The sumptuously-styled Lexus SC 430 convertible receives a minor change for 2005: a Lexus DVD-based navigation system is now standard equipment. A new Pebble Beach Limited Edition is available to 35 lucky buyers – that’s all that have been allocated to Canada. The package features Black Diamond Metallic exterior, Pimento Red leather upholstery, black birds-eye maple wood trim, red scuff plate illumination, red floor mats and a red-and-silver engine cover. There are also run-flat tires and an exclusive Pebble Beach/SC 430 Callaway golf bag; cost is $92,970.

The SC 430 is powered by a 4.3-litre aluminum alloy V8 that sends power through a five-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. A Torque Activated Powertrain Control system continuously analyzes pedal angle, engine operating conditions and vehicle speed and then adjusts the throttle for even velocity. It also automatically holds shifts on hills, and downshifts automatically when the brake pedal is engaged so that adequate torque is always available.

Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels with low-profile tires, tire pressure monitor, navigation system, Bluetooth capability, leather seats with eight-way power adjustment, and a six-CD/cassette Mark Levinson stereo with hidden controls. The climate control has an “auto” setting that can separate the air into two streams, directed through the foot and lap vents, for comfortable motoring on cooler days when the aluminum roof has been lowered.

Beautifully styled, from a company that usually tends toward the more conservative, this retractable-hardtop convertible drives as nicely as the LS 430 sedan, from which it takes most of its mechanicals, with a slight bump in horsepower. It’s enough to move it along quite nicely, but it has a few rivals with better performance. The Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG is only a two-seater to the SC 430’s cramped rear seating ability, but it makes 55 more horsepower for $7,070 less; the four-passenger CLK500 makes 302 hp to the Lexus’ 300, for $2,870 less.

The SC 430 is built in Kanto Auto Works, Japan.

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