Overview & Reviews
Shortly after the launch of the Lexus brand in the early '90s, this luxury automaker introduced its SC coupe. The original SC was initially available with a six- (SC 300) or eight- (SC 400) cylinder engine. But even with the debut of these sporty coupes, Lexus still lacked a convertible model. That gap in the model line was filled when the Lexus SC 430 replaced that pair of SC coupes. The SC 430 luxury convertible was one of the first modern production vehicles to popularize a retractable-hardtop design.
A handsome, richly appointed interior, a smooth and sprightly V8 and top-notch build quality were the SC 430's chief attributes. The few downsides include tiny, essentially unusable rear seats and an isolated driving experience. Viewed as a two-passenger luxury car first and a sporty convertible second, the Lexus SC 430 fared reasonably well. But if you're looking for sharper handling and more aggressive performance, most of the offerings from Germany's luxury automakers will serve you better.
Most Recent Lexus SC 430
The Lexus SC 430 had a long production run lasting from 2002-'10. On paper, the SC 430 could be seen as a sports car considering its V8 power, convertible top and essentially two-seater cockpit. But in reality the SC 430 was primarily a luxury tourer that was packed with amenities. The one-touch power-folding hardtop (the SC was one of the first cars to pioneer this technology) made the car ideal for all-season use, as it provided better security and noise reduction than a traditional fabric top.
The SC 430 was long on luxury and features. There was just one trim level, and it came very well equipped with items like leather upholstery, genuine wood trim and a navigation system. Under the hood was a 4.3-liter V8 that produced 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Initially, power flowed to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission.
There were only minor changes throughout the car's run. For 2005, Lexus retuned the suspension for a smoother ride. A new six-speed automatic transmission and adaptive headlights showed up the following year, as did updated exterior styling with new wheels and taillights. Inside, the Lexus SC 430 received a new gauge cluster, shift plate and revised trim. The V8's rated output also dropped slightly, to 288 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, though actual acceleration was unaffected.
For 2007, Lexus added driver and passenger knee airbags and a front passenger seat occupant sensor for airbag deactivation. For the SC's final model year in 2010, the navigation system was upgraded to include real-time traffic and other features, while satellite radio, an iPod interface and Bluetooth streaming audio were added to the standard features list.
In general, we found that despite the smooth V8 and somewhat sporty suspension calibrations, an involving drive and razor-sharp handling weren't a part of the SC's pedigree. Instead, the SC 430 placed plush ride comfort over sporty handling dynamics. The suspension soaked up bumps like a new sponge but the drive just wasn't very entertaining. But as a luxury convertible with a reputation for very good reliability, the SC 430 should serve you well.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 461.00
SC 430 ("02") - 2002 Lexus SC 430
By I.G. - December 29 - 1:23 pm
Ok, I've owned this "02" for only about 3 months, but only drives it for weekends only. I also own a "91" LS400 which is still running like new with a 140K plus. The SC is a all that and more from the modern exterior to the flawless interior (except for the cup holder, no biggie). Every time I drive, I'm always stopped to ask whether it's a 2010 or what? This most definitely was ahead of its time for a "02" I'll tell anyone, once you drive a LEXUS, you wouldn't want to drive anything ELSE!
Lexus SC430, My Opinion - 2002 Lexus SC 430
By Eddie Varnadore - December 27 - 10:00 am
I purchased my SC430 in March, 2001. One of the first delivered in Marietta, Ga. I enjoy the car. Styling is great, It's a head turner. Overall I rate it an excellent automobile. Problems I've had are as follows: Clunking sound (metal to metal) in rear of car over rough bumps.) Road noise from no-flat tires, wind noise from rear seat belts when top down. Also, car bottoms out over bumps.
lexus - 2002 Lexus SC 430
By cherry - December 27 - 10:00 am
very fast and tight car
My second SC430 - 2006 Lexus SC 430
By WARREN T. ROBBINS - December 26 - 8:20 am
The 2006 is my second SC430. I traded my 2003 for the newer model. I have owned many proformance cars including Porches, BMW's, Mercedes,Ferrari and Corvettes. It is not the quickest or the fastest, but is definately the most comfortable to drive, especially on long trips. I enjoy owning this car.
Comfort and Class - 2004 Lexus SC 430
By Robert M. Beggs - December 24 - 10:00 am
My SC430 is silver and provides an increcably quiet and smooth ride, and jumps with acceleration when needed. The engineering is superb and I appreciate all the details, as well as the great Levinson sound system and fabulous interior. I enjoy having what is both a great sedan and gorgeious convertible -- it's definitely a "babe mobile."
Dealership experience poor - 2004 Lexus SC 430
By Boston - December 18 - 10:00 am
Service intake people are poorly trained. They blamed us for not contacting the sale person before we came in to have the snow tires installed. We made the appointment 2 weeks before, dropped- offed the car for 3 hours, then finally got a phone call to be told that the dealership didn't have the tires. The car also has a few loose pieces of plastics, one of them found under the seat. This reflects poor dealer preparation of the car before delivery. The dealership, just as like any others, pushed hard to sell add- ons. Paint already show minor chips on rear bumper.
toy - 2004 Lexus SC 430
By ramaquois - November 28 - 10:00 am
this is the best riding car i have owned. it is my third lexus first sc. it is the absolute worst car in any amount of snow. it gets no traction regardless of the snow control gadgits on the dash. the dealership, with tongue in cheek, stated that you shouldn't use it in any snow.
Fun Car - 2004 Lexus SC 430
By alpollack - November 22 - 2:00 am
Car runs like a dream..tight body..no noises. Good control at low speeds,tight control at high speeds. Such fun.!!Car draws stares with top up or down. 21+mpg...or 18 in town.
A WORK OF ART/ EYE CANDY - 2004 Lexus SC 430
By DAESTERS1 - November 22 - 2:00 am
ITS GREAT. I PURCHASED A C4 PORSCHE AND IT HAD TIPTRONIC I WANTED TO GET SOMETHING AS CLOSE TO PERFORMANCE,LOOK AND LESS PRICE WITH THE SAME FEATURES. I TRIED THE CORVETTE 04 AND THE SC430 WAS THE CLOSEST TO PERFORMANCE.IT WASNT TAILEND HEAVY SO IF I WANT TO TAKE OFF I CAN DO SO SAFELY.IT WAS PLEASED IT ALSO HAD SPORT PACKAGE, 1/2 THE PRICE, AND NAVIGATION DEVICE.IVE DRIVEN IT 700 MILES AWAY FROM HOME AND THE DRIVE IS SMOOTH..
Awesome - 2006 Lexus SC 430
By Tom Fink - November 21 - 2:33 am
Everything about this car has been perfect!