NEWS: Toyota will introduce a new Century for only the third time in 50 years

Toyota has released images of the third generation Toyota Century ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show. This is notable, because in the Toyota flagship sedan’s entire 50 year history, there has been only one complete redesign, until now. While minor updates have been made over the decades, the 2018 Century will be only the third completely new generation in, well, half a century. 

The third-generation Century maintains the noble exterior design that instantly identifies the car as such. It grows longer by 2.5 inches to a lengthy 17.5 feet and taller by an inch for a height of nearly 5 feet — all the more space for the big boss in back to stretch his legs.

The Century departs from tradition under the skin with 5.0-liter V8 mated to a hybrid system. Gone is the bespoke V12. The engine is a version of the UR series that powers the Lexus LC 500 and F-Series performance cars.

The interior now has a raised ceiling, along with a power leg rest, and power rear seats with built-in massage function. A LCD multifunction screen in the armrest lets the VIP control the seat adjustment, climate, and 20-speaker sound system. Upholstery options include the standard 100 percent wool, or optional leather. Lastly, there’s a modern rear seat entertainment system, but also old school touches like a writing table and reading light.

It is of course, even quieter than the outgoing Century, with a stiffer body, new suspension, new engine mounts, specially developed tires, an active noise reduction system. There’s also a new suite of safety sensors like blind spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts and collision avoidance electronic nannies.

The 2017 Tokyo Motor Show is shaping up to be a truly epic show. There’s already rumors of a new Nissan Z, possibly an updated Mazda sports car, almost certainly a new Supra, an S2000-like sports car from Honda, a Mitsubishi Pajero Evo, and now the first new Century since Bill Clinton was sworn in as president. The Tokyo Motor Show starts October 25. Stay tuned.

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23 Responses to NEWS: Toyota will introduce a new Century for only the third time in 50 years

  1. RX626 said:

    New emperor of a Japanese car.
    Although it became somewhat modern, I welcome that this car did not abandon the traditional design.
    It is a pity that only the V12 unit has been lost, but the charm of this car never changes.

    I can’t go to TMS, but this year’s TMS is definitely going to be an exciting event for us.

  2. Legacy-san said:

    Looks like the styling was largely carried over from the special version built for the Emperor of Japan. Now senior executives can have a car that looks like the Tennō’s (天皇) limousine. As always, if the styling isn’t your thing but you want a premium Toyota, there is always the Crown Majesta…or Lexus if you want something that caters to “western” tastes.

  3. Steve said:

    Too bad I can’t qualify to buy one, either fiscally or socio-economically. Or, maybe that’s a good thing because I like this. I would even like to get a short ride in one. Anybody here buying one?

  4. Richard Hogg said:

    I think I would actually prefer one of these over a Bentley/Rolls Royce, would be interesting to see how they would go on the international market, there are some of us that also appreciate the traditional as well as modern.look.

  5. Randy said:

    Now THAT’S a car that says money and power; not all the overwrought “LOOK AT ME!!!!!”

    This doesn’t belong to the rich guy; this belongs to the guy who signs HIS checks.

  6. Tygerleo said:

    I know this car is probably built with tolerance and precision better than Rolls-Roce or Bentley. But the look is outdated, it looks like a 1990s Callidac. Even Chinese can produce a more stately HongQi these days.

    • RX626 said:

      Century is different from other Japanese cars.
      This car customer does not want a contemporary design. Tradition is respected.
      It is like a kimono doesn’t change to a modern design.

      • Richard Hogg said:

        Totally agree hence why it is for the domestic market previous comment just shows the average westerner doesn’t grasp the design concept.

      • Tygerleo said:

        If they do want to traditional sedan, they should not follow the 1990s style. Its shape does remind me the 1991-96 Cadillac Fleetwood. Why don’t they put
        chrome bumps and remove the center LCD screen and put up a better looking b pillar? Traditionally Japanese auto designs are just good, never impressive. That is probably also true for the new Century. Say again the Chinese Hongqi is much more stately limousine, its chassis is actually based on Toyota Land cruiser parjo.

        • Legacy-san said:

          Toyota is all too familiar with who their target market is…old Japanese men in their sixties and seventies…Toyota also uses the Century as their own company car…this car is what senior management wants their car to look like.

          They don’t care what the world thinks a luxury limousine should look like…you want something flashy, get something German, you want cheap and flashy, buy a Cadillac or a Lincoln. If you’re Japanese and don’t want an “old man car” but you want something big and expensive, buy a Crown or Crown Majesta, which incidentally have lost the optionally available V8 and can only get a V6.

          Now that Toyota only offers a V8 in the Century, it makes that engine platform exclusive to the Century again, the way it was in the 60’s when the Century was first introduced…you could only get a V8 in a Century, including now.

  7. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    It probably makes no sense, but, I wish they could keep and upgrade the 1GZ-FE V12 because… hey, how many V12 are around?!

    This thing’s squarely for the Chrysanthemum and missing digit crowd. I love the “outdated look”. That would be the N in JNC , yes?

  8. stanley Soto said:

    I want . . . . would have LOVED to get this with a v-12

    • Legacy-san said:

      The second generation was introduced in 1996 with the V12, once an example hits 25 years old you’ll be able to bring one over. Because the appearance didn’t change, other than minor changes, your 1996 will look much the same as a 2017.

  9. SaveTheDragons said:

    What a great looking car.
    I like how they have updated it and kept it true to it’s history.

    If I had the opportunity to buy this or a Bentley or a Roller, I would buy this!

  10. Ant said:

    There’s something so incongruous yet also so right about the mix of modern and traditional in the cabin. The wool trim looks so much more comfortable than any leather-lined luxury car I’ve travelled in, and seeing wooden trim next to modern Toyota hybrid instruments is such an odd contrast I can’t help but like it.

    Like other commenters here, I’d absolutely choose one over more conventional luxury cars. Shame to lose the V12, but Toyota/Lexus’s 5-litre V8 is a very impressive engine regardless.

  11. M1abrams said:

    Kudos to Toyota for an appropriate design. The Century target market expects a design to suggest solidity, security (think bank vault) and traditional luxury. They’ve succeeded. The styling also MUST maintain these impressions for decades, not just a few years. (See Maybach for an example of how NOT to design a top-end luxury vehicle). Ultimately, the buyer in this market willnhave multiple luxury vehicles in his/her stable. That’s where Lexus designs have opportunity to wow.

    Hybrid power plant: Keep in mind that buyers in this market (CEOs, etc.), must at least appear concerned for the environment. So as long as the Century delivers necessary output, the type of power plant doesn’t matter (the buyer isn’t likely to pop the hood at shopping mall to show it off).

    I love the look of this new Century. Great job!

  12. Mark Newton-John said:

    The reason that wool is the preferred interior is that they want avoid the “sliding on leather seat farts”.

    • Nathan said:

      Wool has another advantage: temperature regulation. Leather seats feel very cold to the touch when it’s cold out and are scalding hot when exposed to too much sun. Leather also doesn’t breathe well, which can be quite uncomfortable if one is coming into the car in a suit on a hot day, especially if one is coming from an outdoor function, such as a speech. In that circumstance, wool is the much nicer material to sit on.

    • Legacy-san said:

      Wool is the preferred material for luxury sedans in Japan because an animal didn’t have to die to provide a substance to adorn the interior compartment with (interior door panels) and to sit on.

      Most mid-range luxury cars from Japanese car makers usually provide cloth interiors, with leather being an available option, but most Japanese buyers will choose cloth over leather.

      The main religion in Japan, depending on the region and the person, is either Shinto or Buddhism, and both beliefs place a reverence on all things natural, whether it’s organic or inorganic, and the sanctity of life. That’s why wood is also generously used throughout the interior.

      Being surrounded by a substance such as leather can be unsettling because an animal had to die to provide you with an adornment or a fabric for your personal transport. With wool, the animal is still alive.

      • Randy said:

        Thank you for the insight! I’d venture to say that most people in the West (U.S.) aren’t familiar enough with the culture/belief systems, hence lack the understanding of that.

  13. Mark Newton-John said:

    Nice that they kept the Phoenix and did NOT put the Toyota branding iron logo on the car.
    In fact, the car is so prestigious that you don’t even have to put on who makes it.

  14. In a world where japanese car makers seem to go crazy with design experiments on upfollowing car models, it’s nice to see that Toyota somehow still stuck to the original concept with this one. at least design-wise…

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