QOTD: Are We Going to Get a New Lexus SC300?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd are we going to get a new lexus sc300

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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  • Davekaybsc Davekaybsc on Apr 18, 2018

    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.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Apr 19, 2018

    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.

  • Mike Beranek This guy called and wants his business model back.
  • SCE to AUX The solid state battery is vaporware.As for software-limited pack capacity: Batteries are obviously the most expensive component of an EV, so on the rare occasion that pack capacity is dramatically limited (as in your 6-year-old example), it's because economies of scale briefly made sense at the time.Mfrs are not in the habit of overbuilding pack capacity just for fun, and then charging the customer less.Since then, pack capacities have been slightly increased via software because the mfr decides they can sacrifice a little bit of the normal safety/wear margin in the interest of range. We're talking single-digit percentages, not the 60/75 kWh jump in your example.Every pack has maybe 10% margin built into it, so eating into that today (via range increases) means it's not available to make up for battery degradation tomorrow. My 4-year-old EV still has its original range(s) and 100% SOH, but that's surely because it is slowly consuming the margin built into the pack.@Matt Posky: Not everything is a conspiracy to get your credit card account, and the lengthy editorial about this has nothing to do with solid state batteries.
  • JLGOLDEN In order for this total newcomer to grab and hold attention in the US market, the products MUST be an exceptional value. Not many people will pay name-brand money for the pretty mystery. I can appreciate the ambition of selling $50K+ crossovers, but I think they will go farther with their $30K-$40K offerings.
  • Dukeisduke They're where Tesla was when it started - a complete unknown. I haven't heard anything about a dealer network. How are they going to sell these? Direct like Tesla? Franchises picked up by existing new car dealers?
  • Master Baiter As I approach retirement, and watch my IRA and 401K account balances dwindle, I have less and less interest in $150K vehicles.
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