Monday, June 15, 2009
We've reported on this before, but we now have stronger evidence than ever that Toyota is getting back into the affordable sports-coupe game with an all-new model priced at around $20,000–$25,000.
This front-engine/rear-drive 2-door will reincarnate the spirit of the 1983–1987 Corolla Levin/Trueno (AE86), a car that's still popular today, especially among drift enthusiasts. According to our friends at Best Car magazine, Toyota's code name for this future sports car is 086A. That it's so similar to AE86 is no coincidence.
Toyota is partnering with Subaru to bring this project to reality. In fact, most of the engineering seems to be coming from the company known for its all-wheel-drive rally cars. Powering the future coupe will be Subaru's 2.0-liter flat-4 equipped with a new direct-injection system, tuned to produce an impressive 200 bhp and 145 lb.-ft. of torque. We predict the car will weigh about 2700 lb., so expect fairly quick acceleration times, probably around 6.0 sec. to 60 mph. The suspension will consist of MacPherson struts up front and a multilink setup at the rear, with the chassis based on that of the Subaru Impreza and Legacy.
Toyota will mainly be in charge of the car's styling. Although both Toyota and Subaru versions will be offered, the two models won't look much different, apart from badging — think Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe.
The Acura TSX has grown considerably over the years, so much so in fact that Acura has decided that for top level performance the car has outgrown its four-cylinder powerplant. So to add some beef to the already impressive sports-sedan, Acura has stuffed a 280hp 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood for the 2010 model year.
The V6 model will not replace the current car, but rather join the already successful four-cylinder engine.
With 280hp, the new V6 is 79 horsepower more powerful than the four-cylinder. The 280 number isn’t all that significant for a V6, however, so we do expect a less high-strung engine with torque numbers close in line to the horsepower figures.
The V6 engine will be mated to Acura’s Sequential SportShift automatic transmission, which includes features such as Grade Logic Control and Shift Hold Control. The new V6 models will come with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
New 2010 V6 modes will also get 18-inch wheels with Michelin tires, revised suspension system, a slightly modified front fascia and V6 badges.
“The automotive market may be slowing down, but not Acura,” said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. “With improved acceleration and handling, the new 280 horsepower V-6 adds even more sport to the already sporty nature of the popular TSX sports sedan.”
Be prepared for lots more from Acura throughout 2009 as the company plans to make significant changes to all of its vehicles for the 2010 model year.
While a concept, the ZDX is slated for production and will be on sale later this year. An Acura rep told us that the production model will be “extremely close” to what was shown today.
The ZDX will be powered by a V6 engine and will use Acura’s SH-AWD technology. A six-speed automatic will be standard, although according to the Acura press release it will be a “sequential” unit - which could mean a quick-shifting double-clutch style system.
Also included on the production car will be the panoramic glass roof, a multi-view rear view camera and a blind spot monitoring system. Style elements include hidden rear door handles and exhaust pipes that are integrated intot he rear bumper - both firsts for Acura.
The ZDX is a car that defies categories, with coupe styling, four-doors and the functionality of a crossover SUV.
Surprisingly, despite the ZDX’s less-than-massive size, it will slot in above the MDX in the Japanese luxury carmaker’s lineup.