2003 SC 430 New Car Test Drive
Lexus SC 430 is a refined hardtop coupe and a sporty convertible, a leather-wrapped luxury liner and a serious performance car. The key to the SC 430's dual personality is a hard, aluminum roof that, at the touch of a toggle switch, neatly folds into trunk. There's more to this sleek new Lexus than its power retractable hardtop, however.
With a muscular, four-cam V8 delivering 300 horsepower to its rear wheels, the sleek SC 430 captures the essence of an aggressive two-seater. Yet it also elevates the concept to new heights of lavish luxury, thanks to the dazzling electronic displays and sophisticated vehicle controls that have become the hallmark of Toyota's Lexus division.
SC 430 challenges the Lexus reputation for staid styling, with its daring face, exaggerated wheel openings and eye-catching curves.
SC 430 was an all-new model in 2002. For 2003, the previously optional Lexus Navigation System has been added to the SC 430's long list of standard equipment. And the all-new Lexus Link telecommunications system is now optional.
Lexus builds only one version of the SC 430 ($62,025). It comes loaded with sophisticated safety and performance hardware, and laced with luxurious leather, wood and chrome. Also included is a Mark Levinson audio system with nine custom speakers, designed to deliver full-bodied audiophile sound whether the top is up or down, along with the Lexus Navigation System.
The double-overhead-cam 4.3-liter all-aluminum V8 produces 300 horsepower and mates to a five-speed automatic transmission with intuitive electronic controls.
The option list is decidedly short:
Lexus Link ($1,250, including one year of service) combines GPS satellite and cellular phone technology to connect the SC 430 driver with experienced Lexus advisors, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Lexus Link services include roadside assistance, stolen vehicle tracking, and remote door unlocking. The system also automatically dispatches emergency services if the airbags are deployed.
A thin rear spoiler ($440) reduces the car's slick drag coefficient of 0.31 to an even slicker 0.30. Run-flat tires ($400) eliminate the need for a spare tire and thus increase space in the trunk.
Standard safety equipment includes front and side-impact airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock (ABS), traction control (TRAC), vehicle skid control (VSC), and even a tire pressure warning system (TPWS).