What's New for 1998
An engine immobilizer, depowered airbags and a sophisticated five-speed automatic transmission are standard this year as well. The SC 300 loses its five-speed manual transmission.
When Lexus decided to expand its lineup into the sport luxury coupe class, it did things a bit differently. First, a smallish, sexy body was penned that didn't look much like the mini chrome-barges that usually populate the personal luxury segment. Next, a smooth inline six-cylinder engine was implanted in the SC300 -- driving the rear wheels and giving the cars excellent acceleration. Then, a cozy interior with first-rate ergonomics and traditional Lexus opulence was created, making the cars more like a 2+2 than a coupe capable of carrying four in comfort. It's a much different car from those being offered by Cadillac, Lincoln and even Acura.
Once the car was introduced to the public, the automotive press elevated the SC Coupe to Rolling Stones status, proclaiming it another of a string of Lexus-engineered miracles. They were right to do so; however, the past three years have seen improvements by the competition, and the escalating yen has vaulted the SC's price to the top of the heap.
1998 brings some improvements to the SC 300 in the form of a more sophisticated engine. The inline-six cylinder motor under the hood of the SC 300 gets variable valve timing this year.
Yes, this Lexus is an outstanding example of modern carmaking art, and it offers a fantastic blend of style, luxury, performance and reliability. However, the Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe, with its brilliant Northstar V8, full load of accessories and interior room for four full-size adults, starts to look pretty good, especially with its $53,500 base sticker.