2010 Toyota Mark X - Click above for high-res image gallery
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...