A lack of an enthusiast car has been an ongoing issue at Toyota, but with the new TRD Aurion Toyota inserts a healthy dosis of style, passion and performance into its Australian line-up. Australia is the first country to have TRD (Toyota Racing Development) as a stand-alone brand under the Toyota umbrella, instead of TRD being available only for separate tuning products. Which leaves us hoping that TRD will branch out to Europe and the US in the future and delight us with supercharged street-legal, high spec Toyota's too.
The TRD Aurion, to be followed by the TRD HiLux, is powered by a supercharged version of the standard Aurion 3.5 liter V6, producing 241kW (323 hp) and 400Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. The engine has been developed by Eaton and is mated with a six-speed automatic. The TRD Aurion is aimed at the car enthusiast, but Toyota wouldn't be Toyota if the car would not suit just about any customer. Mr Buttner: “There is a significant market among people who want the combination of power and performance as well as fuel efficiency and control. TRD Aurion is the car for them."
The TRD Aurion comes in two guises, namely the 3500S and 3500SL, both are powered by the same engine. The 3500S is equipped with a sports suspension, 19-inch wheels and special TRD body kit. The 3500SL comes with some additional features like Smart Entry, Smart Start, full leather interior, parking sensors and dual-zone airconditioning. Pricing starts at AUD 56,990 for the 3500S, strategically positioned below the luxury-car threshold.
Toyota Australia has injected 241kW of style, passion and performance into its range with the launch of the TRD brand and its first model, the supercharged TRD Aurion. Locally designed and built, TRD Aurion is the most powerful Toyota ever seen in Australia. It will sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds and is speed-limited to a maximum of 250km/h.
Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said the TRD Aurion represented "Toyota plus". "The TRD involvement elevates Aurion's dynamic capabilities while retaining Toyota's traditional quality, durability and reliability," Mr Buttner said. "You've got Toyota - plus added style and performance."
Toyota Style Australia styled TRD Aurion's exterior and interior. TRD Aurion is offered in two grades: 3500S, for sport, and 3500SL, after sports luxury. Both are fitted with the 241kW supercharged engine, sports suspension, performance brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels, TRD front and rear bumpers, side skirt and rear spoilers, sports seats, power driver's seat, alloy pedals, TRD scuff plates, air conditioning and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 3500S - with an RRP of $56,990* - is strategically positioned below the luxury-car tax threshold.
The upper-grade 3500SL has added features including Smart Entry and TRD Smart Start, full leather interior, clearance and reverse parking sonars, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, six-way power front passenger seat and TRD floor mats. The 3500SL has an RRP of $61,500*.
Mr Buttner said the price, specification, value and performance of the TRD Aurion would position it against both local and imported competition. "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. TRD Aurion is the world's first production car to use the Eaton TVS (Twin Vortices Series) supercharger.
"It offers new levels of efficiency and quietness," Mr Buttner said. "The standard Aurion engine is already at the forefront of technology - the most powerful naturally aspirated six-cylinder powerplant in its class. The Eaton supercharger lifts performance to a new plane with instant throttle response and excellent acceleration at low engine speeds. The power is delivered consistently and evenly throughout the rev range, rather than suddenly producing a neck-breaking surge. At the same time, it's so fuel-efficient you don't need to be a 'petrolhead' to enjoy exhilarating performance."
TRD Aurion's supercharged 3.5-litre V6 engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift. "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," Mr 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."
*Recommended retail prices exclude dealer delivery, government and statutory charges and optional extras.
New TRD Aurion has two model grades, both with supercharged quad cam V6 engine and six-speed sequential shift automatic transmission. The two model grades are TRD Aurion 3500S and 3500SL. Both models have a 241kW supercharged engine, TRD unique sports suspension, TRD performance brakes, TRD unique 19-inch alloy wheels with 245/35ZR19 Dunlop Sport Maxx performance tyres, TRD unique engine cover and TRD sports exhaust system with integrated exhaust outlets.
Interior features in 3500S include TRD red steering wheel, TRD scuff plates, red leather/suede sports seats featuring revised seat bolsters and leather door trim. Unique exterior features include TRD front and rear bumpers, body-coloured rear spoilers and side skirts, and TRD 3500S grade badge. The 3500S comes off the main Altona production line with rear underbody bracing, underbody aerodynamic enhancements, smoked headlamps and rear combination lamps, alloy sports pedals, multi-function trip computer, premium Optitron combination meter and six-disc CD changer. In addition, TRD Aurion 3500S has Data Dot security. There is one option for the 3500S: the combined option of moonroof, rear personal lamps and sun visors with lamps.
TRD Aurion 3500SL has higher specifications, including dual-zone air conditioning with push-button heater and ventilation controls, six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, Smart Entry and Push Start, and clearance and reversing sonar. TRD Aurion 3500SL's additional features over 3500S also include plum-coloured full leather seat trim, and colour-keyed (dark grey/plum) TRD leather-bound steering wheel and gearshift knob. The 3500SL model's additional specifications also include TRD piano black door and dashboard highlights, TRD 3500SL grade badge, unique 3500SL grade bumper highlights, TRD floor mats and a unique TRD alloy wheel silver finish. TRD Aurion 3500SL also has the added feature of a rear bumper reinforcement to optimise body rigidity and improve handling.
There are two option packs for the 3500SL: a combined option of moonroof, rear personal lamps and sun visors with lamps, and the combined option of those three features with satellite navigation system and Bluetooth™* mobile phone compatibility (satellite navigation units come with four-disc CD changer).
*Bluetooth™ will only operate with telephones enabled with compatible Bluetooth™ wireless technology [HFP (Hands Free Profile) v1.0]. Bluetooth™ is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
Toyota's 241kW TRD Aurion performance sedan is aimed at the car enthusiast. Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said enthusiasts would be attracted by TRD Aurion's premium styling and engineering package. Mr Buttner said the target market was primarily men aged 35 to 50 who love sport and love their cars.
"They are prepared to pay a little bit more for a performance vehicle that offers excitement as well as traditional Toyota values," he said. "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 said TRD Aurion would compete on refinement, response and performance with models from Europe and Japan that retail from $50,000 to $60,000. "This is where the growth has occurred in the performance-enhanced market over the past 10 years," he said. Mr Buttner said TRD Aurion was also an alternative to the locally produced specialist 'muscle cars' with their V8 engines and price tags of over $60,000.
"We are targeting a sophisticated market with a high-quality product that balances performance, handling and technology," he said. "TRD Aurion fits naturally into the Toyota line-up as a step up in style, handling and performance from our existing Aurion Sportivo range. It matches the size of the locally produced sports sedans that are priced above it - and it exceeds the performance of the imported rivals. It offers individual character and enhanced performance, refinement and handling, as well as the outstanding integrity offered by all Toyota vehicles. There is a significant market among people who want the combination of power and performance as well as fuel efficiency and control. TRD Aurion is the car for them."
The market for performance-enhanced vehicles has almost doubled in the past 10 years, and most of the growth has come from imports. Based on figures from industry statistician VFACTS, Toyota estimates Australians bought 11,000 enhanced vehicles in 1997 - almost 5000 from Ford and Holden. Others included Subaru's WRX and Mitsubishi's Evo range as well as a growing number of European cars including BMW's M-series, Mercedes-Benz's AMG and some early Audi S models.
Since then, the annual sports-enhanced market has expanded to about 21,000 vehicles - and it continues to grow. During that time, the combined growth for Ford and Holden has been limited to about 20 per cent in a total segment that has grown 100 per cent. Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said TRD was not aiming for the true-blue tribalists who buy the traditional, locally produced performance sedans.
"The tribalists will not contemplate another brand as they aspire to own the latest version of the car their fathers drove," Mr Buttner said. "TRD models are for people who appreciate fine performance and nuance. They make a statement without being overt and they deliver owner and driver satisfaction without stress."
TRD customers will be more passionate about their vehicles than the average motorist. They are also likely to be younger, better educated and wealthier. More than 60 per cent are expected to have a bachelor degree or higher. They are likely to be high-income earners with an average yearly income of $105,000. More than one-quarter will be earning above $125,000 a year. The typical TRD consumer is likely to be male, but almost one in six will be female. The average age of people likely to buy the TRD Aurion is 37, with close to four out of five potential TRD consumers likely to be under 46. In line with population distribution, almost 70 per cent will be likely to live in east-coast capital cities with one-third living in Sydney. Nearly one-third are likely to be single and more than half will not have children in their household.
Toyota expects to add more passion and excitement to its brand image in Australia with the launch of the TRD brand of performance-enhanced vehicles. "The TRD brand is going to be worth far more than the immediate sales it generates," Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said. "The TRD brand will enhance the Toyota brand by adding more style, performance, excitement and the ability to turn heads. As well as bringing new customers on board, TRD will be the pinnacle brand that will attract younger buyers to Toyota and engender greater brand loyalty."
Mr Buttner said this was the first time in the world TRD had been established as a separate vehicle brand under Toyota. "Market research has demonstrated the potential of the TRD brand with its awareness in the target market already matching that of Subaru's STi and Mercedes-Benz's AMG," he said. "The great performance of our TRD rally team, with Simon Evans winning the drivers' championship last year and combining with Neal Bates to win the manufacturers' cup, has contributed measurably to TRD brand awareness in Australia. The high recognition of the TRD brand - even before the first TRD product was launched in Australia - demonstrates the importance of having a strong motorsport heritage, which Toyota has built up over the past 50 years."
Mr Buttner said TRD would develop a range of vehicles, not just variations based on one locally produced car. "As we invest in and develop TRD, there is no limitation to the donor vehicles available for our expansion," he said.
The second model to be introduced late this year will be TRD HiLux. Based on a 4WD Double Cab, it will feature a supercharged 4.0-litre V6 engine that will lift power substantially over the standard engine's 175kW. A feasibility study is underway on a third model. TRD vehicles are designed by Toyota Style Australia, headed by Paul Beranger. TRD vehicles will have the same new vehicle warranty backing as other Toyota vehicles.
TRD Aurion has a stylish range of Toyota Genuine Accessories designed to enhance and protect its sporty appearance. All Toyota Genuine Accessories are researched, developed and tested to comply with Toyota's exacting standards for safety, durability and quality. The range of protective accessories for TRD Aurion helps to maintain the appearance of the panel and paintwork to maximise potential resale value.
Matthew Callachor, divisional manager of Toyota's Customer Service Division, said TRD Aurion's headlamp covers and bonnet protectors were an example of form and function combined. "The Toyota Genuine Headlamp Covers and Bonnet Protectors have been carefully tailored to fit the shape of the vehicle," Mr Callachor said. "They have been designed for a secure fit, and are easy to remove for thorough cleaning. The headlamp covers have sparkling clarity and the strong acrylic is resistant to scratching and ultraviolet light."
The Toyota Genuine Bonnet Protector will help to prevent the leading edge of TRD Aurion's bonnet becoming damaged from stones kicked up off the road. The rear scuff guard has a useful extended bumper overhang to help protect the rear bumper from everyday knocks and scrapes that can result from lifting luggage in and out of the boot. The high-sided Toyota Genuine Boot Liner, moulded from flexible and durable polyethylene, helps to keep the boot interior in great condition by protecting the boot floor from spills and other cargo damage. The Boot Liner features a non-slip raised pattern to reduce cargo movement during transportation. Front and rear Slimline Weathershields allow both driver and passengers to open their windows slightly while remaining protected from the elements.
TRD Aurion owners can maintain the optimal performance level with a new fixed-price service plan offered with the vehicle. The Toyota Advantage Service Plan offers up to four standard scheduled services for just $120 each at authorised TRD Service Departments. The new TRD Aurion offer is available for the first four services within the first three years or 60,000 kilometres of driving, whichever occurs first.* Toyota Australia's recommended service interval for TRD Aurion is 15,000km.
"The Advantage Service Plan is an extra benefit for TRD Aurion owners, saving them money and providing clarity on the total costs they can expect to pay during the TRD Aurion warranty period for standard scheduled servicing," Mr Callachor said. "The Toyota Advantage Service Plan gives customers increased access to our specialised technicians at an extremely competitive price," he said.
All Toyota Genuine Accessories purchased and fitted to a Toyota are warranted for the remainder of the New Vehicle Warranty or 12 months, whichever is greater. Toyota Genuine Accessories purchased from an authorised Toyota Dealer over the counter are warranted from the date of purchase for one year (unlimited kilometres). Conditions apply. All warranties are additional to the implied warranties under the Trade Practices Act 1974.
*Standard scheduled services eligible under the Toyota Advantage Service Plan are as per 'maintenance for normal operating conditions' outlined in the Warranty and Service Handbook's service schedule. Toyota Advantage Service Plan eligibility excludes government and rental vehicles and certain other exclusions apply. Terms and conditions apply.
Toyota will sell its range of TRD vehicles through a specialised network of TRD dealers. TRD dealers will be situated within established Toyota dealerships that are located close to target customers and will be mostly in metropolitan areas. Each of these chosen TRD dealers will have dedicated zones within their dealership set aside to showcase the TRD range. These special areas will be staffed by personnel who have been trained in customer service for the TRD brand. TRD zones will be dressed in the TRD livery and set up to best showcase style and performance aspects. Twenty-six TRD dealers have been appointed across Australia as part of the initial launch. Later in 2007 a further 15 dealers will be added, including a number of regional dealers.
John Forbes, general manager of Brighton Toyota in Melbourne, said that his company was well underway with preparations for the launch of the TRD brand at his dealership. "We have already nominated our team of seven, which includes service specialists, parts and technical people as well as sales and management staff," Mr Forbes said. "This will not just be a car on a stand. We have themed the showroom and offices. We have even set aside and themed a special service bay for TRD vehicles which is clearly visible to customers."
Special training is underway for staff at Brighton Toyota and the company is gearing up for its own launch, first to its personnel and then a launch to its target audience of special customers, existing customers and new customers. "We will do a range of targeted marketing through a variety of media," Mr Forbes said. "We will address the specialist media as well as our traditional media. We are confident that the TRD brand will represent a large part of our business in years to come."
Behind production of the TRD Aurion are more than 200 Australian-based manufacturing companies. Some of these companies are very well known like PBR, Bridgestone, Harrop Engineering and Tenneco. Others are less widely known like Cebco, APV and Total Tooling. Each of these companies has played a significant role in not only manufacturing the TRD Aurion, but also in providing jobs in the Australian automotive component manufacturing area. Toyota sought to source components locally as far as possible. Many companies working with the TRD Aurion project are first-time suppliers to Toyota.
The companies that have won contracts on TRD Aurion are some of the best in Australia and maintain the high standards of quality and supply that Toyota actively upholds.
APV: VVT-i pipe
Toyota and APV have a long-standing business relationship and have worked together for more than 20 years. "Our strong relationship with Toyota is due to the high-quality expectations and close partnership approach that Toyota brings to many Australian suppliers like APV," said APV general manager Charles Spanti. "They have a refreshing approach. The Toyota way helps to instil loyalty and respect for their brand in our staff as well."
APV supplies a number of parts for the TRD Aurion including the VVT-i engine supercharger pipe for engine oil, as well as suspension arms and the fuel filler pipe supplied to the existing Aurion.
Cebco Brakes: front and rear brake hoses
"PBR referred us to Toyota," said Cebco Brakes managing director John Margheriti. "We're a brand new supplier to Toyota." Cebco Brakes is an affiliated company of BrakeQuip Australia, one of Australia's leading suppliers of components for the manufacture of brake hoses.
"I've spent all my life in the brake business and it's all we do at Cebco/Brakequip - we are specialists in this field," explained Mr Margheriti. "Our quality systems were already in place. We didn't have to do anything different to supply to Toyota, except of course to assist in the development of the new design hose end fittings for the TRD Aurion."
Bridgestone TG Australia: steering wheel
Bridgestone, a long-time supplier of steering wheels and other components to Toyota in Australia, was approached to do a special wheel for the TRD Aurion. "We looked at the project and were very willing and excited to be part of it," said Bridgestone TG Australia account manager Mark Campbell. "We were given sketches and concepts, then asked to provide prototypes as well as sample wheels. These were studied by Toyota's styling department, and when they were fully approved we immediately went into production."
TRD Aurion's special exhaust system was designed by Tenneco in South Australia, based on TRD's desired sound profile and tailpipe shape. Tenneco then developed the muffler internals to achieve the characteristic sound, while maintaining compliance to noise requirements. Most of the exhaust system is made locally in Tenneco's Adelaide manufacturing facility, with Tenneco incorporating the catalytic converter supplied by Toyota into the exhaust system, as well as the muffler. The two companies have worked together since the early 1990s.
Total Tooling: exhaust facia and exhaust brackets
Total Tooling Co is a metal stamping and specialised niche product engineering company that has been supplying similar products to Toyota prior to TRD Aurion. Toyota approached the company to supply brackets for the exhaust system, but more importantly to also engineer and manufacture the stainless-steel exhaust facia for the two tailpipes. "Our team of engineers and designers worked in conjunction with TRD to develop a cost effective, stylish component which complements the Aurion vehicle. It's a unique exhaust facia - we haven't seen this type of design before in Australia," said Total Tooling commercial manager Noel Babic. "Toyota had the concept and came to us, and we engineered and developed the process required to support the ongoing production. It has a very intricate shape and is moulded to fit within the bumper, meeting the styling expectations proposed by the TRD engineers."
Australian suppliers include:
|3M Australia Ltd||Labels, decals and badges|
|Acument||Rivet and nutsert|
|APV Automotive Components Pty Ltd||Metal tubing VVT-i pipe|
|BrakeQuip Australia CEBCO||Brake hoses|
|Bridgestone TG Australia Pty Ltd||Steering wheel|
|Columbia Consolidated Industries||Engine cover|
|DataDot Technology Australia Pty Ltd||Vehicle ID marking|
|Denso International Australia||Fuel injectors and oil cooler|
|Harrop Engineering Australia Pty Ltd||Supercharger|
|Luna Nameplate Industries Pty Ltd||Badges|
|McPhersons Printing Group||Owner's manual|
|MtM Pty Ltd||Gear knob|
|Ozpress Pty Ltd||Metal pressings|
|PBR Automotive Pty Ltd||Brakes|
|Quest Industries Ltd||Bumpers and Exterior mouldings|
|ROH Wheels Australia||Wheels|
|Socobel OEM Pty Ltd||IP spears|
|St John National Business Centre||Owner's manual cover|
|Tenneco Automotive - Walker Australia||Exhaust|
|Total Tooling Co Pty Ltd||Exhaust extensions and brackets|
|Toyota Boshoku Pty Ltd||Seats and door trims|
|Toyota Tsusho (Australasia) Pty Ltd||Wheels, wheel ornaments, shock absorbers and springs|
|Venture DMG Pty Ltd||IP spears|
|Visscher Caravelle Australia Pty Ltd||Floor mats|
New TRD Aurion has a supercharged engine for the best balance of performance, driveability and economy. TRD chose supercharging over turbocharging for the new performance Aurion to optimise throttle response and torque. It is the first original equipment (OE) application in the world for the new four-lobe Eaton TVS (Twin Vortices Series) supercharger.
TRD Aurion's supercharged 3.5-litre dual-VVT-i Quad Cam 2GR-FE V6 engine delivers 241kW of power at 6400rpm and 400Nm of torque at 4000rpm, on 98-octane premium unleaded petrol. The supercharged engine has more than 300Nm of torque available from 1250rpm through to redline. It is matched to an intelligent six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift. The supercharged engine gives TRD Aurion 0-100km/h acceleration of 6.1 seconds and standing 400m acceleration of 14.2 seconds. The vehicle has been tested for fuel economy to the ADR81/01 standard, returning 10.9 litres/100km* on the combined cycle.
TRD Aurion has been developed and tested to meet Toyota original equipment quality, durability and reliability (QDR) standards. It has been subjected to testing in extreme heat and cold, as well as a 100-hour dynamometer maximum load test and 10,000km V-max test.
*Fuel consumption will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR81/01 combined cycle.
New TRD Aurion is Toyota's first supercharged model in Australia. TRD chose supercharging over turbocharging to achieve instantaneous engine response and impressive low-down torque. At just 1800rpm, the supercharged TRD Aurion engine matches the 336Nm peak torque of the naturally aspirated Aurion engine. TRD Aurion's Eaton TVS supercharger is driven by a V-belt, off the engine's crankshaft.
According to a Toyota Australia survey conducted in 2001 using vehicles with data loggers, Australian driving preferences are unique. Australian drivers want instantaneous response and low-down torque - to accelerate briskly to the speed limit like Americans. But they also want to brake late into corners and maintain corner speed, like European drivers.
TRD worked with leading Melbourne-based motorsport engineering company Harrop Engineering Australia on supercharger development. Harrop is one of only two Eaton agents worldwide. Its applications engineering role in the TRD Aurion engine development included supercharger selection, design and casting of the supercharger casing and inlet manifold, and design of the drive-belt pulleys. It also carried out the finite element analysis for stress in the engine and airflow analysis. TRD's guidelines in the supercharged engine development included retaining the original equipment Aurion fuel rail and minimising the number of unique service tools.
TRD Aurion is the first OE vehicle to feature Eaton's new-generation four-lobe supercharger technology. It has the new Eaton TVS (Twin Vortices System) supercharger. The new four-lobe rotor Eaton TVS design offers significant advantages over three-lobe supercharger designs. Its key benefit is greater thermal efficiency, which results in a lower inlet manifold temperature, improved charge density and increased performance.
Other benefits include a higher pressure ratio, increased airflow capacity for the same supercharger package size, increased operating range (rpm), higher efficiency and quieter operation, improved fuel economy at cruising speeds and instantaneous boost response. The four lobes have 160 degrees of twist over their length, compared with 60 degrees in Eaton's current three-lobe supercharger designs. The large lobe twist allows for a larger inlet port, improved airflow and a larger useable outlet port area. The supercharger installation in TRD Aurion includes a specially developed sports muffler, with a 15 per cent reduction in back pressure compared with the OE Aurion muffler. The muffler has been tuned for a sporty note while maintaining acceptable drive-by noise levels. Development of the supercharged 2GR-FE engine has resulted in a unique engine calibration. It is Toyota Australia's first in-house engine calibration.
TRD Aurion has adopted a TRD-specific brake system for increased performance, better feel and a high degree of modulation. TRD engineers developed the system in Australia with supplier PBR. The TRD Aurion brake system includes new disc rotors front and rear, new aluminium calipers front and rear, and performance friction material. TRD Aurion has 325mm by 32mm ventilated front discs with twin-piston aluminium calipers. The Aurion Sportivo has 296mm by 28mm ventilated front discs and single-piston cast-iron calipers.
At the rear, TRD Aurion has 310mm by 18mm ventilated discs and single-piston aluminium calipers, replacing 286mm by 10mm solid discs and cast-iron calipers on the Sportivo. Ferodo HP 1000 performance pads are used front and rear on TRD Aurion.
New TRD Aurion has a unique Australian-developed suspension package, designed to deliver a dynamic, rewarding and high-quality driving experience. It is based on the TRD suspension philosophy of matching spring and damper performance to provide increased control, agility and response while delivering a high-quality sports ride. The suspension calibration is based on ensuring all the suspension elements work towards the focus of control. TRD Aurion has increased spring rates front and rear, compared with donor Aurion Sportivo. The front spring rate has been increased by 11 per cent and the rear spring rate by 10.5 per cent. Ride height has been reduced on average by 12mm.
The dampers have TRD-specific damping force curves, with increased front rebound damping, and increased rear damper force in both bound and rebound. The new damper curves improve body control while also making improvements in ride quality and the feeling of quality and solidarity. The stabiliser bars are as per Sportivo: 25mm diameter front and 16mm diameter rear.
However, TRD Aurion also has the body control benefit of TRD-specific tuning for the internal rebound spring in the rear damper units. The revised tuning means the internal rebound spring has less free travel and a retuned rate to invoke earlier and more frequent engagement, which improves body control without compromising ride. The TRD Aurion rebound spring assists the damper units to better control vehicle roll, steering response and overall dynamic balance during handling manoeuvres. The final calibration balances ride quality with damping force specification.
In addition to its new suspension calibration, TRD Aurion has new wheel alignment specifications front and rear. It has increased negative camber for improved yaw response and agility. Front toe-in has been increased for improved steering feel and response. The rear suspension has neutral rear toe, to improve initial turn-in, nimbleness and responsiveness.
The high-grade TRD Aurion 3500SL has a stiffer rear bumper reinforcement than 3500S to increase steering rigidity on centre, reduce impact shake and reduce audible impact frequency. This results in a feeling of higher quality, with a European taut body feel and a tighter dynamic experience. The reinforcement is an extruded aluminium member that replaces the standard pressed steel bumper cross-member.
TRD Aurion's wheel and brake designs also contribute to the vehicle's dynamic performance. The 19x8-inch aluminium alloy wheels are designed to improve brake ventilation and vehicle dynamics, while preserving impact resilience. The tyres are 245/35ZR19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx for high stiffness and optimum response and control.
The SP Sport Maxx is Dunlop's number one performance tyre. These ultra-high-performance, low-profile tyres were chosen for maximum dry grip and wet-weather performance. Advanced compounds, multi-radius tread design, construction and tread-pattern design ensure maximum wet and dry handling, sharp dynamic response and low tyre noise.
TRD Aurion's new brake package with aluminium calipers provides increased braking power without any penalty in unsprung weight (and no increase on the force needed to control the wheel when it strikes a bump).
The suspension and brake package for new TRD Aurion was developed in Australia. The suspension development program followed five steps, using a combination of race circuit and public road evaluation and testing. The two steps in the suspension tuning were spring tuning (in two stages) and damper tuning (in three stages). The next three steps were tyre testing and selection, performance measurements, and development testing and certification.
Testing venues included Winton and Broadford race circuits in central Victoria, as well as a variety of country and suburban roads. The final suspension calibration includes a unique TRD Aurion front and rear wheel alignment setting, and the adoption of a stiffer rear bumper reinforcement on the 3500SL model.
TRD Aurion brake development was conducted with supplier PBR. PBR's predictive analysis and simulation tools provided the baseline for the brake package development. The sophisticated PBR development software provides information on brake temperatures after a single stop from 250km/h and 20 stops from 160km/h, based on various brake hardware combinations.
The variables are piston configuration, pad friction coefficient and rotor diameter - for both the front and rear brakes. TRD engineers therefore had a starting point for on-track and on-road brake testing. The brake package selected has 325mm front ventilated discs with twin 40.5mm piston aluminium calipers, and 310mm ventilated rear discs with single 40.5mm piston aluminium calipers.
TRD Aurion has been subjected to the same tough quality, durability and reliability (QDR) standards as Toyota's volume-production model. The first supercharged vehicle Toyota has offered in Australia has been subjected to testing in extreme heat and cold, as well as a 100-hour maximum power dynamometer test and 10,000km maximum speed test.
In addition, TRD conducted a 100,000km extreme reliability test, using Melbourne as a base. In November 2006 the engine was durability tested at the Orbital Engine Co in Perth. The TRD test standard is a 100-hour test at 6400rpm at full throttle and full load - a severe test of an engine. No major issues were detected and a post-test metrology inspection revealed the engine was in near-new condition.
The cold-weather testing at Toyota's Shibetsu proving ground in January 2007 included testing the vehicle's driveability and ability to start in freezing conditions. Its cold cranking time was half the maximum allowable by TMC test standards. The TRD Aurion also passed a hillclimb test - where the vehicle has to complete a standing-start hillclimb on an eight per cent incline on ice. The TMC test driver ranked TRD Aurion the best sports conversion product to date for cold-weather driveability.
Hot weather testing was conducted near Alice Springs. The test vehicle was driven from Melbourne to Alice Springs and based there for a week during March 2007. It completed a hot hillclimb/towing test at 43 degrees ambient temperature, as well as cooling performance tests and engine calibration tuning for high load/high temperature.
Final QDR testing on TRD Aurion also included a 10,000km V-max (maximum speed) test in Japan, as well as altitude and towing confirmation in the Victorian Alps. The last series of development tests included engine calibration on a dynamometer, using a production version of the new Eaton TVS supercharger and throttle-map fine tuning. After the TRD development team completed performance testing on the vehicle, it continued with a program of monitor driving.
The 100,000km extreme reliability test took a team of drivers three months to complete, with two shifts of drivers keeping the test vehicle on the road 16 hours per day. The final engine calibration for TRD Aurion was signed off in May 2007. The TRD Aurion project represents the first time in the world that TMC has allowed access to engine control coding outside of its technical centre.
TRD engineers have endeavoured to put the biggest and widest possible tyres under the TRD Aurion's wheel arches. The key benefit is more rubber on the road, which helps improve cornering grip and braking performance. Wheels for the TRD Aurion are eight inches wide and 19 inches in diameter, compared with 17x7-inch wheels on Aurion Sportivo models. The design was inspired by the Formula One race car's ultra lightweight and incredibly strong magnesium alloy wheels.
For the 3500S, they are finished in a dark metallic shade that creates an aggressive appearance. For 3500SL, the lighter silver metallic colour creates a high-tech luxury image. Both TRD models are fitted with 245/35ZR19 Dunlop Sports Maxx tyres. This is Dunlop's premium no-compromise performance tyre, featuring advanced compounds and high stiffness for excellent response and control. The multi-radius tread design delivers maximum grip in wet or dry conditions.
In order to maximise boot space and retain a flat boot floor, TRD Aurion uses the 17-inch tyre from the Sportivo model as the spare tyre. To meet Australian Design Rules this wheel is painted yellow and has an 80km/h maximum speed warning. However TRD engineers have conducted handling and braking tests on this tyre well above this limit.
In order to successfully produce a small-volume, sophisticated car like TRD Aurion, TRD has implemented innovative production techniques to deliver the highest standard of build quality. TRD's Production Manager, Robert Nunan, said TRD Aurion had been produced using a unique 'cell' system that sees the car's final production broken down into four key areas. Each of the four production 'cells' is manned by highly experienced operators, each with a list of production tasks for which they are ultimately responsible.
The vehicle remains static within each cell, which allows the operators the time required to fit the specified parts, while maintaining Toyota's industry-leading quality, durability and reliability (QDR) standards. Broken down into two sections - mechanical and body - the car enters the first cell where standard parts are removed and the first of the TRD Aurion-specific parts are fitted. Cars are then moved to the next cell where front and rear struts and brakes are fitted, as well as TRD Aurion's 19-inch wheels. The next cell sees the fitting of the Eaton-sourced Twin Vortices System (TVS) supercharger, before TRD Aurion enters the final cell where front and rear bumpers are fitted, along with the deck-lid spoiler, TRD badges and mufflers.
After these four static steps, each TRD Aurion then undergoes a series of dynamic tests. "The TRD cell operators are responsible for a much larger section of the vehicle than the operators that work on the standard production line," Mr Nunan said. "There is a lot more operator input, which saves time and ensures our quality objectives are met. The operators really are an integral part of the whole process; they take an interest in it and have direct input in the processes."
TRD has worked closely with production partner Prodrive, a company internationally renowned for its expertise in niche automotive projects. Mr Nunan praised Prodrive's involvement, stating that, while Toyota's production experience is internationally recognised, bringing a specialist partner onboard only further enhanced the quality of TRD's cars. "The beauty of Prodrive was its capabilities and experience in niche projects," he said. "They are specialists in building a handful of cars a day rather than hundreds."
Although the TRD Aurion is a niche vehicle for Toyota Australia, TRD has introduced quality assurance checks to exceed Toyota's already high levels of Quality, Durability and Reliability. TRD Production Manager Robert Nunan said the minimum quality target for the TRD Aurion is to match the quality level of standard Aurion, but added the aim of the TRD project was to better it. TRD Aurion has undergone rigorous testing prior to launch, most notably in the heat of central Australia, throughout the Victorian Alps and on various race tracks. The demanding testing schedule undertaken by the TRD engineers has ensured the car is well-suited to Australia's diverse driving conditions. Final production quality checks for TRD Aurion are broken into static and dynamic quality checks.
During the production phase, 'cell' operators are responsible for the finish quality of every part fitted in their cell and must sign-off on all processes before the car moves to the next cell. After a car has passed through the four production cells it is dynamically tested, a process that includes a drive that takes in NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) testing, including suspension and steering checks.
"Basically we test the vehicle's key dynamics," said Mr Nunan. "After the dynamic testing, the wheels are aligned and the car is Data Dotted and ready for delivery to the showroom."
Mr Nunan said using cell production gives TRD greater control over quality because the operators building the vehicle become very knowledgeable about their particular sections. He said the operators were thoroughly trained in the Toyota Production System with assistance from the Quality Control department at the Altona manufacturing plant.
"TRD had also implemented a number of systems the Altona plant uses for areas including problem detection, analysis and countermeasure," Mr Nunan said. "The TRD Aurion production team also has a meeting at the end of each day where we discuss processes and any issues that might arise so we can implement measures to improve production."
Mr Nunan said the TRD Aurion production process had provided invaluable experience towards the production of future TRD models.
Every TRD Aurion will be individually numbered, with the build number recorded on a plaque near the HVAC controls. The build number will be repeated on a second plaque inside the engine bay. The contemporary brushed metal number plaque on the HVAC panel is part of an exclusive branding package for TRD Aurion. Both identification plaques have red TRD branding and read 'TRD Aurion Series One', followed by a four-digit number. The TRD Aurion branding package also includes the 'R'-pattern mesh radiator grille, a TRD logo on the licence plate plinth, brushed metal TRD door scuff plates and TRD floor mats, and a TRD badge on the rear.
In addition, TRD Aurion has a leather embossed TRD logo on the steering wheel and the seat back, and R in the Alcantara highlights. The 3500SL model has a TRD logo on its Smart Start button and the gearshift lever. The exterior model-grade identification uses two finish treatments. The 3500S model has dark chrome pewter badges to enhance its tough exterior image, while the 3500SL has bright chrome pewter badges to confirm its prestigious exterior image.
New TRD Aurion has an exclusive body kit and exterior features. There are different exterior themes for the two TRD Aurion model grades. The 3500S theme is 'aggressive sports' while the 3500SL has a 'refined sports' theme. Both models have specially designed 19x8-inch aluminium alloy wheels, with seven pairs of spokes and a full centre cap to cover the wheel nuts. The new wheels are designed to provide performance styling as well as improve brake ventilation and vehicle dynamics, while maintaining impact resilience. The tyres are 245/35ZR19 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx.
TRD Aurion has a unique black grille mesh, with the 'R' from the TRD logo integrated into the design to give a textured and imposing image. The unique TRD Aurion body kit consists of a sports front bumper, sports rear bumper, two-element rear spoiler and side skirts. The front bumper has blade-like supports carrying the floating grille surround, to give the vehicle a Formula One look. The front splitter has protector ribs on its underside to protect the front edge of the splitter in tight approach angle situations. The licence plate plinth has a TRD logo.
The rear bumper has an F1 diffuser style and has provision for fitting a towbar. The dual exhausts exit through the special apertures integrated into the bumper design. The exhaust diffuser tips are made from stainless steel to create the impression of industrial strength and quality. TRD Aurion's spoiler has a two-element design to enhance both visual appeal and aerodynamic performance.
The side skirt design was deliberately understated to carry on the F1 transitional surfacing theme and so as not to draw attention away from the wheel and brake package. TRD Aurion has exterior badging for TRD, Aurion and grade name.
TRD Aurion has a range of exterior grade differentiation features. The 3500S model has black metallic front and rear bumper inserts and a body-coloured grille surround to create an aggressive sporty image. The black accents are satin gloss with coarse metallic flakes. The body-colour grille surround is designed to create a visually smaller, sportier grille opening and draw emphasis further down from the bumper facia. The 3500S model's wheels are dark metallic painted to create a high-tech aggressive feel. The 3500S is offered in four exterior colours: Ink, Wildfire, Silver Ash and Diamond White. It has one interior colour: Dark Red.
Exterior differentiation for 3500SL includes its subtle differences on the bumpers. The 3500SL wheels have bright silver metallic paint, to create a high-tech luxury feel. The 3500SL has a mid-grey accented grille surround to create a larger, more imposing grille opening and reinforce a sports luxury image. The bumper accents are also mid-grey (satin gloss with fine metallic flakes) - for a refined, sporty image. TRD Aurion 3500SL is offered in just two exterior colours: Ink and Silver Ash, to preserve a feeling of exclusivity. It has a Plum interior.
New TRD Aurion has a unique interior with subtly different themes for the two model grades. The 3500S model has an 'extrovert sporty' theme with a racy flavour, while the 3500SL has a 'prestigious sporty' theme with an avant-garde flavour. The 3500S has a black and red interior, while 3500SL has black and plum as its major interior colours.
Both models have sports seats, specially coloured door trim and a special TRD steering wheel. The front seat shape is unique to TRD Aurion, for improved support and appearance. The rear seat has been changed from a three-seat arrangement to a two-plus-one arrangement. The 3500S has red leather/Alcantara seats, red leather steering wheel and red 'soft' leather-like door trims to enhance its sporty image.
Metallic silver inserts on the heater and ventilation controls, information panel and door spears create a high-tech ambience. The seat trim includes sections of embossed black Alcantara to create a quality feel and add design interest. The TRD 'R' theme is continued from the radiator grille to the interior, with an 'R' embossed on the black areas of TRD Aurion's seats. The 3500SL has plum full-leather seats with black Alcantara accents for additional grip.
The steering wheel and shift knob have plum-coloured leather accents, while the door trim is plum 'soft leather', to create a prestigious avant-garde ambience. Piano black plum accents evoke feelings of luxury on the IP and door spears. When highlighted, the plum hue sparkles, enhancing the avant-garde flavour. Embossed black Alcantara inserts also create a quality feel and add interest to the seat trim.
The HVAC controls and steering wheel accents have metallic silver sections, to heighten the high-tech feel. TRD Aurion's steering wheel graphics were designed to evoke the grip area of the Toyota Formula One steering wheel. The centre console has an individually numbered TRD Aurion plaque.
|2007 TRD Aurion major specifications|
|Description||Six cylinders, 60 degree V-formation, chain-driven DOHC with roller rockers, four valves per cylinder, all alloy, cross-flow heads, cast-iron cylinder liners|
|Bore x stroke (mm)||94.0 x 83.0|
|Fuel system||Sequential multi-point electronic port fuel injection with ACIS, hot-wire airflow meter|
|Fuel type||98 RON PULP|
|Fuel tank capacity (L)||70|
|Fuel economy (L/100km)*||10.9|
|Carbon dioxide (g/km)||257|
|Emission rating||Euro IV|
|Max. power||241kW @ 6400rpm|
|Max. torque||400Nm @ 4000rpm|
|Transmission description||Six-speed automatic, electronically controlled with lock-up torque converter and art ificial intelligence shift control|
|Gear ratios - 1st||3.300:1|
|Final drive ratio||3.685:1|
|Type||Rack and pinion|
|Turns lock to lock||3.2|
|Front brakes||Ventilated discs, 325mm x 32mm|
|Rear brakes||Ventilated discs, 310mm x 18mm|
|Rear calipers||Single piston|
|ABS anti-skid brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist||Std.|
|Vehicle Stability Control||Std.|
|Front||TRD unique sports suspension with increased coil spring rates and re-tuned shock absorbers, ball-joint-mounted anti-roll bar|
|Rear||TRD unique sports suspension with increased coil spring rates and re-tuned shock absorbers incorporating internal rebound springs, ball-joint-mounted anti-roll bar|
|Rims||19 x 8J alloys|
|Type||Monocoque, four-door sedan|
|Front track (mm)||1572|
|Rear track (mm)||1562|
|Ground clearance (mm)||104|
|Towing capacity with trailer brakes (kg)**||1600|
|Towing capacity without trailer brakes (kg)**||500|
|Seating capacity (incl. driver)||5|
|Luggage capacity (L)||504|
*Fuel consumption will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR81/01 combined cycle.
**Towing capacity subject to State regulations, towbar design and towing equipment.