Lexus SC430 Review and Specs

Lexus SC430 Review


  • Power folding hard top is very cool, easy to use, and quiet as a sedan when closed
  • Lots of standard features to keep you happy
  • 2006 and newer models feature much-improved handling over the first generation


  • Fails to deliver meaningful steering response
  • 2+2 passenger seating offers practically no room in the rear, except for maybe a suitcase
  • Minimal cargo space in the boot, particularly with the top down
  • Purists may object to absence of manual-transmission models
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Overview, Look, and Feel of the Lexus SC430

The Lexus SC430 is pure indulgence, like skipping dinner and heading straight for the pavlova. The SC430 probably won't be your daily driver, but it is sexy enough for a night out or a weekend drive. This is all about the driver, who gets to sit comfortably next to a passenger of choice.

Borrowing the 4.3L V8 and 5-speed automatic transmission from the flagship LS430, the Lexus SC430 is a luxury sport coupe of exceptional power and grace. While, according to Lexus, SC signifies Sport Coupe, it is more of a luxury touring coupe. Straight-line acceleration is top-notch, but the car does suffer a little in steering feel and agility. Purists may object to the lack of a manual transmission option, but Lexus automatic transmission control has always been far ahead of the pack, rivalling even some modern attempts by other manufacturers.

The Lexus SC430 is a convertible coupe with two doors and what Lexus refers to as 2+2 seating. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable, but adjust so far back, for tall drivers, as to leave practically no room for rear passengers. The motorised hard top on the Lexus SC retracts into the boot, going from coupe to convertible in about 20 seconds. This also nearly eliminates cargo space in the boot as well, so keep this in mind.

Lexus SC430 Engine Specs and Performance

Lexus SC430 is a hard-top convertible powered by a 4.3L V8 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The new engine is the same as that found in the Lexus LS430, producing 215kW and 419Nm, enabling the SC430 to accelerate 0-100km/h in just 6.2 seconds. Fuel consumption is around 13L/100km.

In 2006, Lexus upgraded the transmission to a 6-speed automatic, which helped to smooth out shifts. The Lexus SC430 powertrain stayed the same until the end of the model run in 2010.

Standard Equipment and Options for the Lexus SC430

The Lexus SC has pretty much always been about standard options, and the vehicles were easy to configure. Features included digital automatic climate control with air-conditioning, cruise control, and a full power package including power windows, seats, locks, and steering wheel, making this luxury touring vehicle exceptionally comfortable to drive. Alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, and anti-lock braking and electronic stability control are all standard. Heated seats and a 6-disc in-dash CD changer are standard.

Safety equipment, aside from stability control and anti-lock braking includes front, side, and knee airbags and a passenger sensor to restrict airbag deployment in a crash if something light like a backpack is on the seat.

The Lexus SC 430 upped the ante on options, including air-cooled front seats, satnav, and a Mark Levinson audio system with special digital sound processing that automatically changes settings when the convertible top is retracted.

Lexus SC430's Competition

The Audi RS4 is a major contender over the Lexus SC 430, offering more power and all-wheel drive traction, which brings 0-100km/h acceleration time down to just over 5 seconds. Handling is enhanced by Audi's variable damping, and the BOSE audio system is comparable to Lexus' Mark Levinson sound system. The R4S can't compete for price, though, and depending on a couple of different factors, you could end up paying thousands more for it.

For a while, it was difficult to get a hold of the Nissan Skyline 370GT Coupe, but once it was released for import here, it was seen as a fantastic value. It has nearly as many options as the Lexus SC430, but at a much smaller price tag. The Nissan's V6 boasts an impressive 245kW, better than the Lexus V8, but less torque at 366Nm, though not that much less. The Nissan was built for people with a smaller frame, so tall folk are likely to have a difficult time with headroom, especially in the back. Also, it isn't a convertible.

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