The Lexus SC 430 is a two-door, four passenger luxury convertible. The Lexus SC is one of the vehicles in the luxury automaker’s lineup that has undergone the most dramatic changes since it was first unveiled in 1991. Originally, the SC was positioned as a mid-size personal luxury coupe, intended to compete with similar offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln and Cadillac. This iteration of the vehicle persisted until 2000, when it was replaced the following year by a much smaller version of the car. In place of the long hood and straight lines of the previous generation, the new SC was a hardtop convertible that made it more in common with the competing Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class than it did with its own outgoing model.
The 2008 Lexus SC 430 continues on in the same vein. This streamlined, futuristic looking drop top stands out from the rest of the Lexus lineup with its unique angles and chunky rims. Powered by a 4.3 liter V8, the SC makes use of 288 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to accelerate to 60 miles per hour in a relatively quick 5.8 seconds. Designed more for comfortable cruising than tire-burning performance, the SC is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the vehicle’s rear wheels.
While the SC 430 does claim to accommodate four passengers, rear seating is an afterthought at best, similar in size to that which can be found in the Porsche 911. The secondary seats do however provide an excellent space for storing cargo – with the top up, of course. As with most Lexus models, the choice of the leather for the seats and wood for trim and accents is done with the highest quality in mind. The attention to fit and finish is obvious throughout the cabin, as everything about the vehicle’s interior feels solid and well-constructed. The vehicle’s automatic climate control system uses special modes to regulate temperatures based on whether the top is open or closed, and the Mark Levinson sound system does an excellent job of filling the small cockpit with music.
While the SC 430 may not have the most powerful of drivetrains when compared to some of the luxury convertible competition, it does provide excellent, effortless highway cruising. The suspension, however, is definitely tuned to provide a soft and cushy ride, meaning that road feel and body composure are sacrificed in sharp corners and over rough surfaces. The transmission performs seamlessly, providing excellent power delivery in all situations, and can be shifted manually in order to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the small displacement V8.
With unique exterior styling and the practicality of a retractable hard top, the Lexus SC 430 occupies a somewhat singular place in its class. While it doesn’t provide the handling or involvement of a Porsche or the power of some of its competitors from Mercedes-Benz, it does offer the excellent reliability and luxury of a Lexus. This makes it an excellent choice for those who would rather think more about where they are going than they would about the vehicle that is taking them there.
The 2009 Lexus SC has a few small changes since the 2008 model year. The SC 430 is a convertible with a hard top that has gotten a new roof switch this model year. The new switch is more convenient to use than the old model. The vehicle also has new side mirrors that have the turn signals integrated into them. There is one new paint color for the SC- Opaline Pearl.
There is a new edition of the Lexus SC. This limited edition model is the Lexus SC430 Pebble Beach Edition. Only 360 of this edition will be made. It features Mercury Metallic as the exterior paint color, black maple trim, Ecru seats with black trim, a unique wheel style and illuminated scuff plates.
The Lexus SC has a 4.3-liter, V-8 engine with 288 horsepower. The SC has a hard top that is power driven and can be hidden behind a hard plastic cover. Opening the hard top and hiding it away takes 25 seconds. It is a rear-wheel drive vehicle with a six-speed automatic transmission system that features a manual shift control. It comes with 18-inch wheels made from alloy, leather upholstery, Bluetooth, climate control with dual zones, HID headlights that are adaptive, real wood trim in walnut or maple, a six-CD changer located in the dash, a navigation system that features voice activation and tilt display, front seats that are power controlled and heated, a driver’s seat with memory and a Mark Levinson audio system with 10 speakers.
There are no option packages available for 2009 SC models other than the Pebble Beach Edition. The options for that edition include 18-inch machined wheels made from tourmaline alloy, a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels with a liquid graphite finish and summer tires, a cargo mat, a cargo net, wheel locks and 18-inch alloy G-Spider wheels.