HOW MUCH TO PAY
The purchasing cost of a 6-speed manual RS200 will mostly depend on its manufacturing year and how many kilometres are on the odometer. Higher mileage examples in average condition start at around $11,500 in a private sale, with later model, better condition dealer examples running up to $20,000. This particular car, as supplied by Auckland car yard Wall Motors, is a 1999 model with a certified 98,000km on the clock and is priced at $13,995. Due to new registration restrictions that came into effect Jan 1 2009, early GF-SXE10 model RS200 Altezzas are now unable to be complied for use on New Zealand roads. Later model GH-SXE10 examples, however, are. But with a weak Kiwi dollar and the higher purchasing costs for later model Altezzas in Japan, itâ€™s unlikely that large numbers of these cars will be imported.
The RS200 is a car thatâ€™s just begging to be modified, and with a good aftermarket parts support network, thatâ€™s easily achieved. Engine-wise the Gen 4 V2 3S-GE needs a kick in the pants to get it humming, and soon after it was released some of Japanâ€™s biggest tuners came to the party with bolt-on forced induction kits that are still available today. Trust/GReddy, Aâ€™PEXi and HKS developed turbo kits, and Blitz built a turbo kit and a sweet-sounding supercharger kit.
All setups only generate relatively low boost, so donâ€™t expect to set the world on fire. But because they do not require the engine to be pulled apart for replacement of bottom-end componentry, theyâ€™re an easy upgrade to enhance driveability. Similar results can be achieved by piecing together a turbo kit from individual parts.
For more serious engine builds a full host of forged engine internal parts are available, including a number of stroker kits that push cubic capacity out to 2.2 litres. Combined with a bigger turbo system, the 3S-GE has the potential for huge power numbers.
Driveline and suspension upgrades are easily achieved, with most aftermarket manufacturers catering to the Altezza. A 5Ã—114.3 PCD opens up a wide selection of rear-wheel-drive wheel fitments.
Styling-wise thereâ€™s plenty on offer for the RS200, from locally produced body kits to genuine kits sourced from Japan.
Apart from the Z edition and L edition variants, Tomâ€™s (a Toyota-supported tuner) and Toyota Netz jointly built a very special Altezza on the RS200 platform in 1999. There were reputedly only 100 Altezza 280T versions ever made, with the modelâ€™s name a direct correlation to its 280hp turbocharged engine.
The 280T was basically an RS200 with performance mods and was sold with a full factory warranty through Toyotaâ€™s Netz dealerships. According to Tomâ€™s, all 100 cars were sold the first day they went on sale. Modifications include an IHI turbo, front-mount intercooler, Tomâ€™s TEC engine management system, Tomâ€™s headgasket, Tomâ€™s 6kg flywheel, Tomâ€™s Advox suspension and a special body kit, among other enhancements. The 280T made its 280hp (and 30kg/m of torque) on just 9psi boost.
Recognised by a Tomâ€™s build plate in the engine bay, only a handful of genuine 280Ts are known to exist in New Zealand.
The Qualitat edition was another special Altezza. This version added a few performance, handling and styling upgrades and was available on both the RS200 and AS200 base. Little information is available on these models.
Toyota Altezza RS200 â€“ Specifications
Engine: Toyota BEAMS 3S-GE inline-4 2.0-litre DOHC 16V, Dual VVTi, EFI, titanium valves, 11.5:1 compression ratio
Driveline: 6-speed manual gearbox (5-speed auto option), limited slip differential (option), TCS (option)
Suspension: Front/rear â€“ double wishbone, MacPherson strut, coil springs
Brakes: Ventilated disc front, solid disc rear, ABS
Wheels/Tyres: 17-inch alloy wheels, 215/45R17 tyres
Performance: Max power â€“ 210ps (154kW) @ 7600rpm (6MT) 200ps (145kW) @ 7000rpm (5AT), Max torque â€“ 22kg/m (216Nm) @ 6400rpm (6MT), 22kg/m (216Nm) @ 4800rpm (5AT)