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TRD Aurion: Toyota's Supercharged Hero Car

Motoring Channel Staff - 21/August/2007

TRD Aurion
The new TRD Aurion sports sedan

TRD Aurion
This little red thing is what gives the TRD Aurion
it's running shoes - an
Eaton TVS supercharger

Toyota Racing Development

There have been a number of TRD-badged Toyota models released in different countries over the years, but the TRD Aurion is the world's first 'official' TRD vehicle, and you can be sure that the Toyota illuminati in Japan will be watching this one very closely.

TRD's Aurion uses an advanced supercharger, which is driven via a belt connected to the crankshaft, to develop it's 241 kilowatts, and together with a fettled chassis it could be a very strong performer. The fact that it's front-wheel drive will be a concern for some drivers, but if drives well and doesn't exhibit too much understeer or torque steer, it could be the start of a very profitable performance venture. TRD is planning on releasing a tuned Hilux later in the year and is also working on a third go-fast model.

- Feann Torr, Editor

TRD Aurion
With a stout body kit and large 19-inch wheels,
the TRD Aurion communicates its potential well

TRD Aurion
The new motor sports inspired rear diffuser
flanked by stylised twin exhausts is very trick

TRD Aurion
Leather and alcantara (suede) sports seats
separate the cabin from the standard Aurion

Melbourne, Australia — The TRD Aurion has finally touched down, a supercharged sports car that Toyota Australia hopes will give the Aurion a big sales boost. It provides the Aurion range with much-needed 'halo' model that will allow it to better compete with its large car rivals from Ford and Holden, and is the most powerful Toyota to ever launch in Australia.

Outputting 241kW (328hp) from its blown 3.5-litre engine, the new model "is strategically positioned below the luxury-car tax threshold" states Toyota. The pricing for the new sports sedan is as follows:

TRD Aurion 3500S: $56,990
 TRD Aurion 3500SL: $61,500

The more expensive 3500SL model gets a slightly different body kit, improved interior features including dual zone climate control, reverse parking sensors, and a 'smart' key fob.

Toyota Racing Development, or TRD, has developed these two models and both output an impressive 241kW of power @ 6400rpm. Peak torque of 400Nm hits the front treads @ 4000rpm, and TRD says these power levels were attained using 98 octane premium unleaded petrol.

The benchmark performance indicator, the zero to 100km/h dash, is impressive, with TRD claiming it takes just 6.1 seconds. The TRD Aurion's are speed limited to 250km/h.

Toyota Australia says the new model is for enthusiasts. It features stiffer suspension than the Aurion Sportivo, a supercharged V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, powerful new brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels with sticky 245 aspect ratio tyres, an aerodynamic body kit, and a premium interior with leather and alcantara upholstery.

Toyota has been cautious in comparing the TRD Aurion directly with Ford and GM Holden's home grown heroes, the FPV (Ford Performance Vehicles) and HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) ranges, because the Aurion is front-wheel drive vehicle and because of this isn't considered a 'true' sports sedan by many purveyors.

Toyota Australia's marketing director, David Buttner, was careful not to highlight HSV or FPV as direct rivals, instead suggesting that the TRD Aurion would be an 'alternative' and would compete with imported models from Japan and Europe:"TRD Aurion matches the size of the locally produced sports sedans that are priced above it, and it exceeds the performance of its imported rivals," he said.

Referring to HSV and FPV buyers as 'tribalists', Toyota's chief of marketing added that Toyota is not aiming for buyers such as these, adding that the new model will appeal to wider audience than just 'petrolheads'.

"The tribalists will not contemplate another brand as they aspire to own the latest version of the car their fathers drove," Mr Buttner opined.

"TRD models are for people who appreciate fine performance and nuance. At the same time, it's so fuel-efficient you don't need to be a 'petrolhead' to enjoy exhilarating performance," said Mr Buttner.

He stated that the target market for the TRD Aurion was primarily males aged 35 to 50 who love sport and love their cars, and are likely to be high-income earners, with an annual salary of $105,000. "They are prepared to pay a little bit more for a performance vehicle that offers excitement as well as traditional Toyota values.

"Potential customers include the user-chooser who wants an alternative to the existing offerings. There's also the family man who has a taste for performance vehicles without being a total revhead. And we are aiming at aspirational buyers who are looking for a car under the luxury-car tax threshold," Mr Buttner added.

TRD Powertrain

The TRD Aurion is the most powerful Toyota ever released in Australia, and has been developed here for the local market. The core of the new model is it's 3.5-litre forced induction V6 engine, which gets a power hike of almost 40kW thanks to new supercharging technology.

The new four-lobe Eaton TVS (Twin Vortices Series) supercharger augments the V6 engine, and is the first vehicle in the world to use this new technology. TRD explained that it "chose supercharging over turbocharging ... to optimise throttle response and torque."

A specially developed sports exhaust supplied by Tenneco Automotive reduces exhaust back pressure by 15% to work more effectively with the TVS blower.

With 400Nm of torque @ 4000rpm, Toyota's car tuning arm claims the supercharged engine has more than 300Nm of torque available from 1250rpm, right through to the redline. No manual transmission is offered at present, meaning the engine is matched to the same 6-speed automatic transmission found on lesser Aurion models.

With a 6.1 second zero to 100km/h dash, the TRD Aurion is remarkably quick, and with a claimed quarter mile of 14.2 seconds recorded, the performance levels are very high. The potential for further power development from DIY and aftermarket tuners will see some tricked-out monsters hitting the streets in due course, looking for FPV Typhoon scalps.

As well as it's strong 241 kilowatts of power, the TRD Aurion is also claimed to return combined cycle (city/highway) fuel economy of 10.9 litres/100km, which is about 2 to 3 litres better than HSV and FPV models.

TRD Chassis

With in tandem with the boosted V6 engine, the front-wheel drive TRD Aurion has a modified chassis featuring a range of new components. Most impressive of all is the wheel/brake package, which is as follows:

 Wheels: 19-inch x 8-inch aluminium rims
Tyres: 245/35 ZR19 (Dunlop SP Sport Maxx)
Brakes: front 325mm x 32mm discs with 2-piston aluminium calipers
Brakes: rear 310mm x 18mm discs with single piston aluminium calipers

TRD worked with a range of local suppliers to boost the performance of the Aurion, and PBR supplied the braking package, while Ferodo HP 1000 performance brake pads are used (front and rear) for the sports sedan.

The suspension system is the same as used on the Aurion Sportivo, but has been tuned to provide a more focussed drive. For example the ride height has been dropped by 12mm, and spring and damping rates have been increased to provide the car with improved traction and driver feedback, while reducing body roll through corners.

TRD has tweaked the wheel alignment, with increased negative camber for improved yaw response and agility. It explains that front toe-in has also been increased for improved steering feel and response, while the rear suspension has neutral rear toe.

TRD Interior

Both models feature leather and alcantara interiors, but the top spec 3500SL is the 'luxury' model and gets more leather, a colour-coded gear shifter, 8-way adjustable drivers seat, a smart key fob, rear parking sensors and TRD floor mats.

The $56,990 3500S model doesn't get as many standard features, but still includes the sports seats, and is being labelled the 'sporty' model. Both cars get colourful interiors to denote their high performance levels, as well as a special TRD steering wheel.

TRD Exterior

As the photos attest, the TRD Aurion benefits from a striking body kit. According to TRD, the 3500S theme is 'aggressive sports' while the 3500SL has a 'refined sports' theme. Both models feature 19-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, as well as strong front spoilers exhibiting a curved lower lip.

The side skirts add flair, as does as the rear apron which features "an F1 diffuser style" according to TRD, while also having provisions for fitting a towbar. Dual exhausts exit through the special apertures integrated into the rear bumper design, and the TRD Aurion's spoiler has a twin-element design that enhances both visual appeal and aerodynamic performance according to the company.

"TRD Aurion will provide a balanced driving experience for a sophisticated market, integrating its power with dynamic cornering ability, precise steering response and impressive stopping performance," Toyota's David Buttner said. 

"It will distinguish itself by delivering its ample reserves of all-round performance in a way that is enjoyable and relaxing to drive - whether in traffic or on the open road."

"TRD models are for people who appreciate fine performance and nuance," David Buttner added, who later hinted at the second TRD model that will be launched towards the end of the year: the TRD HiLux. The 4WD Double Cab will be powered by a supercharged 4.0-litre V6 engine "that will lift power substantially over the standard engine's 175kW" reads a Toyota statement. 

There is also news that a third TRD model is being studied for feasibility, and is likely to be the marques best selling model, the Corolla.

Related articles:
Toyota Corolla (2007)
Toyota Supra (2010)
- Toyota Supra HV-R: Hybrid Race Car (2007)
Toyota Tarago V6 (2007)
Toyota Aurion (2006)
Toyota Aurius (concept)
Toyota Camry (2006)
Toyota Tarago (2006)
Toyota RAV4 (2006)

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