Paris 2008: Toyota's new Avensis arrives

Click above for high-res gallery of the new Toyota Avensis

The Euro-only Toyota Avensis is reminiscent of the Lexus IS350 in the same way that you'd tell someone, "You kind of look like someone I know, but not really." It's the rising linear sideline, somewhat high and compact profile, and squared-off rear that do it. But that's from a full-on side profile and around the back. Move around the front and it really just looks like a Toyota. The raked grille and molded lips in the front bumper are unexpected, as is the subtle sexiness of the wagon. Designed in France, the new Avensis grows a little over its predecessor by 5 cm in length and width. Under the hood, possibilities include three new Valvematic gasoline engines, and two diesels, while cogs can be swapped with a 6-speed manual or the dual-mode, Multidrive S automatic. Check out the exhaustive press release after the jump, and the high-res gallery of photos below.

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World premiere of the dynamic all-new Avensis

• Athletic new design – powerful and aerodynamic
• Increased power and torque, lower CO2 emissions
• Dynamic handling with superior ride comfort
• Leveraging superior quality, further enhancing safety
• Advanced equipment levels

Designed, engineered and built in Europe, the all-new Avensis makes its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show. Built on the success of the previous two models, the 3rd generation Avensis brings a new level of superior quality, dynamic handling and refined ride comfort to Toyota's European flagship.

As Takashi Yamamoto, Chief Engineer of the new Avensis, explains: "From the start, we have put a strong European mark on the project. A total of 35 engineers from Toyota Motor Europe were invited to Japan to join forces with the Toyota Motor Corporation development team. When the project team returned to Europe for finalisation, these engineers played a key role in the knowledge transfer between the two development teams. I think this is one of the key reasons why today we can look back at a highly efficient development process and be proud of our achievement, that I believe is nothing less than "Cutting Edge" of the D-segment".

The all-new Avensis will also contribute to reduce Toyota's CO2 fleet average to 140 g/km by 2009. The new 'Toyota Optimal Drive' philosophy is applied to this model through a powerful new range of petrol engines, upgraded diesel engines and new advanced transmissions offering customers reduced emissions, yet without compromising on power and driving pleasure.

Athletic new design – powerful and aerodynamic
• Powerful exterior design
• Increased interior space and comfort
• Designed at the Toyota European Design Development centre (ED²)

Conceived by ED2 – Toyota's advanced design studio in the South of France – the all-new Avensis expresses power, yet without relying on mass to do so.

21st Century car designers and engineers must resolve unprecedented challenges. New models have to satisfy customer desire for more powerful engines, but with lower emissions. They want increased interior room, yet they want more compact cars with lower fuel consumption.

And perhaps there is no greater challenge today than resolving the paradox of creating an environmentally friendly car that is both powerful and a pleasure to drive, yet does not compromise on comfort and safety.

To address all these challenges, Toyota has developed its unique design language – Vibrant Clarity – founded on what it calls the J-factor. This refers to aspects of Japanese originality and quality, which are forward-looking, ingenious and spirited. One of the ways this manifests itself is that something new is created when contradictory elements are integrated in harmony. It is also the key to answering a long-standing paradox: how to create cars that are both energised and dynamic – Vibrant – but at the same time rational and innovative - Clarity.

Applying the J-factor has enabled the resolution of three key challenges of the new Avensis design:
The new Avensis will be available in two body shapes: a sedan and a wagon. These were designed in parallel, so instead of simply stretching and raising the rear section of the sedan, the Avensis Wagon was designed specifically for its purpose, and to match the same elegant flowing lines as the sedan.

The stance of both is athletic and sleek. The bonnet has been lowered, the slim front pillar flows forward and the rear quarter pillar is slanted backward to produce a flowing, aerodynamic silhouette. Excellent aerodynamics give a Coefficient of Drag (Cd) of just 0.28 for the sedan body type and 0.29 for the wagon body, which has helped in reducing the CO2-emisson levels.

Yet the powerful looks come with a responsible footprint. Avensis is just 50 mm longer than the previous generation, giving the sedan and the wagon a length of 4,695 mm and 4,765 mm respectively. Both versions have the same 2,700 mm wheelbase and they also keep the same height as their predecessors at 1,480 mm. Thanks to the new platform, the tread has been increased by between 30 mm and 45 mm, while the width of the car has increased by 50 mm, at 1,810 mm.

Relocating the tyres towards the outside edges of the floorplan has achieved a more solid, powerful presence, without adding unnecessary weight or mass. These are some of the ways in which Toyota's J-factor design philosophy, of bringing conflicting elements into harmony, has helped to create a dynamic new D-segment flagship.
The third generation Avensis is also more spacious inside than the previous model. Although the overall height is the same as the current model, the already generous headroom is slightly increased. The cargo area in the wagon is supremely flexible, with thoughtful features like sliding cargo rails to allow for dividing and securing separate loads. Retractable smart rear seats allow flexible one-touch flat folding to create extra space in both wagon and sedan.

The new instrument panel design maximizes interior width, emphasising the car's roominess. In the wagon version the feeling of luxurious space can be further enhanced by the panoramic roof, which creates a seamless connection to the outside environment.

The interior materials express prestige and dynamism. Available in black or in a combination of grey and beige, the dashboard trim has a softly textured, grained quality. The centre console comes in different layouts ranging from black metallic paint to titanium-tinted ornamentation, depending on grade. On the high grades, the all-new Avensis' centre console features a warm graphic finish, which is inspired by Takesumi (charcoal made out of bamboo).

The instrument console has a flowing premium quality look with crisply illuminated speedometer and tacho-meter dials with chrome surrounding rings. The optitron display ensures clear legibility regardless of lighting conditions and helps to maintain your long sight vision, immediately after checking the meters.

Increased power and torque, lower class leading CO2 emissions
• 'Toyota Optimal Drive' philosophy applied to the new Avensis' engines
• New Valvematic petrol technology lowering CO2 from 10 to 26%
• Upgraded D-4D engines with CO2 level decreased by up to 10%, meeting Euro V
• New Multidrive S transmission on petrol, new 6-speed Automatic on diesel

The new 'Toyota Optimal Drive' philosophy has been introduced to the all-new Avensis engine line-up with a clear focus on minimizing impact on the environment while maximizing driving pleasure through the increase of power and torque. One of the best examples of this philosophy is the new Valvematic petrol engine line-up with emissions decreased by 10 to 26% depending on derivative, while at the same time increasing power from 3 to 20%. Toyota's new Valvematic technology helps improve fuel efficiency, power/torque, engine response and reduces CO2 emission level by simultaneously controlling the valve timing and the valve lift.

The new 1.6-litre Valvematic benefits from a brand-new 6-speed manual transmission, which provides a great improvement in shift feeling. The 1.6 Valvematic power has been increased by 20% compared to the previous 1.6 VVT-i – up to 132 DIN hp, with torque up by 10Nm to 160 Nm at 4,400 rpm. The CO2 emission level is reduced by 12% to 152 g/km* (sedan body type).

The new 1.8-litre Valvematic offers a choice of a new 6-speed manual transmission or a brand-new Multidrive S transmission, Toyota's latest continuously variable transmission technology. The 1.8 Valvematic power has been increased by 14% compared to the previous 1.8 VVT-i – up to 147 DIN hp, with torque up by 10 Nm to 180 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The CO2 emission level is down by 10% to 154 g/km* when combined with the manual transmission version and by 16% to 157 g/km* when combined with the Multidrive S transmission (sedan body type).

At the top of the petrol range is the 2.0-litre Valvematic, which also comes with either the 6-speed manual transmission or the brand-new Multidrive S transmission. Its improved performance gives 152 DIN hp, an increase of 3% compared to the 2.0 D-4, and 196 Nm torque at 4,000 rpm. The CO2 emission level is down by 15% to 163 g/km* when combined with the manual transmission version and by 26% to 164 g/km* when combined with the Multidrive S transmission (sedan body type). With these new petrol engines, the all-new Avensis delivers a top-class power to CO2 ratio. The introduction of Toyota's Multidrive S transmission is a major development in the D-segment.
Multidrive S transmission gives an incredibly smooth, refined shift, automatically optimising the torque and fuel consumption by always using the optimum engine speed. When pressuring the engine a little harder, the transmission starts to behave like a 7-speed automatic transmission. This helps to eliminate the previously negative whining sound from a continuously variable transmission. For a sportier drive, the driver has simply to switch into the Sport mode. This mode will select a more responsive and power-maximising gear ratio by "reading" the driver's behaviour. For an even more active driving feel, the transmission features a sequential manual 7-speed mode. The gear selection is either performed by the gear shift lever or, exclusively for the 2.0-litre Valvematic, through the paddles located on each side of the steering wheel.

Another example of the 'Toyota Optimal Drive' philosophy can be seen on the new Avensis diesel line-up. The three powerful and refined diesel engines on the new generation Avensis have been re-engineered to deliver more torque at lower speed leading to lower emissions,and now all meet Euro V standards. The D-4D engines have been upgraded with new piezo injectors and a higher common rail pressure at 2,000 bar. These new diesel engine technology features lead to CO2 level reduction from 2,5 to 10% depending on the powertrain compared to the outgoing model.

The 2.0-litre D-4D 125 engine, available with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), delivers power via a 6-speed manual transmission with a refined 'shift feel'. It produces 126 DIN hp and 310 Nm torque between 1,800 and 2,400 rpm. Emissions are reduced by 7% to 134 g/km* when equipped with Oxydation Catalytic Converter (CCo), and by 9% to 139 g/km* when fitted with the DPF (sedan body type).

The 2.2-litre D-4D 150 offers a well-balanced proposition of power and economy. Power output is 150 DIN hp while torque has been increased on this engine by nearly 10% to 340 Nm between 2,000 and 2,800 rpm. In addition, its wide torque range means maximum torque is available in most driving conditions, without the need for frequent gear changes.

As a Toyota first on a diesel passenger car, a brand-new 6-speed automatic transmission is offered on the 2.2 D-4D 150. It provides a fast shift response while maintaining an impressive level of comfort through eliminating harsh shift shocks. It has a Sport mode that intelligently "reads" the driver's behaviour and accordingly adjusts its gear change pattern. This new automatic transmission also offers the exhilaration of a sequential manual mode. By moving into the M-gate, the driver can change gear either by using the sequential shift of the gearshift lever or by using paddle-shifts on the steering wheel. This engine derivative is equipped with Toyota's unique emissions control technology called Toyota D-CAT, delivering a CO2 emission level below 180 g/km*. The Toyota D-CAT technology reduces Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), and particulate emissions at the same time. The technology is maintenance-free and doesn't require any component replacement.

The D-4D 150 will also be available with a 6-speed manual transmission, this combination comes with a standard DPF with CO2 emissions reduced by 6% to 147 g/km* (sedan body type).

Top of the range diesel is the 2.2 D-4D 180. The unique combination of a low compression ratio and high boost turbocharger creates remarkable power output and engine efficiency. With 177 DIN hp of power and a torque delivery of 400 Nm across a range from 2,000 to 2,800 rpm, this is among the most powerful diesel cars in the D-segment. It delivers 0-100km/h in just 8.5 seconds with a CO2 emission level of 157 g/km* (sedan body type), making it one of the least CO2 emitting high power diesels in the market today. It also features the Toyota D-CAT technology.

All Avensis models have driving indicators to help you drive more efficiently. The on-board computer features an ECO driving indicator for the 6-speed automatic and the Multidrive S transmission versions. This ECO driving indicator shows to the driver how efficient his or her driving behaviour is. On the manual versions, the new Avensis features a Gear Shift Indicator, which advises the driver on the best timing to shift up or down the gear.

Dynamic handling with superior ride comfort
• New platform adopted
• Re-engineered front and rear suspension

The new Avensis has been engineered to achieve smooth ride comfort, yet with dynamic handling to provide maximum driving pleasure.

A new platform has been adopted to provide an excellent balance between high-speed stability and agility at low speeds. To enhance driving performance, both the front McPherson strut and rear double wishbone suspension have been re-engineered with improvements to torsional stiffness and roll rigidity. Front shock absorber and rear lateral force steer specifications are also upgraded.

New large diameter wheels and large tread tyres are fitted to further enhance stability and dynamic handling. A new flush under-floor design optimises high speed stability, reduces noise and contributes to better fuel efficiency by improving aerodynamic characteristics.

These substantial changes are aimed at achieving the optimum combination of smooth, relaxed ride comfort and dynamic yet stable driving performance.

Leveraging superior quality, further enhancing safety level
• Further enhanced safety levels, engineered to reach 5-star Euro NCAP rating
• Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) level close to D-premium segment
• Built-in quality being a reference in the D-segment

Back in 2003, the previous Avensis model was the first vehicle to achieve the 5-star rating for adult occupant protection under the new and tougher Euro NCAP testing legislation in force at that time. The all-new Avensis will further build on this achievement with the aim at reaching the 5-star rating under the even more stringent Euro NCAP rating planned for 2009.

The all-new Avensis' active and passive safety levels are brought to a higher level thanks to new high-tech safety features.

In the early development phase of the new Avensis, a major requirement was to once again present a car with an advanced safety level. The new Avensis is equipped with seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, front airbags for the driver and front passenger, two front side airbags and two side curtain shield airbags front and rear. Active front seat headrests are introduced to reduce whiplash injuries in rear end collisions.

Steering assist Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+) has been newly adopted. This driving dynamics system increases the protection normally given by VSC during sudden handling changes or slippery roads, by adding a steering torque assist that counteracts yaw movement when the vehicle understeers or oversteers in reaction to an emergency. Practically this means that in an extreme situation, the driver may sense some torque movement on the steering wheel in a given direction to compensate the under- /oversteer and so can further enhance the adjustment made by the VSC itself.

Together with the optional High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-xenon headlamps, comes the Adaptive Front-light System (AFS). By measuring the speed of the vehicle and steering wheel rotation, it predicts which area in front of the vehicle it has to light and adjusts headlamps in accordance, for instance as the car corners in the dark. To compensate for heavy load at the rear of the car, it automatically lowers the angle of the beam before starting. While driving you benefit from the dynamic headlamp levelling, which means that it compensates for heavy braking and acceleration by adjusting the headlamp angle.

As standard, the new Avensis comes with emergency brake signal. This is introduced in an effort to avoid rear end collisions by automatically activating flashing brake lights during emergency braking.

A new Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system is also optionally available exclusively on the 2.2-litre D-4D 6-speed automatic transmission Premium grade to predict possible collisions and take action to reduce damage, should an impact occur while driving. It gives a warning to the driver if danger is sensed ahead. If the system detects an unavoidable crash, it automatically activates the seatbelt pre-tensioners and applies full brake force to lessen the impact of the crash.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) works in tandem with the Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system, as it uses the same advanced technology. ACC enables the vehicle to maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead, even if that vehicle varies its speed. Once the road ahead is clear, ACC automatically returns to the originally specified cruising speed.
To complete the list of new advanced safety specifications available for the all-new Avensis, the Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system comes with Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA). These systems help to prevent unintended lane-changes by giving an audible warning and applying a corrective steering wheel torque to keep you in lane.

The all-new Avensis has reduced NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) considerably and Toyota's advanced lightweight insulation material has contributed to lower the interior noise level by a significant 5 dB. The new model is one of the quietest in the D-segment and close to the D-premium segment level. Along with engineering a stiff chassis, and leading-edge aerodynamics this has been achieved by carefully optimizing the location of materials, without adding unnecessary weight by over-using insulation. This helps to maintain a reasonable weight of the vehicle, and hence bring CO2 emissions to a lower level.

Avensis enjoys an excellent and well-earned reputation for Quality, Durability and Reliability (QDR). It has scored high in independent customer satisfaction surveys – like JD Power customer satisfaction. And it has won numerous accolades from motoring magazines and motoring organisations, such as Best in Segment from ADAC, Europe's biggest automobile club.

The all-new Avensis, as a European core model, will continue to be built at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK plant in Burnaston with their built-in quality assurance based on the world-famous Toyota Production System. The Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK plant in Deeside will supply the 1.6 and 1.8 Valvematic engines while the Toyota Motor Industries Poland (TMIP) plant will supply 2.0 and 2.2 D-4D engines. The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland (TMMP) plant will provide the TMUK plant with the new 6-speed manual transmission.

Advanced equipment levels
• 4 grade strategy to differentiate the equipment levels
• Innovative hi-tech features

Keeping the Takashi Yamamoto's "cutting edge of D-segment" statement in mind, the level of advanced technology available on the 4 equipment grade levels of the third generation Avensis fully reflects a cutting edge positioning.
The entry Avensis-grade level is well specified, with standard equipment such as manual air-conditioning, front power windows and a MP3-compatible radio/CD audio system featuring 6-speaker. The centre cluster and console is offered in a black metallic finish. 16-inch steel wheels come as standard and Steering assist Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+) with Traction Control (TRC) is available either standard or optional depending on market to enhance driving dynamics and safety.

The Sol grade model has an impressive array of equipment. Automatic dual zone air-conditioning is standard, featuring left and right independent temperature controls, allowing separate temperature regulation for the driver and front seat passengers. Leather steering wheel and gear shift add to the quality feeling. Outside there are 16-inch alloys, front fog lamps and sensors to automatically switch on headlamps when ambient light falls, and wipers at the first drops of rain.

There is a boot-through feature in the centre of the rear seats for stowage of long objects as skis, while the wagon features optional cargo space rails and hooks to secure cargos safely.

Cruise control with speed limiter and a full-map touch-screen (6,5") navigation with Bluetooth connectivity (for cellular phone and audio streaming) are available. Power-folding mirrors and electrochromatic (auto-dimming) rear-view mirror is also an option on this grade.

Unique Takesumi-inspired graphics adorn the centre console of the Executive grade. The back window of the sedan has a sunshade, while the wagon benefits from privacy glass. It offers a Smart Entry and push start system, which detects the presence of an electronic 'key' within a range of about 1m from the car. A touch-sensor on the back of the driver's door handle allows the door to be opened and the car can be then started using the push button on the instrument panel. When locking the car, you simply slide your finger over the seamlessly integrated touch sensor on top of the door handle. 17-inch alloys come as standard.

The Executive grade also offers an optional full-map touch-screen (7") navigation with Multimedia-pack, which includes Bluetooth connectivity for cellular phone and audio streaming, an 11-speaker Premium Audio system, a 10 GB HDD music server and a rear parking camera. A leather luxury pack with electrically adjustable seats with 2 memory settings is also available. This pack also includes electrical tilt and telescopic steering wheel with 2 memory settings.

High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-xenon headlamps with Adaptive Front light System (AFS), panoramic roof on the wagon and rear parking sensors are other optional specifications.

Outside, the striking 18-inch alloys accentuate the Premium grade's flowing side profile. It comes as standard with the Luxury pack which includes the high quality leather seats in a choice of black or in a combination of grey and beige and an electrical tilt and telescopic steering wheel. Also standard are the High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-xenon headlamps with Adaptive Front light System (AFS), rear parking sensors, back and rear side window sunshades for the sedan and the panoramic roof and privacy glass for the wagon. The only remaining options on the premium flagship are the full-map touch-screen (7") navigation with Multimedia-pack and exclusively for the 2.2-litre D-4D 6-speed automatic transmission, the Pre-Crash Safety (PSC) system, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) systems.

(* CO2 values are subject to final homologation.)

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