Lexus introduced the 2002 SC 430 in the spring of 2001 and immediately had become one of the hottest-selling cars in the industry. The model is powered by a 4.3-liter V8 engine that produces 300 horsepower and 325 lb. ft. of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds and the power is being sent to the wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. The carmaker created a purpose-built high-performance platform for the SC 430. By designing the car as a convertible from the start, engineers optimized its structure to provide excellent strength whether the retractable hardtop is up or down. The solid structure has allowed Lexus to tune the suspension to deliver responsive handling without spoiling the smooth ride. The model rides on 18-inch wheels.
The 2002 Lexus SC 430 hardtop convertible made the strongest statement yet about the passion for design and driving pleasure permeating the Lexus brand. Call it the "passionate pursuit of perfection."
Introduced in spring 2001, the new SC 430 quickly became one of the hottest-selling cars in the industry and has emerged as an aspirational car for many driving enthusiasts.
A retractable hardtop transforms the SC 430 from a 2+2 coupe into a convertible in less than 25 seconds with the push of a button. This design approach ends the compromise between the pleasure of top-down driving that a convertible offers and the safety, security and comfort that a closed coupe provides.
The first-generation Lexus SC coupes received acclaim for returning true coupe design to a segment that had become defined by what were essentially two-door sedans. The new-generation SC 430 provides a clear demonstration of the brand's ability and willingness to reinvent its own designs to exceed customer expectations. The exterior design of the Lexus SC 430 was created by the company's European design center and was inspired by the sights and styles of the French Riviera.
The interior is a plush combination of natural materials including leather and wood. The designers' goal was to meld a feeling of luxury with high levels of performance, technology, and craftsmanship that could be compared with luxury objects besides cars, such as yachts or luxury villas - even private jets. So well equipped is the SC 430 that Lexus offers only two factory options, run-flat tires and a rear spoiler. Lexus subjected the SC 430 to wind-wrap tests to ensure it met the company's stringent standards for low noise, vibration and harshness - standards not for a convertible, but for a closed coupe. The goal was to amaze experienced convertible owners with the quiet cabin, roof up or down. One result is that occupants can hold a conversation at normal speaking volumes at highway speeds regardless of roof position.
A Sportscar Heart
Underneath its striking body skin, the new rear-wheel drive SC 430 convertible is engineered to deliver exciting performance even when driven leisurely. The all-aluminum, double overhead-cam, 4.3-liter V8 engine produces 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of peak torque, and, coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission, can propel the car from 0-60 mph in only 5.9 seconds. The SC 430's engine, which also powers the LS 430 flagship sedan and the GS 430 luxury/performance sedan, comes with Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) certification.
Two technologies help define performance beyond the acceleration numbers. Continuously Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) eliminates the traditional compromise between low-end torque and high-rpm horsepower by optimizing valve overlap throughout the engine's speed range, not just at one or two set speeds. A newly developed system, the Intuitive Powertrain Control, works with the electronic throttle control (drive-by-wire) to help smooth out acceleration from a standing start by very slightly delaying throttle opening when the driver steps on the accelerator pedal. The five-speed automatic transmission, meanwhile, uses Shift Logic Control to respond to road grade and acceleration/deceleration activity, holding gears or downshifting on inclines and downshifting when going downhill to provide engine braking.
The Chassis of a Thoroughbred
Lexus created a purpose-built high-performance platform for the SC 430. By designing the car as a convertible from the start, engineers optimized its structure to provide excellent strength whether the retractable hardtop is up or down. The solid structure has allowed Lexus to tune the suspension to deliver responsive handling without foregoing Lexus' renowned smooth ride. Additionally, the 53/47 weight distribution helps deliver optimal balance for precise steering response.
Front and rear double wishbone independent suspension gives the SC 430 sportscar-level handling while minimizing vibration and contributing to a smooth ride. The SC 430 comes equipped with 18-inch wheels, the first such offering for Lexus.
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