Remember back when Toyota actually offered rear-wheel drive cars? Sure, a production version of the FT-86 concept is on the way, and yes, you can get a Toyota-branded truck or plump for a Lexus that routes its power out back – but when was the last time Americans could get a proper rear-driver from the Japanese automaker? It had to be back in 2005 when the third-generation MR2 petered out. And for something with four doors? Let's just say it's been a lot longer.
For Japan's Toyota faithful, however, the rear-drive picture has stayed altogether brighter. Since 2004, the brand has offered the Mark X, a sedan that has shared much of its architecture with the Lexus GS and IS – including its rear- and all-wheel drive configurations. For 2010, the Mark X has come in for a freshening, and the conservatively handsome model has us wishing that Toyota would reconsider offering the model Stateside more than ever.
Sadly, we can't get too excited just yet, because Toyota isn't exactly coughing up all of the key dynamic details. Oh, we know that the second-generation Mark X will be available with either a 2.5-liter or a 3.5-liter V6 paired to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. But Toyota isn't talking much in the way of power or performance metrics, although it does admit that the smaller-engined model will still hit 62 mph in 8.4 seconds.
Further changes beneath the reworked skin include a tweaked suspension with lower-friction parts and beefed-up locating arms. An optional "sports type model" also adds a computer-controlled suspension, different power delivery settings (Sport, Snow, and Eco modes), paddle shifters, as well as variable-ratio electric power steering – a feature we don't normally associate with this class of vehicle. Did we mention the tinted head- and tail-lamps for added sports aggression?
Of course, it wouldn't be a JDM press introduction without some suitably improbable press release verbiage, and the Mark X doesn't disappoint. Toyota's design theme for the new model is "glam tech" which duals "the visual glamour conveyed by the vehicle with the 'high-tech' expression of its modern and precise feel." Not ambitious enough? The lux-oriented "Premium type" model features "refined velour-moquette seat covers... treated with mite-suppressing agent that also prevents static electricity."
"Mite-suppressing agent?" Toyota, even after all these years, you still know the way to our hearts...
Related GalleryTokyo 2009: 2010 Toyota Mark X
Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.
Toyota Launches Redesigned 'Mark X'
Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announces the launch in Japan today of the redesigned "Mark X", which furthers the series' "sporty and luxurious" concept by offering enhanced quality in an authentic rear-wheel-drive sedan.
The Mark X features a dynamic low center of gravity that is combined with powerful driving performance made possible by a new 3.5-liter V6 engine. The style and driving performance of this upscale vehicle are in tune with adult sensibilities, delivering in-touch-with-the-road steering that responds instantaneously to the driver's every wish, stability at high speeds and a smooth comfortable ride.
In addition, the vehicle's environmental performance is at the top of its class1. The fuel efficiency of the Relax Selection two-wheel drive models exceeds the 2010 standards by 15%, qualifying them for incentives and subsidies under the Japanese government's taxation system for environmentally considerate vehicles.
The new Marx X, starting at an appealing 2.38 million yen, comes in a diverse lineup-standard type, sports type and premium type-to allow drivers to show their individuality.
(Products described in this press release and in any attachments are for the Japanese market.
Some descriptions apply to select model-grades/versions only.)
Monthly sales target for Japan: 3,000 units
Assembly Plant: Motomachi Plant, Toyota Motor Corporation
Rear-wheel drive package offers dynamic styling and exciting cruising
The design concept behind the Marx X is "glam tech"-combining the visual "glamour" conveyed by the vehicle with the "high-tech" expression of its modern and precise feel. The result is subtle contrast as well as a dynamic and stylish form.
The vehicle's silhouette is smooth and elegant, with expansive front and rear pillars to emphasize integration with the underbody.
The 1,435 mm height and 20 mm expansion for both width and track give the vehicle a low center of gravity.
Rear-wheel drive allows a front-and-rear weight distribution ratio of 54:46 for stable driving.
The bumper's wide opening and deep-set fog lights emphasize the face's low center of gravity and wide stance, while the three-lamp linear layout of the headlights and a mesh grille enhance the sense of vitality.
The combination taillights also have a three-lamp linear layout, while lights built into the lid of the trunk serve as a statement of class.
Six refined body colors are available, including the new Ice Titanium Mica Metallic.
The interior is sporty and dynamic, combining quality and precision that evokes a feeling of driving pleasure.
The leather-covered steering wheel's thicker ergonomic grip and a leather-booted gearshift add to the sporty feel.
The angles of the seat cushion and sides of the front seats have been optimized for superior hold. The driver's seat also features a switch-operated motorized lumbar support function that shifts the seatback forward or back to improve back comfort during driving.
The shoulder portion of the door trim for the front and rear seats has been pushed outward by 25 mm (total for left and right), while the distance between the front seats has been increased by 20 mm, resulting in a roomier interior.
Sports type (250G S package, 250G S package Relax Selection, 350S)
* Sporty feel enhanced through tinting of headlights and combination taillights and through spoilers on front and rear bumpers and trunk lid
* Interior features modern and robust black theme
* Paddle shifter gives feel of manual transmission
Premium type (Premium, Premium L package)
* Special plating on front grille, rocker moldings and front bumper enhance upscale image
* Steering wheel and shift knob ornamentation boast wood-grain finish
* Heated front seats effectively warm shoulders, lower back and legs
* Power Easy Access System slides driver's seat back and tilts steering wheel upward and forward, increasing ease of ingress and egress
* Refined velour-moquette seat covers are treated with mite-suppressing agent that also prevents static electricity, adding to passenger comfort
Sporty cruising performance and high-quality, comfortable ride
The new 3.5-liter V6 engine is paired with a 6 Super ECT with a driving response and acceleration management system to provide the ample and comfortable cruising characteristic of a full-scale rear-wheel drive sedan.
The 2.5-liter V6 engine (two-wheel drive) models offer outstanding acceleration, going from zero to 100km/h in just 8.4 seconds.
Reduced friction resistance in the suspension and higher arm rigidity enhance maneuverability and provide in-touch-with-the-road steering and a smooth, comfortable ride. The sports type models are equipped with Adaptive Variable Suspension, which combines mono-tube shock absorbers and computer control of damping force, delivering an exceptional ride, superior handling and stable cruising performance.
Depending on the driving conditions, the driver can-at the flick of a switch-choose between the Sport, Snow and Eco driving modes to optimally control drive force.
The newly adopted Variable Gear Ratio Steering system, which controls the angle of the front wheels according to vehicle speed to improve steering performance, is coupled with optimized electric power steering, resulting in outstanding handling.
Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management coordinates the drive power, steering and brakes to ensure excellent stability and improve preventive safety.
Expanded use of vibration-dampening materials limits noise penetration, resulting in a quiet and comfortable cabin.
Improved safety features
Outstanding safety performance is achieved by equipping all vehicle models with seven airbags, including SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) side airbags, SRS curtain shield airbags, and a driver's seat knee airbag; VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) to control skidding; TRC (Traction Control) to minimize wheel spin when accelerating; and Active Headrests up front to reduce stress on the neck in a rear-end collision.
The vehicle's Pre-Crash Safety System uses millimeter-wave radar to detect potential collisions and alerts the driver through a warning buzzer and display. In line with the possibility of collision, the Pre-Crash Brake Assist system, Pre-Crash Brake system and Pre-Crash Seatbelts minimize collision damage to achieve a higher level of safety.
When cornering with the headlights on, the Intelligent AFS (Adaptive Front-lighting System) shifts the low beams to match the steering angle and vehicle speed, thereby enhancing visibility in the direction the vehicle is moving.
The new Radar Cruise Control system, equipped with a brake-control function, detects and monitors the preceding vehicle, maintaining a fixed distance, in line with the preceding vehicle's speed, within a preset speed range.
Hill-start Assist Control prevents the vehicle from rolling backward when switching from the brake to the accelerator during a start on a steep hill.
Comfort features enhance driving pleasure
The multi-information display, which indicates average fuel efficiency, possible cruising distance and other data, features enhanced visibility through the adoption of a high-contrast white, organic electroluminescent (EL) display.
Fully automatic independent temperature controls for the driver and passenger sides-standard on all models-feature a function to remove pollen, dust and other impurities from the air in the cabin. Meanwhile, Plasmacluster Ions®3 technology combats bacteria and creates a comfortable cabin atmosphere through the balanced release of positive and negative ions.
The 480-liter4 trunk is roomy enough to accommodate four golf bags.
An HDD navigation system (compatible with the G-BOOK mX telematics service) features multimedia and other advanced functions such as Map on Demand, which provides automatic map and information updates and door-to-door guidance that pinpoints directions to a destination.
The premium models come with a G-BOOK mX telematics service-compatible HDD navigation system with built-in terrestrial digital TV tuner and gear-shifting functions for driver support in merging and exiting and at intersections; 12 speakers optimally placed to provide sound quality comparable to a live performance.
The Intelligent Parking Assist system uses ultrasonic sensors installed in the front of the vehicle to detect parking-space parameters and help the driver parallel park or back into a parking space by informing the driver when to turn the steering wheel and where to start backing up.
Reduced environmental impact
Efforts were made to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. The 2.5-liter two-wheel-drive models have a fuel efficiency of 13.0km/l5, while the 3.5-liter two-wheel-drive models have one of 10.2km/l5, thus placing both at the top of their vehicle classes1.
All vehicles in the series achieve emission levels 75% lower than the 2005 level required under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Approval System for Low-emission Vehicles.
The Relax Selection two-wheel-drive models have fuel efficiency that exceeds by 15% the level stipulated in the Japanese 2010 standards set out under the Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy, thereby qualifying them for incentives and subsidies under the Japanese government's taxation system for environmentally friendly vehicles.
All 2.5-liter models meet the Japanese 2010 standards and qualify for subsidies.
An Eco Driving Indicator that lights up to signify fuel-efficient vehicle operation and an Eco Zone Indicator that shows throttle use-standard on all models-raise driver awareness of environmentally considerate driving.
Eco-VAS (Eco-Vehicle Assessment System)-Toyota's original comprehensive environmental impact assessment system-was implemented to efficiently reduce overall environmental impact throughout the vehicle's lifecycle.
A review of the materials, processing methods and adhesives used for interior parts helped reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, as well as the discomforting odors sometimes resulting from such materials, to levels below those outlined in the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association's "Vehicle Cabin VOC Testing Methods (for Passenger Cars)", which are the industry's voluntary standards.
The door trim and carpet are made of low-VOC materials and the front console box is made from VOC-free water-based urethane synthetic leather.
1Compared to vehicles of similar engine displacement
2Based on TMC calculations
3Registered trademark of Sharp Corporation
4Based on Verband der Automobilindustrie measuring method
5Measured using the 10-15 test cycle of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). The fuel efficiency indicated for the 2.5-liter front-wheel drive models is for the 250G model, which weighs 1,410kg.
6New-vehicle only, in conjunction with disposal of an end-of-life vehicle