The Toyota Century is often referred to as a Japanese Rolls-Royce, and it may soon have a Cullinan equivalent.

    Japanese outlet Best Car Web reports Toyota has an SUV counterpart for its iconic flagship sedan in development which could be announced this year.

    It may simply be called Century SUV, and sales will reportedly begin around 12 months from now.

    Best Car Web has published expected dimensions of around 5.2m long and 1950mm wide. The longest LandCruiser 300 Series is 5015mm long and 1990mm wide, while the Tundra-derived Sequoia offered in North America is 5286mm long and 2022mm wide.

    The outlet reports the ultra-luxury Century SUV will be offered with a 3.5-litre hybrid V6 powertrain and “4WD that drives the rear with an e-axle” (translated), suggesting it will use an eFour set-up as with other all-wheel drive Toyota hybrids like the RAV4.

    Like the RAV4, it’ll use a front-biased all-wheel drive system and a transversely mounted engine, with expected outputs of 220kW from the petrol engine and 59kW from each electric motor.

    Toyota currently uses a 3.5-litre hybrid V6 only in the rear-wheel drive Lexus LS500h and LC500h, but such a powertrain has previously been used in the front/all-wheel drive Lexus RX450h and overseas versions of the Toyota Kluger.

    Toyota also offers a 3.4-litre twin-turbo V6 i-Force Max hybrid in the Tundra and Sequoia.

    The Century sedan, in contrast, uses a 5.0-litre V8 hybrid like the old Lexus LS600h, and is available exclusively with rear-wheel drive. All three generations of the conservative Century have used rear-wheel drive.

    While a front/all-wheel drive Toyota SUV with Century badging would be a shocking turn of events, there’s some precedent.

    The latest generation of Crown has shifted from a traditional three-box sedan with rear-wheel drive to a front/all-wheel drive vehicle with a high-riding fastback body, though a sedan is coming.

    Toyota has also applied the Crown name to both the Kluger crossover and Vellfire people mover in China.

    Best Car Web expects the Century SUV to be priced around 10-15 million yen (A$109-164,000). For reference, a Century in Japan starts at just over 20 million yen (A$218,720).

    The Century is sold exclusively in the Japanese market, where it’s popular with high-level executives and government officials as well as the Emperor of Japan and is produced in limited volumes.

    Offered only through select Toyota dealerships, it’s often finished in black with wool cloth upholstery.

    Century generations tend to last a few decades. The first Century, which used a V8 engine, was sold from 1967 to 1997 and the second, which upgraded to a V12, was sold from 1997 to 2017.

    A Century SUV wouldn’t be the only time an automaker has leveraged an established passenger car nameplate for an SUV, with the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the rumoured, upcoming Corvette SUV.

    Manufacturers long known for only offering sports cars have also ventured into the SUV market, including Ferrari, while stalwart luxury brands like Bentley and Rolls-Royce have also developed SUVs.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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