Thursday 2 August 2007

Toyota Blade gets 3.5 litre V6

Looks pretty average, doesn't it? Pretty much like any other Toyota Auris. But this is no Auris. This is the Toyota Blade Master G, and while the outlandish name isn't backed up by outlandish looks, it is backed up by an outlandish 3.5-litre V6.

Conceived as a Golf-bashing premium hatch, the Blade is essentially a raunchier version of the Auris with slightly sharper styling and double wishbone rear suspension, which only the Auris D4-D T180 gets in the UK.

The engine is a detuned version of the 3456cc unit from the Lexus IS350, producing 276bhp and 254lb ft. There's also a 2.4-litre four-pot petrol available.

It's not just the engine that's different. The V6 Master G also gets a unique front end with bigger, deeper grille to provide more visual punch and 17-inch alloys with low-profile tyres. The gearbox is a six-speed sequential auto with steering wheel paddle shifters. The kerb weight is just 80kg up on the 2.4's.

Aimed at Golf R32 wannabe buyers at one end and downsizing baby-boomers at the other, the Blade Master G costs the equivalent of £13,650 in Japan. And sadly, that's the only place you can get it. Despite our pleas, there's no plan either to import the Master G to the UK or to start building them alongside the Auris D4-D in Derbyshire. Shame.

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