Favored by Japan’s emperor, as well as high-ranking government officials, wealthy businessmen, and even Yakuza bosses, the Toyota Century is Japan’s most exclusive luxury model. You can think of it as the Rolls Royce or Bentley of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Now, Toyota’s flagship has been fully redesigned after over two decades in production, or 21 years, to be precise. That’s a long time for a model to remain virtually unchanged whichever way you see it, but that’s how Toyota rolls (pun intended) with the Century as the model has only seen three generations in the 50 years since its birth.
Revealed to the world for the first time last fall, the completely redesigned 2018 Century has been released as a Japan-only model with prices starting from 19,600,000 yen ($177,716), without tax, recycling fees and, of course, optional extras.
Retaining a classic shape, the third generation Toyota Century has a slightly larger footprint than the car it replaces. It now measures 5,335mm (210in) long, 1,930mm (76in) wide, and 1,505mm (59.2in) tall, with a 3,090mm (121.6in) wheelbase.
As you’d expected, opening the door reveals a luxurious cabin, with individual rear seats and plenty of room for the occupants, who will keep themselves busy with a lot of functions. What you might not expect if you’re not accustomed to Japanese tradition and preferences when it comes to luxury, are the wool velour covered seats. Still, you can get it with leather, if that’s your thing.
The equipment list includes a 16-inch rear seat entertainment system, high-end audio, and 7-inch touch panel in the rear center armrest that allows passengers to control the massage function of the seats, curtains, air conditioning and sound system.
Toyota has also fitted the car with an electronically controlled air suspension and claims that body rigidity was improved through the use of structural adhesives. Moreover, there are newly developed suspension arms, bus, mount and tires, along with other rubber parts, which reduce road vibration and increase ride comfort. The active noise control system could have been left out from the new Century, either.
The Toyota Safety Sense driving assistance features are also part of the package. These include Blind Spot Monitor, Parking Support Alert, Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Radar Cruise Control, Adaptive High Beam and HelpNet. The latter activates automatically if the airbags deploy, and an operator will contact the local authorities, informing them of the incident.
Powering the 2018 Toyota Century is a 5.0-liter V8 hybrid-gasoline engine, rated at 381PS (376hp / 280kW) and 510Nm (376lb-ft) of torque, aided by a 224PS (221hp / 165kW) and 300Nm (221lb-ft) of torque electric motor. The latter is fed by a nickel-metal battery and the automaker claims a total output of 431PS (425hp / 317kW).
Making sure that exclusivity is maintained, Toyota targets monthly sales of only 50 units. All cars are produced at the Higashi-Fuji plant, in the Land of the Rising Sun.