New Car Review
1995 LEXUS SC400 LUXURY SPORTS COUPE
by: BILL RUSS
SEE ALSO:Lexus Buyer's Guide
Since Lexus first made its debut in 1989 with the LS 400 luxury sedan it has become the benchmark of quality and fit and finish for the automotive industry. In order to broaden its appeal in the luxury segment of the market Lexus, in 1992, brought forth its sport coupe, the SC 400. Its sleek, svelte design and smooth, powerful performance quickly made it one of the most influential new automobiles in recent memory. Its classic styling originated in Toyota's Southern California Calty Design studio where it was designed specifically for the American market. It was modified only slightly for mass production by the home office in Japan.
The SC400 is a prime example of the truism, "Beauty is more than skin deep." Beneath its now-classic exterior lies a finely engineered powerplant and suspension system, as well as a luxurious and well-outfitted interior. Precision and quality are also important in the Lexus marque, and to round out the attributes of this superb sports car, it delivers what its smooth appearance promises - well-harnessed power and excellent handling in a safe package.
APPEARANCE: Originating from non-automotive rounded artistic forms, the SC400 was designed for distinction. Its well-lighted front-end treatment is distinctive because of the projector beam headlights, plus the separated driving lights and below-the-bumper air intake. Its overall design also reveals a wedge influence, highlighted by some enhancing body creases. Low profile Goodyear Eagle GS-D performance tires mounted on distinctive alloy wheels and bright side window highlights and large side mirrors augment the side view. The short, high rear deck sports a discrete spoiler and the rear panel has prominent stop and turn lighting and two large exhaust pipes.
COMFORT: There is a fine balance of luxury in the SC400. It is completely and tastefully outfitted with almost all available convenience items. Some are expected and some are unique. Among the expected are soft leather upholstery, power windows, mirrors and locks with an audible confirmation, highly visible electronic analog instrument panel, very quiet automatic climate control with an outside temperature indicator and bird's-eye maple wood trim. The unique items include easy access 4-link door hinges that allow the wide doors to open wide for easy access. Tied in with this is the front passenger seat that electrically moves fore and aft to allow easier access to the rear seats. The dash- mounted cup-holder is an engineering marvel. For custom comfort the driver's seat has ten-way power adjustments which, along with the side mirrors and tilt and telescope steering wheel can be pre-set for two drivers. The very fine seven-speaker hi-fi AM/FM/cassette stereo system is upgraded to 210 watts output when the 12 CD auto-changer is mounted in the trunk and can provide up to 12 hours of owner-selected music. For added vision a tilt-and-slide glass sunroof is available.
SAFETY: Lexus emphasizes safety with dual front airbags, and four-wheel disc antilock brakes. The SC400 is equipped with three-point safety belts with special latch clips. In addition it is engineered with front and rear energy crumple zones and side door beams.
ROADABILITY: The SC400 is a luxury grand touring coupe that utilizes solid, proven engineering principles rather than electronic wizardry to provide the smoothness, civility and quietness that are of paramount importance in this class of car. A combination of 4-wheel independent suspension, tuned shocks and stabilizer bars and speed-sensitive power steering assures the driver plenty of the sort of feedback that enables the SC400 to be piloted down any sort of road at speed in comfort and safety. Its 4-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes and Goodyear Eagle speed-rated tires also contribute to safe stopping and excellent road holding.
PERFORMANCE: Under the hood of the SC400 lies a finely engineered 4.0 liter four-cam 32-valve V8 engine with electronic fuel injection. It is tied to an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission that features both normal and power shifting settings as well as an overdrive lockout. This powertrain combination delivers a smooth and quick 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque to its rear wheels and propels the SC down the road with abundant conrolled power.
CONCLUSIONS: An introductory goal of the SC400 was to create "active comfort" combining smoothness and quietness with sportiness and character. Judging by the awards bestowed by automotive publications and its acceptance by the purchasing public this Lexus has succeeded.
1994 LEXUS SC 400
Base Price $ 47,500 Price As Tested $ 50,503 Engine Type V-8, dohc-32v, mpfi Engine Size 4.0 liter/242 cid Horsepower 250 @ 5600 Torque (ft/lbs) 260 @ 4400 Wheelbase/Length 106"/191" Transmission four speed auto w/od Curb Weight 3590 Pounds per Horsepower 14 Fuel Capacity 20 Fuel Requirement Unleaded premium (91 oct) Tire Goodyear Eagle GS-D 225/55VR16 Brake anti-lock standard disc/disc Drive Train front engine/rear drive PERFORMANCE EPA Economy - miles per gallon, city/highway/observed 18/22/19.1 0 to 60 mph 7.3 sec 1/4 mi (E.T.) 15.5 sec Coefficient of drag (cd) .31