Lexus coupé is California dreaming
16 November 2004

Proof that Lexus currently has more to offer the American market than it does Europe comes no stronger than an examination of the SC430 coupé-cabriolet.

I’ve seen them swish past in both Bromsgrove and Beverly Hills and I think it’s fairly obvious where the SC’s Pullman-carriage styling works best. Likewise, Lexus’ range-topper has always felt out of sorts on UK roads, with a lumpy ride – corrupted further with standard run-flat tyres – and clumsy road holding. Californian boulevards seem to be its natural cruising ground.

But more than ever Lexus has Europe in its sights, and the SC has been given ‘strategic enhancements’ to up its game in Blighty. That amounts to some equipment upgrades and also new dampers and chassis tuning to up the handling and ride comfort.

It’s worked, too. The first incarnation of the SC felt like it was running on square wheels – it’s now a lot more refined. The car still shudders over big bumps, especially with the roof down, but its absorption abilities and rolling comfort are far more sophisticated. Handling feels a mite tauter, too. And the SC’s virtues are still there in spades. Build quality is quite exemplary, making the Merc SL feel downright downmarket.

These changes won’t stop the SC remaining a curio in Europe, but it’s now smoother and more comfortable.

Chas Hallett

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