The SC 400 coupe had been reinvigorated by a recent power boost and the addition of a manual transmission. Unfortunately, 2000 was the final year for the SC 400. The SC series would halt production for 2001, and one entirely redesigned model would appear for the following year. The first generation SC coupes had lasted nine years without substantial revisions, and a fresh look was needed to keep the car competitive with new offerings from Mercedes and BMW.
The 1998 addition of Toyota TRD's Variable Valve Timing+intelligence technology had helped the SC keep pace with speedsters like the Mercedes SLK. A 290 horsepower V-8 powered the SC from 0 to 60 in about six seconds, and through the quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at 93 mph. The clever VVT+i technology not only increased the SC's engine power, but it also improved fuel efficiency and culled back emissions.
Four-wheel independent suspension provided a smooth and stable ride, the question remained: did this softer suspension create too much of a departure from sports performance and feel? That's difficult to determine, and it really depends on driver expectations. Some driving enthusiasts were hoping the SC would become a car that Lexus may not be able to provide: one that chose performance over quiet and comfortable luxury. The SC series had embodied the Lexus effort to blend comfort and luxury with driving excitement. Performance was not the priority, but it was certainly not a casualty. Throughout their history, Lexus has faced similar balance challenges with GS and IS sport sedans.
Owners and test drivers agreed that the 5-speed manual transmission offered a more lively GT experience. This was the last year that any SC would offer one.