Not too many vehicles on the streets today can look back and see almost completely different generation models as the Toyota Soarer can. From the original model to the last generation, drastic differences in looks can easily be spotted. However, once you drive each Soarer, you can easily tell its lineage comes from a solid grasp of luxury and performance.
Starting in 1981, the first Toyota Soarer offered only the best of the best. From touchscreen air conditioning in the first-generation Z10 series, to the ever popular 1JZ-GTE twin turbo engine in the Z30 series to, of course, the hardtop convertible found on the last generation Z40 Soarer or Lexus SC430, every generation had some type of groundbreaking feature. Since each generation of Soarer offered such technology and features, the look and feel of a Toyota Soarer was comparable to owning the latest German luxury performance auto.
Since its origin, the Toyota Soarer has offered plenty of performance to match its quality and luxury. From large, naturally aspirated engines to one of the most popular twin turbo engines ever available, there are plenty of options for power, depending on your specific tastes.
To start, the first generation Z10 Soarer, manufactured from 1981 to 1985, came equipped with your choice of five different inline-six engines: three 2.0-, one 2.8-, and one 3.0-litre. Ranging from 93kW and 172Nm for the smaller 2.0-litre to over 140kW power and 260Nm of torque for the largest 3.0-litre, all engines offered decent performance with Toyota quality.
The second-generation Z20 Soarer, built between 1986 and 1991, offered a wide selection of engine choices also and ranged in sizes similar to the first generation. Unlike the first generation, many Z20 series engines offered much more power. For instance, the 2.0-litre twin turbo 1G-GTE equipped Z20 Soarer produced 157kW and 275Nm. Not enough? The 3.0-litre equipped Soarer has 173kW and 325Nm.
As for the most recognizable generation Soarer, the Z30 series, manufactured between 1991 and 2000, can be had with one of the most popular twin turbo engines ever manufactured: the 2.5-litre 1JZ-GTE. This engine, found in various Toyota vehicles including the infamous Supra, produces up to 206kW and 378Nm. It is said that with even basic aftermarket tuning products, this reliable motor can easily have over 250Kw and 400+NM. Even though this was the most powerful engine available for the Z30 Soarer, this generation did offer two 4.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 engines that today are considered collectible because of the wide arrangement of standard equipment.
Even though the last generation Z40 Soarer offered a more powerful, naturally aspirated engine, this heavy vehicle’s performance capability might not be up to par on the previous model. Nevertheless, with 208kW power and 430Nm of torque, the Z40 is nothing to laugh at.
From day one, the Toyota Soarer has always been equipped with state-of-the-art standard equipment, plus it offered tomorrow’s technology when it came to options. In the first-generation Z10 Soarer, Toyota offered a whole set of digital standard equipment including LED speed and tachometer display and self-diagnosis maintenance reminders. Options for this generation included a touchscreen computer-controlled air conditioning and a television screen display on very limited edition models.
As for the most popular Soarer, the Z30 series, Toyota set the bar for interior and performance standard equipment and options. For instance, Toyota continued the use of an all-digital dash and touchscreen air conditioning plus added Toyota’s TEMS electronic damper adjustment suspension upgrade. The most notable option this generation had was it was the world’s first vehicle that featured a CD-ROM-based GPS navigation system.
This generation Soarer also saw a wide range of special edition models based around which engine was installed. To start, the UZZ31-equipped Soarer came with a driver-adjusted air suspension that had two different settings based on ride height and damper stiffness. This version also had automatic headlights, heated seats, and a touchscreen TV with a 12-disc CD player. The rarest Z30 Soarer to hit Australia is the UZZ32. This top end vehicle features four-wheel steering and computer controlled suspension that uses multiple sensors such as yaw velocity, G, height, speed, longitudinal, and lateral.
For the final-generation Soarer, Toyota simplified things since competition was more in tune with fit over function. For this generation, Toyota was able to make a hardtop convertible that compares to the Mercedes-Benz SL of this model year. Other options include upgraded stereos and satnav, but standard equipment includes all digital controls and leather interior.
Even though the GT coupe and GT convertible marketplace is limited to just the more prestigious manufacturers, Toyota completely understood its demographics. Using the likes of all digital dashboards, powerful engines, and exotic looks at excellent price points, the Soarer has always been at the head of this body style. However, once competition finally caught up and Toyota removed the Soarer from the lineup to accommodate for the Lexus namesake and SC model, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi have gained control of the larger GT coupe and GT convertible market with the Mercedes SL, BMW 6-series, and Audi A5.