Meet the JDM sports sedan you had no clue about

A Japanese domestic-market only vehicle, the extremely rare +M Super Charger optioned Mark X proved that Japan could compete with the best.

If we asked you to name a supercharged V6 powered petrol saloon, what would you think of? For us, the first car that springs to mind would be the Audi S4. What others can you think of? The Jaguar XF? The Ford Mondeo ST250 Concept? Australians might know the Toyota’s TRD Aurion, or even Holdens older Commodore S Supercharged? Only the die-hard JDM fans would know this one, so lo and behold – here’s another one to add to your book.

In came Toyota Modellista International, whom working in-house with Toyota – developed their own ‘Super Charger’ to fit to Toyota’s exclusive Mark X sports sedan, made between 2009 and 2019. With the base engine being Toyota’s extrememly common 2GR-FE 3.5L V6 found in anything from a Previa minivan to the Lotus Evora, the result spoke for itself – and a name? The Toyota Mark X +M SuperCharger.

3.5L 2GR-FE V6 Compressor

Bumping power figures up to a healthy 265kW (355hp) of power and a whopping 498Nm of torque from its V6 compressor – peak torque was available at just 3200rpm, making for a very effortless journey. We could keep listing performance specs forever, but many Australians would be starting to wonder – what makes this more unique than the Australian built TRD Aurion? Behind the curtains of the rather normal looking sleeper-saloon, power and paperwork wasn’t Mark X’s only party trick. Unlike the Aurion, the beauty of the Mark X lay in the drivetrain.

Australian Market TRD Aurion 3500S

One of the let-downs found in the Aurion range has always been its basic front-wheel drive system and a rather dull steering rack, which never failed to communicate torque-steer and understeer. That’s not a good thing. The sheer size and weight of the TRD Aurion caused no drama in the straights, but the effect would always be felt through the corners.

Understeer however wasn’t an issue for Mark X.

Weighing in at just 1580kg, the Mark X +M SuperCharger was 50kg lighter than its Australian sibling, and driven through a similar six-speed automatic, power went 100% to the rear, not the front. Rear wheel drive made it a recipe for, well… fun, and it was never common to see a rear-wheel drive Toyota aisde from the Supra. Toyota’s export markets always seem to get front-wheel drive, unless people are willing to pay a premium for the Lexus brand.

So how is it compared to a German car? For comparisons sake, we picked out something similar in performance. The Mercedes C32 AMG.

Before you say anything, yes we know that the Mark X is a few years newer than the C32, but hear us out – in many ways, the two cars are quite similar both technologically and dynamically. Many may argue that the Germans tend to stay ahead of the saloon game, and although we wouldn’t disagree, we also don’t think it ever takes too long for other manufactures to catch up. When it was released, the C32 was one of the fastest four-door cars on the planet, and the AMG V6 Kompressor the most powerful of its kind… So how does the newer Mark X’s V6 Compressor compare?

Well for starters, the supercharged Mark X has an extra 5kW (7hp). On top of the C32 – add an extra 68Nm of torque, and reduce the weight by 55kg. The 54:46 weight distribution matches that of the C32 too, so if you love Germans sleeper sports-saloons, you can’t ignore the fact that Toyota had a sports-saloon that was even better at hiding its identity. No aggresive styling, no recognisable performance badges, no quad-tipped exhausts, so to most people, it was and still is just a Toyota, but a very fast one at that.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be seeing many on the roads – as only 200 examples were ever produced.


AutoNews Australia

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