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

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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.

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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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.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.