Lexus SC430
Key Points

Incorporates some of the most sophisticated automotive technology available, combined with compact, stylish and avant-garde styling:

The new Lexus SC430, the first-ever convertible model from the marque, made its European debut at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show in March and will be on sale in the UK in July. The new ‘Jewel of Lexus’ and the flagship of the Lexus range, was designed from the outset to be the world’s finest all-round luxury convertible, with an integrated all-metal retractable roof offering the ‘best of both worlds’. The SC430 combines open-air driving pleasure with Lexus standards of comfort and refinement and is already a sell-out success in the UK until well into 2002. Sales volume for this year is 250 cars.

The SC430 combines the highest levels of performance and world-leading refinement and efficiency from its 282bhp, 4.3-litre V8 engine and five-speed automatic transmission, with an elegant design and retractable hardtop that will transform it from a coupé into a convertible at the push of a button.

From Coupe To Convertible In 25 Seconds

The SC430 is fitted as standard with an electrically operated fully retractable hard top that transforms the car from a sleek coupé into a convertible in less than half a minute.

Operation of the roof assembly could not be simpler via a single touch of a button on the facia. A warning lamp indicates that the roof is being activated and a buzzer sounds to indicate the start and end of roof operation.

Safety is ensured as the hard top will only operate for as long as the button is depressed; the roof will automatically stop if the driver’s hand is removed from the switch.

On the move with the roof down, the SC430 continues to maintain the customary standards of Lexus refinement and comfort, thanks to the use of computer generated ‘wind wrap’ analysis to carefully control the airflow in and around the passenger compartment. A deflector fitted between the rear seat headrests helps control the airflow and ensures comfort at high speeds by minimising airflow or buffeting around the occupants’ head and shoulder area.

Careful tuning has also been applied to the underside aerodynamics of the SC430 by installing specially shaped covers at various sections of the floor pan. These covers reduce lift, add to high speed stability and contribute to the resulting low Cd figure of just 0.29 with the hard top in its closed position. Lexus designers from Europe and Japan worked together to create the design of the impressive coupé shape at the Europe Design studio (ED2) in Marseilles. This design studio and stylish surroundings of the French Riviera gave inspiration for the creation of the avant-garde exterior and the sophisticated interior styling of the SC430.

Perfect Interior Climate, Roof Up Or Down

The Lexus SC430 features one of the world’s most advanced climate control systems that allows occupants to enjoy more top-down driving than conventional convertibles.

The system automatically adjusts airflow and temperature, differentiating between top-up or top-down driving needs.

When driving with the roof down in low outside temperatures, special air ducts in the centre console direct warm air into the lower section of the passenger compartment.

When driving with the top down on warm days, the system regulates fan speed and temperature accordingly depending on the road speed of the car. A solar correction sensor is also fitted, close to the windscreen, which measures the sun’s heat and adjusts the cabin temperature accordingly.

Class Leading Performance

The SC430 shares the same engine as GS430 and LS430, a 282bhp 4.3-litre V8 engine with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing–intelligent) that provides effortless overtaking power with its 419Nm of torque at just 3,500rpm. This engine meets the step IV emissions requirements of 2005 and will return a combined fuel consumption figure of 23.5mpg.

The SC430 uses a five speed, intelligent automatic gearbox with Artificial Intelligence shift control that can adapt to road type (winding, up, down) and also the driver’s style.

Trips to the Lexus Service Centre - or Lack of Them

The SC430 will require a full service only every 20,000 miles and will require a health check, taking less than an hour to complete, every 10,000 miles or once a year. Special iridium-tipped spark plugs are fitted that only require replacement every 60,000 miles and the timing belt will require replacement only every 90,000 miles.

Run-Flat Tyres

The SC430 is fitted as standard with run-flat tyres that enable the car to be driven with a puncture for up to 100 miles at speeds of up to 55mph. These tyres have reinforced side-walls that are able to support the weight of the vehicle without any pressure left in the tyre. This of course alleviates the need for a spare which frees up more space for luggage.

The run-flat tyre also provides added safety as roadside tyre changes are no longer necessary. Early warning of a loss of pressure in a tyre is also detected much earlier thanks to the Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS) also fitted as standard equipment.

Standard Specification

The SC430 features a very high level of standard equipment including full leather interior, wood and leather steering wheel, electrically operated driver and passenger seats with heating and memory function, nine speaker Mark Levinson Hi-Fi system, DVD touch screen Lexus Navigator System and six CD in-dash autochanger.

Prospective purchasers of the Lexus SC430 may also have other premium brand models on their shortlist such as Mercedes SL500, Jaguar XK8 convertible and Porsche 911 cabriolet; all of which are more expensive by at least £4,500.

The SC430 has many standard equipment features that are unavailable, even as an option, by its competitors. Features such as tyre pressure warning, DVD navigation, Mark Levinson Hi-Fi and electrically-retractable hard top are unique to SC430. To specify GPS navigation on the Mercedes or Jaguar would cost around £2,000 more and 18-inch alloy wheels are only available as standard on the Jaguar XKR V8 convertible. The SC430 is the only car in this class to offer run-flat tyres as standard equipment.

The DVD Lexus Navigator on SC430 allows for up to 13 times the amount of information to be stored as on a conventional CD driven navigation system.

To specify a Mercedes SL500 at £65,340 to a level close to the SC430 without its unique features would cost £4,740 more and the Jaguar XK8 convertible at £55,350 would cost £8,650 more. The high level of standard equipment on SC430 proves once again that Lexus is the intelligent choice, whichever car from the now five model range is chosen.

Published : 27/07/01 Author : Melanie Carter

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