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      02-17-2013, 08:24 PM   #989
Brigadier General

Drives: BMW
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Germany

iTrader: (0)


Pop quiz: what do you get when you take one of the worldís largest car companyís racing R&D wing, give them unlimited resources and cut them loose to improve the hottest compact car in the world today? Answer: the TRD Griffon Concept. Donít let the wacky name fool you, this car is all business; and unlike most half-cocked concepts, you might actually want to drive it.

Fortunately, at least if you were a Toyota test driver, you could Ė because this car is more than just a show-piece but is actually an R&D test mule. In fact, the car has already logged many test miles at circuits like Tsukuba where Dino caught a rare first glimpse of the car back in December before its debut at Tokyo Auto Salon.

I would imagine then that most of you have probably already seen this car at some point, but I doubt many of you have had this in-depth of a look. On the exterior itís obvious that something fairly incredible has been done to the car, but itís only after you peek beneath the surface that the staggering transformation can really be appreciated.

In fact, Iíd argue that aside from the obvious bits like the canards, rear diffuser and pointy wing, the outside really doesnít give much away. The first time I saw the car at TAS I actually moved on rather quickly, it wasnít until I went in for a closer look the next day that it became obvious I would have to get better acquainted with the car once the show was over.

Of course a spotlight on the car was a mandatory part of our TAS coverage, but Dino and I knew that we needed to spend some more time with the car in order to do it justice. Thereís just so much awesome oozing out of every last millimeter that canít be properly appreciated in the context of a car show.

Case in point: just take a look at the wheel / tire / brake areaÖ itís mind blowing. Items donít get much more top-shelf than TE37SLs and six-piston Brembo calipers with floating rotors. I donít think that thereís a ZN6 owner anywhere in the world that wouldnít kill for that package! But this stuff is just the tip of the iceberg.

TRD has completely re-sculpted virtually the entire exterior of the car, adding width, ducts, channels and dive planes to various surfaces. While much of the car is still in a bespoke prototype phase, there are also items, like the TRD ďFront Fender Aero FinsĒ that we also saw on TRDís other demo car a few weeks ago, that you can actually purchase.

Around back itís more of the same, lots of aero bits and pieces that have been masterfully shaped out of dry carbon and fiberglass and painstakingly grafted to the body.

The centerpiece of the rear bumper, both literally and metaphorically, is the rear diffuser with a center-exit exhaust pipe which terminates in a glorious triangular shaped megaphone. Itís the little details like the way the exhaust is finished or the corresponding heat-sheild where you start to catch little hints that TRD might be showing off a littleÖ

But thatís nothing compared to the rear wing, which really starts to hint at just how serious of an exercise the Griffon is. Iíve seen a lot of wings in my day mounted to all sorts of cars ranging from rusted-out-ricebuckets to top-tier-motorsport and Iíve never seen something so technically sound and beautiful as this.

If youíll excuse me, Iím going to go off on a bit of a rant here, but I think youíll find it just. You see, I donít believe that the word perfection accurately describes the spoiler mounted on the Griffon. I could stare at this thing for hours, in fact I think over the course of the shoot I didÖ and I didnít manage to find a single strand of fiber out of place.

The uprights are proper motorsport-style mounts with multiple adjustment points to fine-tune the angle-of-attack. Notice the chamfered trailing edges of the wing to reduce drag, serious business indeed.

Of course the wing is also height-adjustable via the bottom of the uprights which can be dialed-in under the trunk lid. Is your brain hurting yet? My god the things I would do for something like this for my CivicÖ

The use of carbon fiber isnít just limited to smaller bits and pieces, in fact itís almost grotesque how completely covered the Griffon is in the stuff. And weíre not talking run-of-the-mill carbon fiber either, take everything you know about the stuff and throw it out the window. This is 100% Formula 1 level perfection weaves weíre dealing with.