What's New for 1999
The SC 400 gets minor enhancements this year including new perforated leather inserts, daytime running lights and a new three-spoke steering wheel similar to the GS series sport sedans.
When Lexus decided to expand its lineup into the sport luxury coupe class, it did things a bit differently. First, a stylish, sexy body was penned that didn't look much like the mini chrome-barges that usually populate the personal luxury segment. Next, a creamy V8 engine was installed each driving the rear wheels and giving the car excellent acceleration. Then, a cozy interior with first-rate ergonomics and traditional Lexus opulence was created, making the car more like a 2+2 capable of carrying four in comfort.
Once the car was introduced to the public, the automotive press elevated the SC to Rolling Stones status, proclaiming it another in a string of Lexus-engineered miracles. They were right to do so; however, the past few years have seen improvements by the competition.
Recent improvements to the SC have restored some of its former glory and kept it in the hunt for serious (and affluent) coupe buyers. The SC 400 now comes with a 4.0-liter V8 that features variable valve timing (VVTi) technology and 290 horsepower. Both models offer impressive acceleration with top speeds in excess of 140 mph.
The SC 400 can be ordered with the optional Lexus TRAC electronic traction control system. This system uses a combination of throttle and brake control to keep the car from sliding and comes packaged with thermostatically heated seats.
The SC 400 is attractive and comes with the standard array of Lexus luxury and safety items. However, for the price, it seems a better deal might be made on something like a Cadillac Eldorado or BMW M3.