for a toilet bag and ... no, actually, just a toilet bag.

Oh, well, a small price to pay when driving a class vehicle in a very competitive segment.

Now, where's that phone number for M-Net?