Classic Cars Wiki
Classic Cars Wiki

The Toyota Soarer was a personal luxury GT coupé sold by Toyota in Japan from 1981 to 2005. In Japan, it was available at both Toyota Japan dealerships called Toyota Store and Toyopet Store, and it débuted with the Z10 series, replacing the Toyopet Store exclusive Mark II Coupe, and the Toyota Store exclusive Crown Coupe. In 1986, the Z20 series was launched, based on the then new A70 Supra platform. In 1991, the third generation (Z30 series) Toyota Soarer premiered in Japan, while its Lexus equivalent, the SC 300/400 débuted in the US market. While externally identical to the Lexus SC, the Z30 series Soarer lineup offered different powertrain specifications and multiple unique vehicle configurations. In 2001, Toyota introduced a convertible-only successor which appeared in Japan as the fourth generation (Z40 series) Toyota Soarer, and elsewhere as the Lexus SC 430. In contrast to previous series, the fourth generation Soarer and Lexus SC were based on a single model and were largely equivalent. In 2005, following the introduction of Lexus in Japan, the Soarer name and emblem were discontinued and the Z40 became the Lexus SC 430 in common with worldwide markets.

In its home market the Soarer was a competitor to the Nissan Leopard, and Mazda Cosmo coupes. All versions of the Soarer featured a unique winged lion emblem (often mistakenly called a Griffin) as the logo throughout the vehicle. Due to the compliance of Japanese external dimension and engine displacement regulations, the first and second generation models were classified as "compacts" which gave Japanese buyers tax saving advantages.

Z10 series (1981–1985)[]

The Soarer made its first appearance at the 1980 Osaka International Motor Show with the name "EX-8", and the Z10 series Toyota Soarer was produced from February 1981 to December 1985, with 2.0L, 2.8L or 3.0L DOHC I-6 variants. The first generation Soarer debuted with a rear-wheel drive configuration based on the A60 Supra. It boasted numerous technological items, such as touchscreen computer controlled air conditioning climate control (on all models excepting base models which featured standard fan/heater controls), digital speed and tachometer display using LED (that were differentiated between models), among other electronic features.

The suspension utilized Macpherson type front struts with trailing arm type IRS in the rear. The vehicle also came with self-diagnosis maintenance reminders.

There were a number of different engines available.

  • GZ10=1G-EU, 1G-GEU
  • MZ10=M-TEU
  • MZ11=5M-GEU
  • MZ12=6M-GEU

Early M-TEU powered MZ10s were different in some regards to later MZ10s. Some of the difference are listed below.

  • Later MZ10s had a water to air intercooler
  • Later MZ10s had an oil-and-water-cooled turbo (as opposed to the oil-cooled-only turbo in the early MZ10s)

The Z10 series Toyota Soarer was honored as Japan's Car of the Year for the 1981–1982 model years.

The MZ12 was equipped with the following features:

  • ABS
  • Cruise Control
  • 7 way adjustable (driver only) leather seats
  • Toyota Electronically Modulated Suspension (TEMS)
  • Digital Automatic climate control
  • Audible Warning messages
  • Electro multivision display (CRT type display), GT LTD Only

Z20 series (1986–1991)[]

The Z20 series Toyota Soarer was produced from January 1986 to April 1991, and was available in several variants. The styling of the second generation Soarer is similar of that of the X80 series Cressida, Mark II, Chaser and Cresta. The Soarer shared its platform with the newly introduced A70 series Supra.

In 1988, TOM'S released a limited model package named the C5. The 7M-GTE in the Tom's C5 Soarer saw the power upgrades similar to those seen in the Turbo-A Supra of the same year.

In April 1989 a limited 500 unit production of the Aerocabin version was also available. This came with only 2 seats and an electric folding roof. The Aerocabin came with the same specs as the GT-Limited and were only available with the 7M-GTE engine, 4sp automatic transmission, tan leather interior and pearl paint.

In 1988 Soarer Z2 got restyling -grill and rear taillights changed and minor interior changes (climate control, dash). Other than that engines were improved:

  • 1G-GTEU 180 -> 157 kW (213 PS; 211 hp)
  • 7M-GTEU 230 -> 179 kW (243 PS; 240 hp)

Also from that time, M-series engines got oil squirters to cool pistons.

Unlike the A70, the Z20 did not pick up the 2.5L twin turbo 1JZ-GTE. However all models built from May 1989 including the Aerocabin did have a revised crossmember making the 1JZ-GTE conversion easier.