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A Review Lexus SC430

By Wolfe Tone

Lexus wants you to look on the luxurious new SC430 coupe/convertible as a “pleasure craft… built to be attractive and imposing and to give owners an extraordinary sense of satisfaction”.

So, who will buy the SC430? Those with money to burn, and egos to feed. Touting a recently released study which identified more than 74,000 Australians with a personal worth of more than $US1 million (and that’s not counting real estate, folks), the sales team at Lexus see the potential for adding 200 SC430s to our roads every year.

Conomos believes a lot of buyers will come from outside the Lexus family, though he doesn’t rule out those wanting to park a two-door next to their LS430. He concedes that women will be targeted, too. Very affluent women.

The SC430 is built on the same platform as the GS300 sedan, and measures just over 4.5 meters tip to toe. Power comes from the same 4.3 liter quad-cam V8 engine with variable valve timing as found in the LS430 luxury sedan, producing 210kiloWatts and 419Newton-meters. Lexus claims this power is enough to propel the 1740kg coupe from 0-100km/h in just 6.4 seconds.

The SC430 is fitted with a five speed adaptive automatic transmission, again from the LS430, and still one of the smoothest gearboxes we’ve driven.

Sporty double wishbone suspension keeps the body off the deck and the wheels on it, though sporty is perhaps no the best term for it. Our brief launch test drive (if 330km in one afternoon can be called brief) took in some of Sydney’s better known motorcycling roads, and didn’t show the SC430 in the best light.

Tightening radius corners, left-right-left sequences in abundance, and choppy road surfaces along The Putty Road north to Singleton highlighted the deficiencies in the SC430′s ‘sports car’ credentials. Quick changes of direction are hampered as the too soft suspension struggles to keep body-roll under control.

I was unpleasantly surprised when mid-corner bumps starting tugging at the steering wheel, fighting my desire to direct the car safely down the windy road. It’s not what you expect from a luxury car maker, though the GS300 sports sedan is guilty of the same crime.

Defined as a sports car the Lexus SC430 can only fail to meet expectations, even if it is more than a match for the competition on paper. Reposition it as a luxury convertible instead and the SC430 makes a much stronger argument for handling over 160-large.

That argument is reinforced by a typically voluminous Lexus equipment list, a list the competitors will be hard pressed to match for the price. Lexus says the only option with the SC430 is whether you buy the car or not. Everything else is standard.

Highlights include:

* Electric hardtop * Dash mounted DVD-based Lexus sat nav system with touchscreen * Premium 9-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with 6-disc CD stacker * 10-way power adjust front seats with heaters * Leather front and rear seats * Remote central locking * Dual climate control air-conditioning * Cruise control * Power windows, mirrors, steering wheel adjust,

Active safety features include:

* Four wheel disc brakes fitted with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) * Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) * Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) * Brake Assist (BA) * switchable Traction Control (TRAC) * High Intensity Discharge headlights

Passive safety features include:

* Driver and passenger airbags * Side airbags * High strength cabin with front and rear crumple zones * Force limiting front seat-belts with pre-tensioners

The SC430 is much more at home on crowded city and suburban streets where speed limits are seldom reached or breached. Cosseted within the plush leather seats, occupants will be hard pressed to feel the all-too-common bumps and potholes as they pass beneath. Hurry the Lexus and its ability to deal with the road diminishes accordingly.

This may be a car with an extremely powerful engine, (Lexus claims it is “the quickest naturally aspirated V8 convertible from 0-100km/h under 4.5 liters in Australia” – so there!) but it’s best used in a straight line.

So, If you’re looking for the perfect present for someone who has everything (yourself), and you’re one of the 74,000 people more accustomed to banks waiting on you than the other way around, then may we suggest your boat has finally come in. And it’s wearing a Lexus badge on its yacht-inspired rump.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Tone, Wolfe "A Review Lexus SC430." A Review Lexus SC430. 2 Jul. 2010. 3 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Tone, W (2010, July 2). A Review Lexus SC430. Retrieved August 3, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Tone, Wolfe "A Review Lexus SC430"

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