By on April 18, 2018

Yesterday, Matt Posky penned an article about the upcoming Toyota Supra, which will resurrect the sporty and historical nameplate from the slumber its had since all the way back in 1996.

I think we should spend some time today speculating on what other plans Toyota might have for their new, German-influenced sports coupe.

As mentioned in yesterday’s article, the new Supra is a co-development with BMW. The two companies are taking advantage of cost savings in an era where a sports coupe is not a surefire sales success. The word around industry circles is the top-tier engine offering will be BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-six. That’s of course the same displacement and cylinder configuration as you’d find in the old Supra (plus or minus turbos) and its platform mate, the SC300 from Lexus.

The legacy of the SC name is not one which should be dismissed. Used, clean examples (rare) are worth money (though not astronomical like Supra), and there seems to be a recognition that the first generation SC was something special. When the Supra passed away the SC would live on. It continued alongside the Japanese market Toyota Soarer through the end of the 2000s, when it was replaced by the California-designed soap bar SC430 for 2001. A favorite of wealthy older women and nobody else, the SC430 fizzled out after 2010. This brings us to today’s lineup.

Currently, Lexus offers two coupe models: RC and LC. I did have to look it up, but the forgettable IS convertible finished life at the end of 2014. For pricing, the RC is around $40,000 in regular guise, and $65,000 for the hot RC F. The LC takes its place as the coupe version of the LS sedan, and costs $92,000+.

To my mind, this leaves a space for a new SC. The LC started out in life in 2012 as the LF-LC concept which took some styling cues from the original SC300. This caused media speculation on a replacement for the recently deceased SC. But that concept turned into the super-lux LC, leaving plenty of space, physically and in pricing, for another coupe.

My suspicion at this point is the phasing out and cancellation of the middling RC, and replacement in 20XX with a new SC200t and SC300. The price point’s right there as well, assuming some overlap with the Supra – say $55,000 to $70,000. Lexus gets a new coupe, and Toyota gets some more volume from their new Z4-esque platform.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Lexus doesn’t need another coupe, and the RC fits the mid-size bill just fine. Maybe the SC430’s buyers (and appearance) tarnished the reputation of the name beyond any reasonable repair. Off to you, B&B.

 

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41 Comments on “QOTD: Are We Going to Get a New Lexus SC300?...”


  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I can’t explain why, but the SC never did anything for me. I generally like all coupes but SC3/400 never moved my needle. I’d actually prefer an SC430.

    As an aside, I saw an LC500 in a parking garage the other week and it stopped me in my tracks. It was dark red and looked really fantastic from behind. I did a drive by just to take a look and ignoring the Lexus grille I think it is a really cool car.

  • avatar
    dima

    With this front end, why not. Much better than what currently becomes of Lexus front end of the car.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    No GS, no SC, I don’t think. The Supra should have either been an SC or an H6 BRZ. As is it’s gonna fail.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’d love to see one, but in the Age of the CUV, is it going to happen?

    Probably not.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Honestly I think we should be thankful that we even have the RC, which is a really nice car actually, the overwrought styling actually looks pretty good in person (for once). I’m not one for coupes and sportier stuff in general, but if I was something like an RC in beige and some sort of undersized rims with decent tires (to deal with local roads) sounds pretty nice. It’s be like an attempt at remaking an old SC300.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    What?

    No way. If you can’t find what you want in the current Lexus line up then praise be.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    No way Lexus is going to spend any development cash on a two-door coupe, even if it can share a platform with the Supra. The market has spoken, and regular coupes are dead.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think an SC would be kind of pointless, since coupes are dying. I’m amazed that Lexus ever made the LC at all, quite frankly.

    • 0 avatar

      But they’re making a new Supra when they didn’t need to. I don’t understand the entire project then.

      • 0 avatar
        PwrdbyM

        The Supra makes more sense than a Lexus GT coupe. At least the Supra is a sports car that can grab some headlines via ring times, buff book lap times, and you tube vids. It’s the first real sports car from Toyota in a long time. The Lexus coupe on the other hand would get lost in the mix. Despite the SC name I imagine it would sell in the same numbers as the RC and get the same amount of attention, which is to say none.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        The point is, when you say “Toyota” to any person, the first model they’ll think of will be either the Camry, Corolla, Tacoma/Hilux, Land Cruiser, or SUPRA. It’s an important nameplate. Lexus’ equivalents are the LS and RX. Not the SC.

      • 0 avatar
        James2

        “But they’re making a new Supra when they didn’t need to. I don’t understand the entire project then.”

        Akio is force-feeding ‘excitement’ into Toyota, never mind the actual need. I guess we should be grateful that he’s not content with just selling Camrys, Corollas and RAV4s to the masses.

  • avatar
    ernest

    I don’t get it either. A neighbor has a RC in a Medium Gray color that looks pretty decent. That’s in the context of most new car colors looking like they’re being seen on a Black & White TV screen.

  • avatar
    Aron9000

    Only way I see Lexus resurrecting the SC name is if they discontinue the current RC. Which might happen in a year or two anyways, RC is currently on its 4th model year.

    Although if its going to be some bastard Toyota with a BMW engine like rumors are pointing to with the new Supra, it would be better to just let the SC continue its dirt nap.

    Sorry if I’m being a hater, but I hope this new Supra is a monumental flop. I don’t want any BMW parts in my Toyota, keep my Toyota 100% engineered and built by Toyota. Same reason I’m not real big on the GT-86/FR-S, Subaru engine(and not a very good one either). Toyota easily could have made some rev to the moon 4 cylinder themselves for that car, they’ve had SEVERAL of those types of engines in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      What is wrong with BMW? I am not a BMW fan despite being from Munich, but they produce superb engines and vehicles which are very fun to drive.

      And don’t be fooled by Toyota or any other car firm. Toyota has suppliers, both domestic and foreign, which provide them with the parts they require. Some of their suppliers are even German. In fact Toyota recently announced that for the European market they wish to do more business with German companies which supply the auto industry.

      Likewise, Volkswagen even has Japanese suppliers, including one which supplies them with electronics. Listed below are two of these Japanese firms which act as suppliers to Volkswagen.

      https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/stories/2017/06/volkswagen-group-honors-its-best-suppliers.html

    • 0 avatar
      MR2turbo4evr

      Amen to that, Aron900! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      ThomasSchiffer, if I buy a Toyota I can safely assume that most electrical components are produced by Denso and most mechanical components such as water pumps, clutches, axles, etc, are produced by Aisin. Toyota partially owns both companies and has control over the quality of the parts. This has worked well for them in the past as can be evidenced by historically above-average reliability for many Toyota models. Using a BMW drivetrain will likely translate into using their suppliers for many parts and I bet will lower the reliability and longevity of the parts to BMW-level. Not good for Toyota buyers.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Three coupes in the lineup might be too many considering how popular that segment is now.

    Tone down the RC’s styling a notch or two or three and you might be close enough.

    I do miss when cars were allowed to look like that original SC, though.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      This would be my take as well. They already have the RC and the LC coupes. The rumored price point of the Supra is somewhere in between. Do we really believe Lexus wants THREE coupes taking up valuable CUV space in their dealerships?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Should happen? WTH. Will? Nada. Lex does need a ‘vert though…

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I have been shopping these. The clean, ultra low mileage V8 models get money and I may buy one just because I want a cruiser from the era (Something that when I shut the door I forget Cobain is dead lol)…But what I really want is an SC300 with a stick. So does everyone else it seems. They seem to go in the 8-10k range for clean ones.

    These cars held up well and it isn’t too difficult to find one owner, dealer maintained examples especially SC400 models. This is probably my favorite 90’s car and if I find a red one as in the picture I will buy, even if it is an auto. unless the unicorn clean B13 SE-R pops up which given the nature of that search I don’t see happening.

    I said it yesterday, the Supra should be based on the 86. It should be expensive, but attainable. The BMW based Supra should be a Lexus SC (but with Lexus powertrains) and it should look as much like this car as possible, but it will be ugly and complex and as such I will just buy an old school SC.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The stick SC300s were rare to begin with. $8-10k is getting pretty close to 1JZ Soarer money.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      When I was ready to sell my ’89 Mk III Supra Turbo in 2001, a used SC300 was the top car on my list to replace it. It was somewhat like the Supra, but a bit more upmarket. I was unable to find one with a stick shift, though, which eventually led me to Audi, where I have been ever since.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I love the SC300/400, especially the earlier ones, before they added a “grille” in front, and the ugly bright trim on the taillights. I rarely see them anymore, and most of the ones I see nowadays are hoopties. Do they even still make an inline six they could put in one? And I don’t mean a BMW engine, but a Toyota engine, that would actually last.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Almost certainly the best car design of the 90’s. Lexus has shown they have zero interest in lineage or history when it comes to their naming conventions, so the SC name is dead. There’s a 0.00001% chance of a new RC being called the SC, or a new GS being called an SC, but the SC memory is more generally attached to the 430 at this point, which Lexus is pretty eager to forget. There’s about the same chance of them bringing back the HS name

  • avatar

    I had a friend who had one of these…until he saw, then drove my SVX. Maybe Subaru will grace us with a new, futuristic GT too!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If this development comes to Lexus (which I doubt) it will be as a replacement RC, not an SC.

    I expect that the GS will be killed, the IS replacement will grow slightly, and a coupe will be spawned from it.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Lexus has enough coupe offerings with the RC and LC.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    I wish they’d sell the GS F for RC F prices.. $65k is a BIG stretch, but for a Lexus, just maybe..

  • avatar
    conundrum

    A Lexus version of the new Supra would provide the perfect opportunity to provide yet another vehicle to frighten local wildlife and preschoolers with its visage, and to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Lexus is #1 in Bad Taste.

    “You want fugly? We got it! Lexus. The relentless pursuit of Yuck!”

  • avatar
    STS_Endeavour

    Oooh, I always liked the Lexus MarkVIII. Though in the end, I wouldn’t care if it made a comeback. Not with Lexus’ current styling philosophy. Plus you’d have to drag me, kicking and screaming, to go back to that god-awful dealership.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I used to own a ’96 SC300. Steering feel was pretty good, especially for a Lexus of the period. Nicely weighted with decent feedback. The SC was never a “sports car” though in any sense of the word. It was a personal luxury coupe/grand tourer, a segment that doesn’t really exist anymore south of exotica like the S-class coupe and Aston DB11.

    If you’re thinking about buying one now – don’t. ESPECIALLY not an automatic. The 4-speeds in these were terrible, and the V8 which made all of 250hp or so was barely faster than the sluggish 220hp I6 version. The seats were also absolute garbage. The seats in my SC300 and in my mother’s 2001 RX300 were probably the most uncomfortable seats I’ve ever been in.

    I don’t see Lexus bringing the SC back. There’s barely enough sales for BMW and Mercedes to sell 6 and E coupes, and Lexus will never match their sales in this segment. Audi would build a two-door A7 if they could sell it. They know they can’t. Same reason why Jag killed the XK8. This market is dead.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    If they did an SC off the new Supra platform, I’d like to have similar proportion to the LC, but be much simpler in detail and surface to get a carved from a single block look.

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