In 1981, Toyota introduced its personal luxury GT coupe in Japan under then name Toyota Soarer. Originally, the Soarer was launched as Z10 series as a replacement of Mark II Coupe. The Z10 series was a two-door coupe with much angular looks.
The second generation Z20 series was introduced by Toyota in 19 that shared its platform with the A70 series Supra. The third generation Z30 series of Toyota Soarer appeared for the first time in Japan in 1991, while in the same year the US market received its Lexus SC 300/400 counterpart of Soarer. Although, both Lexus SC and Soarer exhibited some external similarities, the Soarer received different powertrain specifications and multiple unique vehicle configurations. The fourth generation Toyota Soarer (Z40 series) convertible-only successor was launched in Japan by the Toyota in 2001, while in rest of the world it was launched as Lexus SC 430. Both Lexus SC and Soarer (Z40 series) were produced as a single model and hence closely resembled. The Lexus was brought to Japanese market in 2005 as result of which the Soarer nameplate and emblem were dropped. The Z40 then adopted the similar Lexus SC430 nameplate.
In Japan only, the Nissan Leopard coupe was the only major competitor of Soarer. Throughout its production history, Soarer displayed a unique winged lion emblem as logo.
First Generation Z10 Series (1981-1985)
The Soarer was first introduced at the Osaka International Motor Show in 1980 under the name “EX-8″. The production of Soarer began in February 1981 and it was offered with three engine variants including 2.0-L, 2.8-L or 3.0-L DOHC I-6. The Z10 series Soarer came as rear-wheel drive configuration taken from the A60 Supra. Some other features include touchscreen computer controlled air conditioning climate control (on all models except for base models), digital speed and tachometer display using LED, and several other electronic features.
The front suspension of Z10 series Soarer featured Macpherson type struts with trailing arm type IRS in the rear.
Second Generation Z20 Series (1986-1991)
The second generation Z20 series Soarer was first introduced in January 1986 and remained in production until April 1991. Some of the different models produced under Z20 series include GZ20, MZ20 and MZ21. The designing and styling of the second generation Saorer resembled a great deal with X80 series Cressida, Mark II, Chaser and Cresta. It was based on the platform used in new A70 series Supra.
Third Generation (1991-2000)
Toyota launched the luxurious Lexus division in the overseas marker in 1990. After this successful launch, the company assigned the task to develop a new luxury coupe to its California design studio Calty. The Lexus SC 300/400 was introduced in the US market. In Japan, the third generation Toyota Soarer was launched in the same year. There were a lot of similarities found in the body style and key components of the Soarer and the Lexus SC 300/400. However, both the vehicles offered different interior features, powertrain configurations, and certain other performance enhancements.
Fourth Generation (2001-2005)
In 2001, the Lexus SC 430 was introduced in the overseas market while its Soarer equivalent Z40 series was introduced in the Japanese market. The fourth generation Soarer offered with a hardtop which could be folded into the boot in a similar way as in existing Mercedes Benz-SL. The fourth generation Soarer was powered by a 4.3-L V8 motor with 3UZ-FE VVT-i similar to the one found in Lexus LS 430 luxury sedan capable of producing 208 kW (283 PS; 279 hp) and 320 lb-ft (430 Nm) of torque. The car accelerated from 0 to 62 mph (0-100km/h) in 6 seconds.