2004 SC 430 New Car Test Drive
On cold, rainy days, the Lexus SC 430 looks like a neat sport coupe. But when the sun comes out, press a button and the retractable hardtop drops within 25 seconds, transforming the SC 430 into convertible.
Top up or top down, the SC 430 is a silky smooth sports car. Its smooth character extends from the four-cam V8 to the five-speed automatic to the supple suspension. Its styling looks upscale and refined. Its interior is as comfortable as it is beautiful. Indeed, the Lexus SC 430 is a classy luxury car for two people dressed to the nines. Poise can be maintained while enjoying an evening on the town. It is, after all, the flagship luxury sports car from Lexus, the company that redefined luxury cars.
In spite of its luxurious overtones, the SC 430 delivers surprisingly good performance. With rear-wheel drive and a 4.3-liter V8 that puts out 300-horsepower, it can run head to head with the Mercedes SL 500 and Jaguar XK8. It's stable at high speeds and, though soft, its suspension is well controlled on winding roads, on-ramps and off-ramps.
Lexus builds just one version of the SC 430 ($62,575) that features the retractable hardtop, the 4.3-liter V8, the five-speed automatic transmission, and a long list of luxury features. The SC 430 comes trimmed in buttery leather with beautiful wood and chrome accents. Also standard is a navigation system and a Mark Levinson audio system with nine speakers.
The option list is short: 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.
A Pebble Beach Special Edition ($2,000) features azure metallic paint with azure painted wheels, black bird's-eye maple wood trim, lighted blue scuff plates, run-flat tires, rear spoiler, special floor mats, and a Pebble Beach golf bag.
The SC 430 is well equipped with safety equipment, including side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, Brake Assist, Vehicle Skid Control, and traction control.