Make / Model Search

Future models - Toyota - Aurion - TRD

Aurion TRD delayed as Toyota searches for power

Almost there: Toyota's "near-production" Aurion TRD appeared on Friday.

Toyota searches for more Aurion TRD power as Mitsu's blown TMR 380 cries enough

6 Mar 2007

MITSUBISHI’S quest to transform its 380 sedan into a supercharged Ralliart-badged sports sedan may be hampered by the lack of stability control to harness its extra urge, but it seems Toyota cannot extract enough power from its direct rival, the force-fed Aurion TRD.

It had been expected to appear in final production guise at the Melbourne motor show ahead of a March release, but the supercharged Aurion – the first salvo from the new Toyota Racing Development brand that was officially launched in Melbourne on Friday – has now been delayed until the third quarter of 2007.

Instead of a production-ready version of the blown Aurion, Toyota showed a "near-to-production" development of the Aurion Sports Concept that debuted at last October’s Sydney show, alongside a concept of its second TRD model, the supercharged 4.0-litre HiLux TRD.

"We brought a surprise as part of the kick-off for the brand in Australia," said Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss David Buttner. "We wanted to show the concept vehicle so people have an understanding this is not just a one-model brand, that we’ll have more than one model and that over time we can draw on any of the product in the Toyota stable to do performance enhancement work.

"The HiLux TRD will become available. This year we’ll launch both the TRD Aurion and the TRD HiLux, and the TRD HiLux will be available towards the end of the fourth quarter," he said.

While the lack of stability control for its 380 donor car has created problems for Mitsubishi in it attempt to deliver a production version of the 230kW/442Nm TMR concept, the Aurion TRD’s delay appears to be due to the unexpected work required to lift performance by meaningful levels over the Aurion’s standard 200kW/336Nm 3.5-litre V6, which incorporates traction and stability control as standard. Traction control is optional on the base 380 and standard on the rest of the range, but stability control is not yet available for the 380, which is powered by a 175kW/343Nm 3.8-litre V6. The Ralliart version is alleged to accelerate to 100km/h in six seconds and to 400 metres in 14 seconds.

Toyota has publicly targeted 235kW for the Aurion TRD and Toyota spokesman Mike Breen told GoAuto last week that: "As it turns out, the standard engine’s 200kW output is just about perfect, so it’s taking more work than expected to achieve the extra performance in terms of durability and reliability." GoAuto has learned that attempts to extract enough power to better the TMR 380’s outputs, via an intercooled and supercharged version of the Aurion V6, have failed and that Toyota now hopes to become the first manufacturer to employ a new-generation twin-screw Eaton supercharger, which is not yet available in Australia, in its search for more power.

"We’re going through what we call our first trial build stage at the moment and we’ll launch in the third quarter. But we’re very, very close," said Mr Buttner on Friday.

"We had some issues along the way and we wanted to make sure that we brought to market a vehicle that was 100 per cent ready and that will be a credit to the Toyota brand.

"We’d rather put to market our best product at the most appropriate time." Mr Buttner denied durability issues were involved in the delay. "No. We just wanted to make sure that every component was ready. We have a number of suppliers, some of who are new to the Toyota camp. We’re working with them to ensure that every component on that car is 100 per cent before we go to market," he said.

Mr Buttner said the basis for a third TRD model had not yet been decided, but hosed down suggestions its redesigned Corolla, which goes on sale in May, was a shoe-in.

"We’ve got the crystal ball out at the moment. A lot of people are doing a lot of work but we hope to decide on the third model within the next two months," he said.

"We could call on the Yaris or the Corolla - we’ve got a whole host of models, so we’re looking at what can we do to best things with the engine, what can we do to best things with the performance of the vehicle, the styling, and once we’ve made that decision we’ll make the announcement at the appropriate time." In other Toyota news, Mr Buttner confirmed its first V6-powered RAV4, which will also become available around August, will not be offered with a third-row option.

It’s believed a seven-seat RAV4 V6 would have risked sales cannibalization of Toyota’s second-generation Kluger SUV, which made its Australian debut alongside the new Corolla sedan, hatch and S2000 rally car in Melbourne, and goes on sale here in July.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Toyota models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here