Lexus SC400

Introduced in June of 1991 as a 1992 model, the Lexus SC400 is a two-door coupe that features a sleek body design and an athletic V-8 engine. A rear drive model, the SC400 contained an impressive array of standard features when it first debuted.

More on the Lexus SC400
Lexus SC400 Origins

Features on the SC400 include standard ABS driver airbag, and the option of traction control for models equipped with an automatic transmission. The car was a hit when it made its debut and remained a good seller for a number of years. But while the SC400 had a lot going for it, Lexus’ failure to adapt and improve the car’s design over the years eventually caught up to it. Other models that adapted and changed eventually eclipsed the SC400’s appeal, and the Japanese automaker ultimately shuttered the line in 2000.

About the Lexus SC400

The Lexus SC400 was a tremendous hit when Lexus first released it back in the early 1990s. The two-door coupe garnered good reviews with the press and was a hit with the automotive buying public alike. Reasonably priced with an appealing design and ample features, the SC400 remained a singular sensation for its first few years of production.

For starters, its sleek, stylish design is unlike anything else from the personal-luxury segment of the market during its time. The car’s posture has an aggressive look, yet the SC400 lacks a traditional grille. The car’s greatest detriment however, is arguably the fact that it looked pretty much the same in its final model year as it did when Lexus first unveiled it back in 1991.

Lexus SC400 Features

Lexus discontinued the SC400 after the 2000 model. In its final year as a production model, the SC400 housed a substantial V-8 engine identical to the one found under the hood of the Lexus LS400. Rated at 290 horsepower, the SC400’s V-8 generates 6000 rpm and 300 lb-ft of torque. However, the engine’s power belies its smoothness, in part due to the presence of a variable valve timing system. This system optimizes valve overlap across the engine’s range of speed and in a variety of operating conditions. This helps minimize or eliminate the compromise between low-end torque and high-rpm horsepower that traditionally affects engines. The 2000 SC400’s engine also employs an electronic throttle control system.

Despite all this cutting edge engine power, the 2000 SC400 runs quietly inside thanks to the utilization of special materials that filter out engine noise and vibrations. This lends a quiet kind of serenity to the coupe’s ride, even at higher speeds. Other innovative interior features include the use of light-green tinted glass that reduces heat and UV rays. This keeps the car’s interior cool on bright, sunny days. The green-tinted glass also helps minimize premature aging of the upholstery and other interior materials.

The interior materials themselves are fairly luxurious and include perforated leather seat inserts, elegant wooden trim on the center console, and a leather shift knob. Additional interior amenities include automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats, and an audio system produced in conjunction with Pioneer. The model also offers an optional 280-watt premium sound system by Nakamichi.

Lexus SC400 Evolution

During the nine years the Lexus SC400 was produced, it existed essentially as a single-generation model. However, while the SC400 survived nearly a decade without a major redesign, Lexus made minor additions to the model over the years. In 1993, Lexus added passenger airbags and an automatic headlamp system. That same year, the Japanese automaker introduced the option of having the car prewired for use with a Portable Plus cellular phone.

1994 saw the introduction of a CFC-free air-conditioning system, while 1995 saw some exterior style revisions, new wheels, and the addition of a cupholder. Models from 1995 also meet 1997 side-impact safety standards.

1996 saw significant changes. This marks the first year that the SC400 came outfitted with the same V-8 engine as the LS400. Lexus also introduced an option for chrome wheels that year, along with auto-dimming electrochromic inside and outside rearview mirrors as a standard. Lexus also introduced a new remote keyless entry system in 1996, along with the option of a moonroof.

1997 saw only minor interior and exterior revisions, while 1998 saw the introduction of several new features including an engine immobilizer, depowered airbags, and a sophisticated five-speed automatic transmission that came standard. Few changes were made for the model’s penultimate year, but these include the introduction of perforated leather seat inserts, daytime running lights, and a three-spoke steering wheel similar to those found in GS series sport sedans.

For its final year of production Lexus introduced no changes to the SC400, save the addition of a new paint selection.

Select a Lexus SC400 Year

2000 Lexus SC400

Coupe, Luxury

The 2000 SC400 has a timeless design that boasts an aggressive stance on the outside and a premium feel on the inside.

1999 Lexus SC400

Coupe, Luxury

The 1999 Lexus SC400 classifies as a sporty coupe designed for the luxury market.

1998 Lexus SC400

Coupe, Luxury

The 1998 Lexus SC400 is a rear-drive, two-door sport luxury coupe that was created as a unique competitor to cars offered by Lincoln, Cadillac, and Acura.

1997 Lexus SC400

Coupe, Luxury

The 1997 Lexus SC400 was paraded as a slimmer, sleeker option for luxury when it was introduced to the sports luxury coupe market.

1996 Lexus SC400

Coupe, Luxury

The 1996 Lexus SC400 is typical of the Lexus name brand, as it is all about luxury.

1995 Lexus SC400

Coupe, Luxury

The 1995 Lexus SC400 is a sporty coupe designed for the luxury market.