Lexus entered the world of personal luxury coupes with the introduction of the Lexus SC Series in 1992. At that time they introduced the Lexus SC 400 and it promptly garnered Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year award as well as making Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best List for 1992. By anyone’s standards the SC 400 had to be considered a success for Toyota Motors.
Originally the Lexus SC 400 was patterned after the Toyota Soarer but that boxy look was deemed out of touch with American consumers. A sleeker, curving SC 400 was the result of a revolutionary new design and it was an immediate success. In looks and luxury it matched the Mercedes SL, the Acura Legend coupe, and the Infiniti M30 coupe. Shortly after the introduction of the SC 400 Lexus unveiled its little brother, the SC 300.
The SC couple was produced until 2002 when it was replaced by the SC 430 with its retractable-hardtop design, and that was produced until 2010 when its run was over.
So what can be said about the Lexus SC Series? First of all, this was a fine Japanese import car. The Toyota and Lexus engineers understand quality. They understand luxury. They in fact understand technology and reliability and the physics of a smooth ride. In every one of those categories they at the very least equal the Mercedes-Benz SL, the Acura Legend, and the Infiniti M30.
What the SC Series lacks is a certain “feng shui” quality. Feng Shui refers to “the perfect spot,” a certain centered life force, and that, in a rather existential way, is what the Lexus SC Series lacked. In order to equal the Mercedes-Benz SL a car must have that indefinable quality where road, machine, and driver become one. When driving the car the driver should feel the road, every turn and nuance should be experienced, and the Lexus SC Series fell short in that regard. It is a failing of every Japanese import and to the casual driver it would not even be noticed; but if you were ever drive a Mercedes or BMW and then compared them to the Lexus brand, you would notice the difference in a heartbeat.
Truly this is not a very big thing and would not even be mentioned if the stated goal of Lexus had not been to be the equal of the Mercedes SL; but since it was it is worth mentioning. The Lexus SC Series was a fine production run and they were excellent cars. Pick up a used one and you are picking up an excellent automobile. Just don’t expect to experience feng shui because you will be sorely disappointed.