Toyota just unveiled its new Century a few weeks ago, ushering in a new model of its flagship domestic luxury sedan for the first time in over two decades. And with a price tag approaching $180,000, we wondered how it could be sold as a Toyota and not, say, a Lexus. But after watching this up close and personal walkaround video (complete with a rare look inside the cabin), it seems less like a fancy Avalon and more like a cut-rate Rolls-Royce.
Targeted towards Japanese captains of industry, government ministers, and members of the Imperial household, the Toyota Century is as luxurious as they come – and more understated than you might otherwise expect.
Its 210-inch-long frame is draped in rather conservative bodywork that’s less about attracting new customers than keeping existing ones happy. The common man (or woman) on the street might not even realize it’s a new model unless they’re either particularly adept at spotting new wheels, or sees it sitting side by side with the outgoing model.
Underneath the reserved shell, however, Toyota’s new JDM flagship marks a marked technological advance over the version it replaces. Not least of which is the hybrid powertrain that pairs a smooth-running, 5.0-liter V8 engine with an electric motor and a nickel-metal battery to deliver a combined 425 horsepower (317 kW). This in place of the V12 in the last version.
The question is, if you were fortunate enough to count yourself among the its core client base in Japan, would you choose the new Century as your mode of understated conveyance, or go for something that more overtly expresses your socio-economic standing?