Lexus SC Convertible review (2001-2009)
Lexus took a long time to introduce a flagship roadster model to its impressive range so when the SC430 arrived great things were expected from it.
Lexus took a long time to introduce a flagship roadster model to its impressive range so when the SC430 arrived great things were expected from it. Powered by the super-smooth 4.3-litre V8, that also propels the LS and GS luxury saloons, mated to the slick automatic transmission of the latter car the SC430 looked like an enticing proposition. The build quality was up to the usual Lexus high standard and the folding hardtop gave it an undeniable edge over canvas roofed rivals like the Jaguar XK8 cabriolet and Porsche's drop-top 911. However, it never quite met our expectations on the road. The body control was sloppy, the SC430 never feeling particularly agile on a challenging route - the slow, lifeless steering not helping. The ride suffered from super stiff run flat tyres, highlighting the surprising lack of rigidity in the car with the roof down.
To address these criticisms Lexus has ditched the run flat system - a get-you-home sealant spray is now included instead - while the suspension has been retuned to improve the handling. The changes make an improvement in the ride, though the SC430 still isn't anywhere as entertaining a drive as its rivals. It's a popular model though, the appeal of that Lexus badge and the impressive standard specification is enough to keep sales high enough to result in a lengthy waiting list. The styling may not be to everybody's tastes the build quality is certainly something to behold. The folding hardtop is a delight to use, and quick, though it robs the boot of a huge amount of space. Similarly, the rear seats are a bit of an afterthought, being of no use at all to passengers. Its chassis may be more suited to straight American boulevards than our sinuous roads but that hasn't stopped it winning sales - it's just a shame it's not such a winner on the road.