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15 September 2020

Toyota's forgotten FWD supercharged terrier

By Mitchell TulkMitchell Tulk
Aussies love a hot six.

Toyota has always been best known for making dependable, but rather boring cars, especially after the Celica, MR2 and Supra went the way of the dinosaurs.

However, in 2007 Toyota looked to change its image by taking on the likes of Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) and Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) with its own performance brand known as Toyota Racing Development (TRD).

Taking a standard V6 Aurion and giving it a healthy dosage of steroids, this glorified Camry was able to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds and marched on to a limited top speed of 250km/h.

Is 241kW too much power to send through the front wheels? Not according to Toyota. Is 241kW too much power to send through the front wheels? Not according to Toyota.

Under the bonnet was a 3.5-litre V6 fitted with an Eaton TVS supercharger – the first production car in the world to feature one – and produced an impressive 241kW/400Nm.

Making 41kW/64Nm more than the naturally aspirated unit, sports suspension, beefier brakes, and fatter rubber were required to deal with the extra oomph.

As the sedan was still only front-wheel drive, these additions weren’t enough to keep the supercharged terrier from understeering when pushed to the limit.

  • You have to wonder if the TRD Aurion would have sold better if it was badged as a Lexus? You have to wonder if the TRD Aurion would have sold better if it was badged as a Lexus?
  • So it's not mistaken for a 'peasant's Aurion', TRD added 19-inch wheels, a bodykit, a spoiler and dual exhaust outlets integrated into the rear bumper. So it's not mistaken for a 'peasant's Aurion', TRD added 19-inch wheels, a bodykit, a spoiler and dual exhaust outlets integrated into the rear bumper.
  • The TRD Aurion was offered in two grades: 3500S, for Sport, and 3500SL, after Sports Luxury. The TRD Aurion was offered in two grades: 3500S, for Sport, and 3500SL, after Sports Luxury.
  • Despite the splashes of red and the TRD badges, the interior is much the same as a regular Aurion. Despite the splashes of red and the TRD badges, the interior is much the same as a regular Aurion.
  • Nothing says sporty quite like a red interior. Nothing says sporty quite like a red interior.

This wasn't even the car's biggest weakness. The killer for the TRD Aurion was its price

At $56,990 for the entry level 3500S and $61,500 for the 3500SL, both variants were priced to directly compete with FPV and HSV models, despite only having the performance to really match a Falcon XR6T/XR8 or Commodore SS.

No surprises that this sport sedan never flew out of dealer showrooms and after a couple of years, Toyota Australia pulled the plug, with only 600 TRD Aurions leaving the production line.