Free-revving V6, manual transmission and carbon fibre roof. Who are you and what have you done with the real Toyota?
Toyota has unveiled the latest work of its Gazoo Racing performance division, in the shape of the Mark X GRMN sedan at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon.
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the Mark X, though – confined to the Japanese market, this almost Camry-sized sedan fills in for past Toyota mainstays like the Cressida and Chaser nameplates which have come and gone over the years.
Unlike the humble front-wheel-drive Camry though, the Mark X shares its underpinnings with the previous generation Lexus GS and Toyota Crown, giving it a more performance oriented rear-wheel drive chassis.
The GRMN edition makes its second appearance in 2019, having first been applied to a run of just 100 cars in 2015. This time around, 350 GRMN Mark X sedan will be made available.
The key point of difference for the limited edition models, designed to emphasise their sporting nature, is the replacement of the regular six-speed automatic transmission in favour of a six-speed manual.
The new transmission hooks up to the same ‘2GR-FSE’ 234kW/380Nm 3.5 litre V6 as used in top-spec versions of the regular Mark X range.
Other GRMN changes include 252 additional chassis spot welds for greater rigidity, coupled with uniquely tuned dampers and electric power steering.
Visually, the Mark X beefs up with a set of dark finish 19-inch BBS alloy wheels wrapped in 235/40 R19 and 255/35 R19 tyres, white-painted four-piston front brake calipers with the GRMN logo and a subtle rear lip spoiler alongside a body styling package based on the regular Mark X GR Sport model, finished off with a quad-tipped exhaust.
An optional carbon fibre roof panel is also available, shaving 10 kilograms from the weight of the vehicle and lowering the centre of gravity for improved handling agility.
Inside, the Mark X GRMN is decked out with sports front seats, ultra suede upholstery, and a combination of gloss black and carbon-look trim elements.
Japanese buyers can get themselves into an underwhelming 149kW 2.5-litre V6 Mark X from as little as ¥2,656,800 ($33,990), the 350 RDS GR Sport that forms the basis for the special edition model is a more pricey at ¥4,428,000 ($56,630).
Hold onto your hats though, because if you want to get into one of the 350 GRMN edition cars you’ll need to fork over ¥5,130,000 ($65,610), plus an additional ¥270,000 ($3450) for the carbon roof.
Sadly the Mark X, ideal though it may be as a Commodore or Falcon substitute, will remain a Japanese market offering, with the GRMN going on show at the Tokyo Auto Salon from January 11.