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1996 Lexus SC 400 Overview
Generally, it's not in our nature to indulge in breathless hyperbole, so evaluating the Lexus SC 400 performance coupe can be somewhat problematic. Why? Because when this automotive reviewer nestles into the cockpit of a dream machine like the Lexus SC 400 - with its 250-hp V8 engine - the superlatives naturally start flying as fast as insults at a Friars Club Roast. For example: Ride - blissful. Acceleration - rocket-like. Styling - sleek and elegantly sexy. Handling - akin to a jackrabbit on steroids. You get the idea. Such hosannas have been hurled at the feet of Lexus designers ever since the SC 400 was rolled out in 1991. But after spending a few days with the 1995 version of the SC 400, it's clear that the Lexus design team didn't feel overly pressured by a what-do-we-do-for-an-encore syndrome. The design changes on the front grille, tail-lamps and alloy wheels are more like refinements than overhauls, and are mostly for the sake of increased sportiness. Several modifications have been made in regards to the front suspension. It's been beefed up with a thicker stabilizer bar and lower arm stay for improved rigidity, while an upper arm bushing was upgraded from metal to rubber to calm the vibrato effect common in many performance coupes. And in the safety department, side reinforcements enable the SC 400 to conform to 1997 federal side-impact standards. Our SC 400 boasted a long list of standard luxury-line features that includes leather seats and appointments, maple trim, multi-adjustable power seats, a telescopic/tilt steering wheel, automatic climate control, outside temperature gauge, cruise control, power locks and a remote entry system. The only options we added to our test vehicle were all-season tires, remote 12-disc CD changer, traction control system, carpeted trunk mat and wheel locks. Along with the $470 freight and handling charge, those add-ons brought the base sticker price of $48,400 up to an MSRP of $50,888.