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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Toyota Aurion: In Depth (AU)

Toyota F1-inspired aero features

Toyota Aurion's aerodynamic features include an innovative stepped underbody cover to help maximise downforce on the front of the vehicle as standard. The underbody cover creates a venturi effect - a low-pressure area under the front of the vehicle to increase downforce. There are also fairings for the rear wheels, directing airflow around the tyres and hence reducing drag.

Aurion Sportivo SX6 and ZR6 have a full aero kit, consisting of rear wing spoiler, front bumper/spoiler, side skirts and rear skirt/rear bumper. Sportivo also has the additional rear floor and fuel tank undercovers to increase downforce at the rear of the vehicle. Aurion Sportivo models (both SX6 and ZR6) have a coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.292. Aurion AT-X, Prodigy and Presara have a Cd of 0.301.

Styled by Australians for Australians

An Australian stylist was the central point of the international design team for the new Aurion V6. Nick Hogios, design manager at Toyota Style Australia, was invited to move to TMC in Nagoya, Japan. This was a significant first for Toyota in Australia and highlights the regard for its design capabilities by TMC.

A winner of the Wheels magazine Young Designer of the Year award, Mr Hogios said a strong understanding of the Australian market was essential for defining a new car for the local large-car market.

"Australia is a unique nation," Mr Hogios said. "We tend to like American-sized sedans with European style," he said. We know our market, and for the first time we've had a big say in the design of our own vehicle from inception. For this unique exercise, so important and deservedly so Australian, simultaneous clay models were produced in Japan and Australia and developments were paralleled."

Mr Hogios said Aurion was a very recent example of Toyota's styling protocol, known as Vibrant Clarity. Aurion also embodies a Vibrant Clarity theory known as Perfect Imbalance.

"Some cars are overly balanced with predictably constructed design elements. These cars may have immediate appeal, but the design does not stand up to the passing of time," Mr Hogios said. "Other cars attempt to create excitement by being overly imbalanced. They have an immediate impact because of their odd shapes, but they have limited market appeal. Aurion achieves perfect imbalance - the best of both worlds. It has design features which deliberately provide a counter-point to others, and are therefore both interesting and appealing. Due to the proportions and character in the car, people will like it from the start, yet won't grow tired of it."
Mr Hogios said the exterior design for Aurion is simple, strong and elegant. He said Aurion has a strong, proud bonnet to give the car character, create drama and build excitement.

"To balance the hood, it has a lower bumper which cradles it," he said. "That led to the unique tagline for this car: double concave architecture, which is the signature of the front end. Conventionally designed cars have architecture that is primarily horizontal - lamps, grille and bumper surface breaks are placed in a horizontal line. Aurion tries to create more drama and interest with vertically sculpted features balanced by lamps that are placed quite wide. This gives the car a very distinctive 'face'. The side-glass-to-body proportions give the car a sleeker, sportier profile."

Mr Hogios said the car's longer wheelbase and the way the wheels and tyres fill the prominent wheel arches aided its strong stance. He said concave and convex surfaces intersected with crisp lines on the Aurion to create defined light and shade, producing a more innovative look.

"The intersecting positive (convex) and negative (concave) surfaces, combined with slightly twisting surfaces create tension - a very athletic surface language," he said. "The flow from the shoulder of the body side to the front guards, for example, helps give the car substantial road presence. The highly sculpted body side of the car avoids a slab-sided look and heightens the perception of 'visual' value."

At the rear, Aurion's short bootlid provides a sporty impression with a minimal overhang. "The crease line on the C-pillar flows down to the boot line, integrating the cabin with the rear of the car," Mr Hogios said. "In addition, Aurion integrates the tail-lamps across the rear quarter panel and boot lid - a styling feature dependent on Toyota's exceptional fit and finish quality. Detail styling cues at the rear include the after-burner LED tail-lamp clusters and the dual exhaust pipes, signifying power. For the first time, turn indicators are located in each wing mirror - an upmarket feature typical of the attention to detail in Aurion that will surprise and delight customers. The detailed use of chrome in multiple areas and the jewellery-effect headlamps further position this car as a serious contender in the premium six-cylinder market."

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Related entries:

Toyota TRD Aurion and HiLux at Melbourne
Toyota Aurion Sports Concept Unveiled (AU)
Toyota Aurion V6 Joins Police (AU)


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