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Corolla Sportivo packs more puff

Beefed up: The turbocharged Corolla Sportivo gains a useful performance injection, along with a "sporty, subtle" body kit.

Toyota has launched a new performance flagship for the Corolla range

Toyota logo15 Mar 2001

TOYOTA concedes its new Corolla Sportivo is a toe-in-the-water exercise to see whether its Conversion and Motorsport division (T-CAM) could develop into an HSV/Tickford-style operation.

The "hot" Corolla gains a host of performance-related upgrades, none more significant than the addition of turbocharger and intercooler - which bump up power from 85kW to 115kW at 5600rpm.

Perhaps more significantly, torque rises from 155Nm to a hefty 237Nm at 3600rpm.

Toyota trumpets the fact this is the most powerful Corolla ever sold here, but the extra grunt does not come cheap. The Corolla Sportivo costs $37,990 - only $2760 less than the better-equipped Volkswagen Golf GTi.

It may be derived from a humble Corolla, but some degree of exclusivity is guaranteed as just 100 examples of the Sportivo will be sold here - all decked out in the same shade of gold.

The installation of the turbo and heavy duty brake pads and clutch is carried out by the Shinmei company in Nagoya, before the cars are shipped to Australia.

The local T-Cam division then gets to work on the cars, fitting stiffer springs, 15-inch alloy wheels and a locally-developed body kit comprising front and rear spoilers, side skirts and a mesh grille.

Standard features also include air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, CD stereo, anti-lock brakes, dual airbags, three-spoke leather steering wheel and polished metal gearknob.

T-CAM manager Neil Daniel said the Corolla Sportivo is designed to deliver "throttle-off oversteer" to appeal to enthusiastic drivers, while the body kit is meant to give the car "a subtle, sporty look".

Although the turbo install is done in Japan, T-CAM played an extensive role in the development of the force-fed engine. Development hacks were subjected to thousands of kilometres of testing over a variety of Australian roads.

Mr Daniel said it was cheaper to carry out as much of the development work as possible in Australia, rather than Japan.

Toyota officials say none of the 100 Corolla Sportivos have been pre-sold, but remained confident it would not have any problems in finding buyers for them.

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