Chasing a Four Door Icon

Iconic. What makes a car possess this quality? In the case of the Toyota Chaser JZX100, it stems from the fact that it was the sports-oriented version out of a trio of cars and was marketed as a dynamic sports sedan.

It shared the platform with its sisters, the Cressida/Mark II, and the Cresta. The triplets were limited in dimensions and engine sizes to fit the mid-sized tax bracket, letting the further upmarket Crown, and later Crown Majesta flourish in the luxury market.

Debuting in 1996, the new sixth-generation had solidified itself as a performance sedan against competition such as the Nissan Skyline, Mitsubishi Galant, Mazda Millenia, Subaru Legacy, and Honda Vigor. Before drifting became mainstream motorsport, the Chaser was entered into the Japanese Touring Car Championship (JTCC) for the 1998 season by Tom's and sponsored by Esso. The four-door race car was piloted by Masanori Sekiya, a familiar name that took the Mclaren F1 GTR to victory at Le Mans in 1995. Masanori took the Chaser to the podium as well, winning 6 of the 11 races during the season, which was enough to take the championship title. The Chaser (and its sister, the Mark II) became notable favourites in the sport of drifting due to its long wheelbase and ease of tuning thanks to the powerplant under the hood. Shops such as Kunny'z, Weld and Koguchi Power all slid the sedans with great success.

The Chaser was known as a hardtop sedan, meaning that it has no outwardly visible B pillar. Compared to the previous generation, the new Chaser refined its handsome look with a modern three slate grille bearing the nameplate crest.

Twin headlamps flow into the front fenders with new body lines helping to accentuate the soft wedge shape. Continuing from the JZX90, the interior also inherited a refresh with new glovebox placement, an improvement instrument cluster, and a new infotainment system.

Lifting the hood reveals a 2.5 liter inline-6 known as the 1JZ-GTE. Toyota's engine naming system is quite simple and can be broken down, like shown. It is the 1st generation of the JZ family of engines (which are all inline-sixes) and has wide-angle dual overhead camshafts (G), a turbocharger (T) and, electronic fuel injection (E). It consists of an iron block and aluminum cylinder head. It now employs a single turbocharger (previously twins on the JZX90, JZZ30). Now in its third generation, other improvements from the older engines included a retuned cylinder head, which was co-developed by Yamaha.

The head now used variable valve timing in combination with smaller exhaust ports to help the CT15B turbocharger spool up quicker. Further changes to the engine were modified cooling jackets with larger capacity and a higher compression ratio (9.0:1). All of this combined to produce 276hp and 280lb/ft of torque (still coinciding with the gentlemen's agreement).

Considering the Chaser is a mid-sized sedan, it's capable of sprinting from 0-100km/hr (62mph) in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of 250km/hr (155mph). Backing up the stout six-cylinder is an Aisin built 5-speed manual known as the R154. Power is sent to the rear wheels and is equipped with a Torsen (Torque-sensing) limited-slip differential.

Beneath the chiseled exterior is a sophisticated suspension consisting of unequal length double wishbone geometry at the front and a multi-link geometry at the rear. Braking was shared with the JZZ30 Soarer, comprised of two-piston and single-piston sliding calipers biting down on vented rotors. ABS and a traction control system were standard. Initially, the Chaser was equipped with 16-inch aluminum wheels, but these Work Equips are a little more fitting to the sedans' sporting nature.

Does the Chaser fit your description of what a sports sedan should be?

-Team 604

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