For 2006, the Lexus SC 430 convertible receives a minor freshening-up. The headlamps, grille, bumpers and rear lamps have been redesigned; there are new 18-inch alloy wheels; and adaptive front lighting has been added as standard equipment. There’s also a new six-speed automatic transmission to replace the five-speed auto of 2005.

The Pebble Beach Special Edition has returned, with exclusive Tigereye Mica exterior paint, camel interior, espresso dark brown wood, unique badges and floor mats, and a set of leather luggage, for $93,850.

The SC 430 is powered by a 4.3-litre aluminum-alloy V8 that sends power 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.

The aluminum roof retracts at the touch of a button, providing open-air motoring when it’s down and a quiet, weatherproof top when it’s up. The dual-zone climate control has an “auto” setting for convertible use, directing the air into two streams when the top is down and the outside air is cold.

Standard features include speed-sensitive steering, 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires, power tilt wood and leather-wrapped wheel with memory, Mark Levinson CD/cassette with nine speakers and wheel-mounted controls, heated leather seats with ten-way power adjust and memory, auto-dimming rearview mirror, maple or walnut woodgrain trim, water-repellent door glass, auto-dimming heated exterior mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, high-intensity discharge lights with adaptive front lighting, light control system, auto-levelling and washers, fog lamps, DVD-based navigation system and HomeLink garage door opener.

Derived from the LS 430 sedan, the SC 430 is beautifully styled, and the new six-speed transmission backs it up with quicker acceleration. Technically it’s a four-passenger, but it’s very cramped in the back, and it’s best to consider it a 2+2. Better yet, leave them at home; you’ll want this experience all to yourself.

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