Lexus RC Coupe Concept: No Match for the SC 430

Lexus RC Coupe concept

As a young adult I remember a couple in my parents’ neighborhood bringing home not just one, but a pair of matching brand-new 2002 Lexus SC 430 convertibles. The rumors spread like wildfire. The phrase “retractable hardtop” was tossed about as excitedly as the news of the first seedless watermelon.

Those people drove through town like royalty, and I remember pointing excitedly each time I saw one of their cars.

Today, of course, a retractable hardtop is almost expected as standard for convertibles. I still have a soft spot for those SC 430 cars, and I might even take one over the newest Lexus coupe concept, the audacious RC Coupe.

I know, I’m comparing convertibles and coupes here, but reading about the RC reminded me of the now-discontinued SC.

Here’s what Top Gear said about the BMW 4-Series-rivaling RC:

[W]e know the RC will be unveiled in two petrol-gargling guises: the 179bhp RC300h hybrid, which mates a 2.5-litre four-cylinder to Lexus’s leccy motor tech, and the more powerful RC350, with a 3.5-litre V6 driving the rear wheels.

There also could be an RC-F coming later, powered by a 450-hp V8. There’s no mention of a convertible, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Lexus to build one.

Convertible or not, I still like the understated SC 430. That was a car that was ahead of its time and still looks great on the roads.

2002 Lexus SC 430

The SC 430 was more tourer than sports car, and it came with leather upholstery, genuine wood trim and a navigation system. Under the hood lurked a 4.3-liter V8 that produced 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission.

It’s also the last vehicle produced that came standard with a cassette player in the dash.

Consider me sold.

What looks better to you, the Lexus RC Coupe Concept, or the Lexus SC 430 convertible?


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Used Lexus SC 430


  1. I’ve had 6 SC430’s and got an RC350 a month ago. I miss the convertible top but the RC is better in many ways. The SC went up to high gear way too fast so it was sluggish in acceleration. Manually shifting was awkward. The RC has paddles for easy manual shifting but you never need them in sport mode. It’s always in the correct gear. Both cars are ergonomically great inside but the technology is way better in the RC. Handling is much improved. I love the styling of both even though they are very different. Remember the SC came out in 2002 and was totally unique. A convertible RC would be the perfect evolution. I have found the fit and finish and reliability of all Lexuses to be unmatched and I have owned most of the luxury brands.

  2. Most people under a certain age will like the Rc more…..I tend to like the classic lines of the SC myself. Wait 15 years people will look at the RC and think “whats with that weird grill”

  3. Interesting contrast. Perhaps the problem is that Lexus buyers are typically older, more conservative and less daring than the people who design the concept cars. Perhaps Cadillac is a bit more to the taste for younger buyers, but such buyers might prefer a Lexus if it looked like the RC. Remember, you can’t really single out Toyota for their daring designs, the whole lot are pretty conservative.

  4. The SC looks like a bar of soap… the RC looks like fighter jet. Not sure which is worse.

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