We're talking rear-wheel-drive AND a twin-turbo engine.
Today's eighth-generation Toyota Camry is a far departure from nearly all of its predecessors. This time around, it's more emotional thanks to dynamic styling and better overall handling characteristics. Is it a BMW rival? No, but it does offer plenty of attitude, especially the TRD variant. It's just a shame it took Toyota this long to understand some American Camry buyers want to have fun behind the wheel. In Japan, Toyota has been catering to enthusiasts for years, even in the mid-size sedan segment. The Chaser is proof.
Dating back to 1977, the Chaser was a premium mid-size sedan that had two key elements the Camry doesn't: rear-wheel-drive and, in later generations, a twin-turbocharged inline-six engine. Oh, and buyers could also opt for a manual.
A premium RWD turbocharged sedan with a stick from Toyota? Sounds very BMW-ish to us. Too bad Toyota never intended for it, along with other cool sedans like the Crown and Cressida, to be shipped stateside. The Chaser was discontinued after the 2001 model year with no direct successor. Meanwhile, the Camry lives on, but at least it's better than ever before. But for those who still dream of owning the closest thing to a BMW, that's also an affordable Toyota, here's your best bet.
Up for auction on Car and Bids is this modified 1993 Toyota Camry Chaser. Obviously, it's a Japanese-spec, meaning right-hand-drive but it comes with an array of cool upgrades such as 18-inch staggered-width, bronze-painted alloy wheels, a Lexus LS 430 "big brake" kit, aftermarket coilovers and sway bars, and a 3-inch stainless-steel straight-piped exhaust.
Attention was also given to the front end with the addition of LED headlights, front lip delete, and a modified bumper to accommodate an intercooler. There are also side skirts and rear bumper extensions. But the best part is under the hood. A 2.5-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six is found with 276 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual channels that output to the rear wheels.
The interior received some attention as well by way of a Momo steering wheel, aftermarket shift knob, a Recaro front passenger seat, and a Period Bride Brix driver's seat. Even the instrument panel has been replaced with one from the next-gen Chaser. True mileage is unknown, likely because it was imported. As of this writing, the highest bid is just $4,219 and the auction ends on May 14.