The Lexus SC 430 hardtop convertible, documented as the auto industry’s highest quality car in the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) for the second consecutive year comes with refreshed styling for 2006 and is offering even smoother performance from a new six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission.
In addition, the Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS), now standard, can help enhance safety in the 2006 SC 430. The interior also received a sporty makeover, including new interior color and wood trim choices.
The Lexus SC 430 was the first retractable hardtop convertible in the premium luxury segment when it was introduced as a 2002 model. With the push of a button, the retractable hardtop transforms the SC 430 from a coupe into a convertible in less than 25 seconds.
"The SC 430 combines the seductive appeal of an exotic convertible with the luxury and ride quality of a Lexus sedan, all with the comfort and security of a closed coupe at the touch of a button," said Bob Carter, Lexus group vice president and general manager.
The 2006 Lexus SC 430 is immediately identifiable by revised front-end styling that reflects the brand’s new L-finesse design language. The new grille is more angular than before, and the front bumper more pronounced, echoing the design theme that debuted on the 2006 Lexus GS sedans. A thicker chrome surround and larger Lexus badge further set the 2006 SC 430 apart from the 2005 model.
New headlights feature a simpler two-bulb design in place of the previous three-bulb configuration. The headlight redesign allows the 2006 SC 430 to gain the Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) which helps to illuminate a turn or curve as the driver steers into it.
At the rear, new LED (light-emitting diode) tail lamps add a high-tech design touch to the SC 430’s flowing lines. New-design, five-spoke, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels combine narrower spokes with a new metallic gray finish for an overall sportier appearance.
Lexus has always paid special attention to how color can convey elegance and luxury. For 2006, the SC 430 paint palette debuts five new exterior colors: Mercury Metallic, Matador Red, Chardonnay Pearl, Black Pearl and Tigereye Pearl.
For the second consecutive year, the Lexus SC 430 hardtop convertible was documented as the highest-quality vehicle in America in the 2005 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). The study is based on the fewest problems per 100 vehicles, and the 2005 Lexus SC 430 registered 54 problems per 100 cars in this customer-based study. (The auto industry average was 118 problems per 100 vehicles in 2005). The SC 430 was one of five Lexus models that achieved the highest IQSSM score in their respective categories.
Aluminum V8 and New Six-Speed Automatic
The rear-wheel drive SC 430 convertible is engineered to deliver exciting performance. The aluminum, double overhead cam (DOHC) 4.3-liter V8 engine produces 288 horsepower and 317 lb.-ft. of peak torque, channeled through the new six-speed automatic transmission, that can propel the car from zero-to-60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. At the same time, the SC 430 received the Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) certification.
Continuously Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) helps eliminate the compromise between low-end torque and high-rpm horsepower by optimizing valve overlap throughout the engine’s speed range. The Intuitive Powertrain Control works with the Electronic Throttle Control System to help smooth out acceleration from a standing start by making slight adjustments to the throttle opening when the driver steps on the accelerator pedal.
For 2006, a six-speed sequential automatic transmission replaces the previous five-speed unit. Shift Logic Control responds to road grade and acceleration/deceleration activity,holding gears or downshifting on hills to help provide better engine power or braking. The sequential shift feature allows the driver to enjoy a more involved driving experience by controlling gearshifts manually, when desired.
By designing the SC 430 as a convertible from the start, engineers optimized its structure to provide excellent strength whether the retractable hardtop is up or down. The more rigid structure allowed Lexus to tune the suspension to deliver responsive handling without foregoing the brand’s renowned smooth ride. The 53/47 weight distribution helps deliver optimal balance for confident steering response.
Front and rear double-wishbone independent suspension, aided by standard 18-inch wheels with 245/40ZR18 Z-rated Dunlop tires, gives the SC 430 sports car handling responses while preserving the smooth Lexus ride quality. All-season run-flat tires are standard, with summer run flats available as an option.
Safety and Security
The Lexus SC 430 is equipped with cutting-edge safety and security features.
The array of dynamic handling aids includes a four-sensor, four-channel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, traction control (TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
EBD monitors all four wheels during braking and varies brake pressure according to the load on each wheel. Brake Assist is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking, and if the driver has not stepped firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage ABS, it applies maximum braking power until pedal pressure is released.
VSC helps control lateral traction while cornering on slippery or dry road surfaces by using throttle intervention and/or applying individual wheel braking to help control any discrepancy between where the driver is steering and where the vehicle is heading. The VSC system integrates traction control to help limit rear wheel spin on slippery road surfaces.
Numerous structural components, such as the rocker panels, have been reinforced, which can help protect occupants in case of a collision. Other safety and visibility features include standard dual front airbags and front-seat–mounted side airbags, daytime running lights, foglamps and projector High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with auto levelers.
The Tire Pressure Monitor System can alert the driver to severely underinflated tires to help avoid a condition that could potentially lead to a loss of control. Coded sensors monitor the tire air pressure directly and transmit this information to a receiver via radio frequency communication. An indicator light warns the driver of a significant drop in tire pressure.
Now also standard on the 2006 SC 430, AFS helps enhance nighttime visibility in turns and curves. A central controller calculates the optimum lighting direction based on input from vehicle speed and steering angle and swivels the right and left headlights independently. The left beam can rotate from zero to 15 degrees in a left turn while the right beam remains in the center position. The right beam can rotate from zero to five degrees in a right turn while the left beam remains in the center position.
As a result, AFS helps the driver see further into a curve for enhanced visibility. A self-leveling feature (similar to HID) automatically levels the lights depending on road conditions. An AFS on/off switch allows the driver to disengage the system at any time.
Convertible Luxury at Its Best
The SC 430 interior combines elegant design with lavish appointments. The semi-aniline leather-trimmed interior —including seats, door armrests, console cover and front seat belt presenters—is newly available in camel, as well as in black, saddle or ecru colors. Front occupants enjoy the comfort of 10-way power-adjustable heated seats.
A redesigned instrument gauge panel adds a sporty look to the interior, which is complemented by the same steering wheel design used in the all-new GS sedans. The luxurious and sporty wood/leather-trimmed wheel continues with a tilt-telescope adjustment and integrated cruise control and audio switches. The wheel automatically tilts away when the ignition is turned off to make exiting and reentry easier, then returns to its memory position when the car is started again.
The SC 430 interior uses wood trim on the center console, doors and instrument panel, plus a matching wood-trim shift knob and a wood-trim cover panel for the dual front cupholders. The shifter plate surround has been revised for 2006. Also new, a dark brown wood color called Espresso is paired with the new camel color leather-trim interior.
Walnut wood trim is used with the ecru, saddle and black leather-trim interiors, and a new black headliner is used with the dark color interiors (black and saddle). Electrically powered, wood-trimmed access doors conceal both the audio system head unit and the navigation system. An advanced climate control system adjusts airflow and temperature automatically. The system differentiates between top-up and top-down driving needs, automatically taking into account the exterior temperature to help ensure occupant comfort.
The standard premium Mark Levinson® audio system uses a seven-channel DSP 240-watt amplifier and nine strategically located speakers to turn the SC 430 interior into a private concert hall. System equalization automatically adjusts when the roof is lowered to compensate for the changed acoustics and ambient noise levels, and returns to its original levels when the roof is raised.
The exterior design of the Lexus SC 430 was created by Lexus’ European design center, inspired by the sights and styles of the French Riviera. The ultra-luxurious interior, with its plush combination of natural materials including leather and wood trim, took inspiration from the custom-made yachts that sail the waters of this international resort area.
The SC 430 Pebble Beach Edition, now in its third year, highlights the modern classic design of this distinctive car. Lexus will produce about 600 of the SC 430 Pebble Beach Edition for 2006 as part of a four-year marketing partnership with the Pebble Beach Company.
Standard DVD Navigation
The SC 430’s standard DVD-based Lexus Navigation System offers a voice-command feature that allows hands-free use. The system features easy-to-understand graphics and phone- number–based address location and "building footprint display."
The navigation system stores map data for the contiguous United States and major cities in Canada on one digital versatile disc (DVD). The visual guidance screen features an easy-to-see wide-format color display with a split-screen design and also adjusts seven degrees up or down to help minimize sun glare.
Every new Lexus vehicle comes with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic limited warranty. Powertrain and restraint system coverage is provided for 72 months/70,000 miles. Corrosion perforation protection is covered for 72 months, regardless of mileage.
The Lexus SC 430 comes as one model ($65,355) that features a power retractable hardtop, a 4.3-liter V8, the new six-speed automatic transmission, and a long list of luxury features. It comes trimmed in buttery-soft leather with beautiful wood and chrome accents. Also standard is a navigation system and Mark Levinson® audio with nine speakers. A rear spoiler and run-flat tires are among the few available options.
For the third consecutive year, Lexus is offering the SC 430 Pebble Beach Edition. Only 500 of the 2006 Pebble Beach Edition will be available in the U.S. Distinctive features for the Pebble Beach package ($2,000) include a striking combination of Tiger eye exterior paint and Camel-leather interior as well as elegant Pebble Beach emblems. The 2006 edition will also be offered with a specially commissioned Lexus Tigereye luggage set.
Safety equipment for all SC 430 models includes dual frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control, and traction control.
The Lexus SC 430 blends performance and agility with smoothness and luxury. With the top up and symphonic sound swirling through the leather-lined cabin, the SC 430 isolates its occupants from noise and rough roads. Its engine and transmission are very smooth and the suspension handles bumps and road undulations superbly, far better than most cars.
Comparing to a Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet you might say that Lexus SC 430 is not a sport car. it has soft suspension and this is why SC 430 floats and wallows on winding, bumpy roads. It doesn’t offoffer the grip or the transient response of a 911, a Mercedes-Benz SL 500, a Jaguar XK8, or a Cadillac XLR.
However the SC 430 is enjoyable to drive. Its rear-wheel drive is the proper layout for a performance car, giving it handling balance and responsiveness that no front-wheel-drive car can match. Beeing a Lexus it is designed to excel in the areas of comfort and refinement, so you cannot expect to drive the SC 430 like a race car.
It can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The 4.3-liter all-aluminum V8 engine produces 288 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 317 pound-feet of torque at 3400 rpm. The SC 430 offers acceleration performance comparable to that of the Mercedes SL 500 and Jaguar XK8, which is fast company, but it isn’t as quick as the Porsche 911 or Cadillac XLR. Top speed of the SC 430 is electronically limited to 143 mph.