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Lexus SC430

You’re thinking: “Lexus? Lexus?! The Good Car Guy thinks a Lexus is a bad car?” I’m thinking: That’s not such a bad question. The SC430 presents a spectacular interior; smooth and serene upon every cruise. Lexus is widely regarded for its relentless pursuit of perfection, and although not perfect, their QRD (quality, reliability, durability) is basically peerless.

But the SC430 is far from a recommended purchase. Upon its debut, Lexus designers said they were inspired by boats along the French Riviera. Clearly, the styling inspiration was either misplaced or miscalculated. Secondly, the SC430 punches well below its weight with just 288 horsepower. Yes, I said ‘just’ 288. This convertible is swimming with the big fish now, and 288 is adequate only for sporting cars multiple classes down.

Finally, the French Riviera inspiration carried over in the wrong place. Especially when considering the SC430’s main competition, this French boat-inspired, Japanese hardtop-convertible handles like a ship without a rudder. Steering inputs are helpful suggestions, rather than intuitive commands. Anything approaching ‘fun’ has been displaced in favour of extreme cushiness.

Lexus rarely takes reckless chances. With the SC430, Lexus took some form of a chance. The Bad 8 makes clear that they shouldn’t have bothered.


Alternatives: Porsche Boxster, Jaguar XK, Chevrolet Corvette, Volvo C70, Mercedes-Benz CLK350

Necessary Incentiving To Switch To The Good 12: $9,755 off the MSRP, making the base SC430 equivalently priced with Porsche’s Boxster S.

Anything Else? The SC’s predecessor was a beautiful, comfortable, classy hardtop-only six and eight-cylinder sports coupe.