2 February 2004

Toyota is planning to cash in on its F1 programme with an AMG-style tuning operation that is creating a range of performance-enhancing engine kits for the Corolla, Yaris and MR2. To be offered through official Toyota dealers, the kits have been developed by Toyota Motorsport in Germany and will come with a full factory warranty and service back-up in the UK. ‘The engine kits are the first stage of a plan that will eventually see us offering completely built-up cars,’ said Toyota Motorsport general manager, Egon Pixken. Among the kits going on sale before the end of the year is a supercharger for the 1.8-litre Corolla. Running a Roots-style blower from Japanese firm Ogura, it bumps power from 192bhp to a Honda Integra Type-R-beating 228bhp at 7800rpm. Torque increases from 133lb ft to 184lb ft at 3900rpm. ‘The increase in torque at lower revs makes it a much more relaxed car to drive quickly,’ says Toyota Motorsport development engineer Gerald Bonengel. ‘The standard engine’s torque doesn’t arrive until 6800rpm so you have to work it fairly hard.’ The increase in output has improved the Corolla’s 0-62mph time from 8.4sec to 6.9sec, despite the retention of the standard car’s six-speed manual gearbox. Top speed rises from 140mph to 149.

Also planned is a kit for the MR2’s 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine. Using a Garrett turbocharger and intercooler, it lifts power from a standard 140bhp to 195bhp.

Toyota is also considering the UK launch of a turbocharger kit for the 1.5-litre four-cylinder Yaris, boosting power from 106bhp to 150bhp at 6000rpm. Toyota Motorsport hasn’t finalised pricing of the engine kits, which will be offered alongside suspension upgrades and body kits, but expect them to start at about £3000 when they go on sale in the UK this year.

Our Verdict

Toyota Avensis

The Toyota Avensis is adequate but generally underwhelming family transport

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