The used Lexus SC430 is perceived by some as an underachieving, wallowing heap that rolls from corner to corner like a drunk hippo. True, up to a point – but this Japanese convertible also has its merits. These include the 4.3-litre V8 engine that produces 282bhp, and smoothly propels the SC430 to 60mph in only 6 seconds.
Further merits include the generous equipment specification which makes the SC430 feel like a high-end electrical shop. Featured gadgets include a Mark Levinson stereo system with six-CD auto-changer, touch screen satellite navigation, electric everything, and bluetooth. From 2006, the SC430 also featured adaptive front lights that turn with the steering to effectively peer round corners. Very clever, although this can take some getting used too.
The SC430 is also extremely reliable and beautifully screwed together. The interior feels tougher than diamonds and the mechanicals robust enough to outlast the sun. This complements the safety features that include stability/traction control, ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution, and a tyre pressure warning system should you drive over a sharp stone and puncture the tyre.
So, that deals with the SC430's good points - let's consider the bad. The handling, particularly for early models, is far inferior to rivals such as the Mercedes SL-Class. Throw it into corners and this large convertible loses composure, leans uncomfortably, and waves the white flag of surrender. The lifeless steering does not help, either. Revisions in 2005 marginally improved the situation, but the SC430 will never satisfy enthusiastic drivers.
Therefore, the SC430 is a fashionable, beautifully equipped, endlessly reliable convertible for those who simply want to amble along behind a posh badge - and there is nothing wrong with that. Motoring.co.uk's used car database reveals the used 2005 Lexus SC430 is available from £20,000. The only problem now is figuring out how to operate all those gadgets.