You know you want to... Lexus SC430

Our man in the motor trade - HonestGuv - tells it like it is. (Or isn't.)

Prejudice is a terrible thing - unless it's in the motor trade. Then, if I might mangle a popular phrase, it can make stars out of reasonably-priced cars.

Take the Lexus SC430. When it was launched in 2001, this plumply-buttocked boulevardier was rubbished by journalists for failing to meet their handling expectations in the less than relevant environment of the racetrack.

A decade's worth of common sense has passed under the bridge since then, so it's high time to pay homage to the undreamt-of delights of a pre-owned SC430. No, really. Let's set our preconceptions aside for a moment and calmly examine the SC's component parts.

Under the bonnet, a surpassingly refined and bulletproof 4.3-litre engine. Producing up to 300bhp, it's good for six-second 0-60s all day long and a 150mph top end with a following wind. It's a V8 too, so lots of burble potential should you opt for a high-flow intake and exhaust package.

Move inside to discover a lovely cabin properly assembled from real trees and cows, and packed with all the toys necessary to keep your lady entertained for the evening, including climate control, heated leather seats, stunning Mark Levinson sound system and X Factor on the telly/satnav screen behind that surprisingly convincing slab of Japanese walnut or maple.

If your female companion is of a nervous disposition, there's even room to fit her mate sideways across the back seats until the treble voddies kick in and you can find a convenient bus stop. (HonestGuv, you're a true knight of the road... Ed)

Warming up yet? Go back outside. I reckon the styling is coming into its own in a Bangle-like way. Compare its back end to a 370Z or a slightly-inflated new model Audi TT without doing a double-take. Check those striking alloys and the folding aluminium roof which, because it's a Lexus, will still be working perfectly.

And there's the final inducement: Lexus quality. Gone are the days when your Lexus parts and individual service advisor would be delivered directly to you by helicopter, but the company's customer mollycoddling will still be pleasingly out of kilter with the value of your motor, which for a Y-plater can (incredibly) be under £7k. Lexus Centres are 'hostessed' by comely members of the fairer sex who will bend over backwards in their efforts to bring you to the corporate bosom. The thirsty visitor can always get something hot and sweet there. I had a most agreeable experience with the hostess of Lexus Oslo only last year, in fact.

I've selected two examples for the purpose of illustrating this article. This low-miler in Jewish racing gold is decent value at £8799. This one has more miles but you'd never know it. See how nice the cabin is, and how good it looks top down - but then, which fine filly doesn't? There's no shortage of private cars around, either.

Having owned three examples myself, I never saw (or had) a problem with the SC. Nor did the 70,000 American and Japanese folk who bought one new.

It's only a few months since the SC was officially canned from the Lexus GB roster, and it's still on sale in the US at $69k, so it's effectively a current model. Rumour has it that it will be returning in hybrid form in the not too distant future - more good news for resale values. Downsides? The front end has a little of that Morgan/Scorpio astigmatism going on, but you won't be seeing that while you're shmoozing up the High Street.

For those who can see beyond bigotry and the ability to deliver fully-resolved body control at three-figure speeds around Becketts, this SC is undiscovered motoring gold. Buy now while stocks last.

(*NB. Opinions expressed in this article should be taken with a stiff whisky. Ed.)


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Comments (160) Join the discussion on the forum

  • redgriff500 15 Jun 2012

    Glad you like yours.

    I decided it wasn't for me (I don't really go very far) and bought a TVR.

  • PAsh 15 Jun 2012

    Well I have one now.

    Black with Ivory interior. Love it already.

    Never had an auto before and never wanted one but this 6 speed selectable box with controllable throttle response is an absolute revelation.

    Its a keeper and I will be spending money on it. Started by updating the sat nav.

    Just a bit more... The car is soooo quiet. I just love that. There is no sound not even at speeds well over what you should be doing. It just wafts along. The ride is very comfortable for long trips down the motorway or cruising country lanes . Its not a track car and I dont want a track car.
    Those that criticise it for wht its not, well its not for them but I bought it for what it is. A long distance quite fast well equipped cruiser that will overtake effortlessly the gearbox even does the thinking for you if you want it to.

    Great car.

    Edited by PAsh on Friday 15th June 14:19

  • PAsh 16 Apr 2012

    russy01 said:
    These cars are marmite.

    However the colour makes a massive difference, this one is Mesa red (best colour by far, parents have a IS in the same colour)

    For pure Cruising it cannot be beaten its just so smooth, plenty of performance, every toy you can imagine and a brilliant sound system. Finally it just wont break, this has been back and forth from the alps like a yoyo and has never skipped a beat.

    Id definitly recommend, however id imagine if anything does go wrong (roof, engine or gearbox) it would cost a fortune. Also the older ones run on runflats, these arent great as we all know, but the newer version (6 speed) is on proper rubber.

    Also i wouldnt mind adding, i think the SL being discussed looks square and dated.

    I personally think it looks pretty good with the roof down.

    Edited by russy01 on Wednesday 15th December 15:06
    Fully agree. The SL is not only poor build quality its very dated and quite ugly. I like the 430 SC its style is now very acceptable and the history of these cars seem they are bullet proof. I love the roof. As for price for a 4.3 litre car they hold up very well even with very high mileages. I certainly like the Messa red (getting one is near impossible) i dont know why anyone buys the gold just something about it. I loved the Jewish Racing Gold comment and it brings to mind rich american senior citizens with dyed hair wafting along with the roof down in Fort Lauderdale !!
    I am really thinking of buying the 430 Sc but to date every one I want has been snapped up just as i asked about it. Three times this has happened so summer must be coming.

  • tali1 10 Apr 2012

    redgriff500 said:
    tali1 said:
    BMW 645/650
    For £4k !!!

    Where ?
    Forgot price! think M3 will be only one on budget then

  • redgriff500 10 Apr 2012

    Digger said:
    Have you driven one redgriff? Just felt like you were floating down the road, literally. One bland word summed it up. Nice.

    Nice interior and very well built. I doubt you will find a quieter V8-engined car. You literally cant hear it at idle. I like to hear my V8.

    Not yet - just googling reviews and found this thread.

    I like to hear mine too - chopping the 4 rear boxes off my Soarer sorted that - sounds like a NASCAR at high revs.

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