New Celica Debuts at IAA Frankfurt

9 August 1999
  • New concept based on coupe with famous heritage
  • Striking ‘cab-forward’ design for maximum interior space
  • High power-to-weight ratio for top performance
  • Safety and security a priority

The new Toyota Celica, which will debut in Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, represents a bold step forward in the design and engineering of mainstream sports coupes. Compared to past models, Celica is shorter in length, but longer in wheelbase with greatly reduced front and rear overhangs.

Striking to look at, spacious and comfortable to drive; new Celica is a 2+2 sports coupe powered by a highly sophisticated, all-new 1.8-litre VVT-i engine driving through a six-speed, precise shifting manual gearbox. Celica offers sparkling performance and excellent fuel economy. The 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine produces 140bhp (105kW) at 6,400 and 125lb ft (170Nm) at 4,200 rpm.

The new Celica is the seventh generation of this famous family of sports coupe models. In the past Celica has been the cornerstone of Toyota’s worldwide motor sport success, winning the World Rally Championship in 1993 and 1994.

New thinking

Designed by Toyota’s Calty Research division in California, the Celica is the result of Toyota’s new approach to the sports car market, combining a low, compact exterior design with a long wheelbase.

Its striking ‘cab-forward’ design was inspired by race cars, such as Toyota’s GT-One Le Mans racer and open wheeled race cars, resulting in a ‘wheel at each corner’ approach. This gives excellent agility and high-speed stability.

Toyota engineers took a fresh look at performance too. Rather than increase power simply by increasing engine size, the new Celica takes a new approach. The compact 1.8-litre VVT-i engine installed in a safe and light body shell offers a strong power to weight ratio. The result is strong performance, coupled with good handling and fuel economy.

Intelligent technology

The high technology, 1794cc, 16-valve engine uses ‘intelligent’ variable valve timing (VVT-i) to develop a maximum 140bhp (105kW) of power at 6,400rpm with maximum torque of 125lb.ft (170Nm) at 4,200rpm.

Thanks to its intelligent design philosophy, new Celica is appreciably lighter than the existing model range and offers a class leading power to weight ratio. Combining this with the exceptional low aerodynamic drag results in outstanding fuel consumption for a performance coupe: 36.7mpg (7.7 l/100km) on the combined European cycle.

The standard six-speed manual transmission has close-ratio gears from first through to fifth to maximize sporty performance while a longer gear ratio is used for its sixth speed to help reduce noise and fuel consumption during higher speed driving.


Occupant safety was of utmost importance when designing the all-new Celica. Its energy-absorbing structure was developed using a high degree of computer-aided design and engineering that drastically reduced development time. Safety features include both driver and passenger SRS airbags and front seat side airbags as standard. Anti-lock brakes with electronic braking force distribution and pre-tensioned seat belts with force limiters are also standard.

The front bumper, side members, and front and centre-floor cross members were all constructed using high-strength steel. To help disperse energy from a side impact, Celica’s side-door impact beams were also made of high-tensile steel, and for additional support, the front floor pan has been reinforced. To further help reduce any injury to the driver, the brake pedal assembly was designed to minimise pedal intrusion in a frontal collision. For stopping power the new Celica is equipped with 14″ ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear.

With newly developed, double wishbone rear suspension and refined MacPherson struts at the front, new Celica strikes a perfect balance between sports handling and comfortable, smooth ride. Noise, vibration and harshness are at class leading low levels.

Interior equipment

The new Celica has been designed to be affordable, yet buyers will find all the comfort and convenience they would expect in a car of this class. Air conditioning, electric windows, leather trim and an electric sunroof will be among the items offered on UK specification Celicas.

Storage space in the interior is ample with the front console big enough to hold eight CD cases or 10 cassette tapes as well as two oversized cups. Door and seat pockets provide excellent storage room. The rear seat backs can be folded forward, providing additional boot space.

Worldwide sales

New Celica will go on sale in the USA shortly and full UK technical specifications, options, colours, and pricing will be made available at the London Motor Show in October. Following this, the car will go on sale to the UK public.


Type In-line all aluminium 4 cylinder
Valve mechanism DOHC 16 valve VVT-i
Bore x stroke (mm) 79 x 91.5
Displacement (cc) 1794
Max. power (bhp/kW/rpm) 140/105/6400
Max. torque (lb ft/Nm/rpm) 125/170/4200
0-62mph 8.7sec
Maximum speed 127 mph
Combined 36.7
Urban 27.4
Extra-urban 45.6
Coefficient of drag 0.32
Overall length (mm) 4335
Overall width (mm) 1735
Overall height (mm) 1315
Wheelbase (mm) 2600
Track width (mm) front 1490
Track width (mm) rear 1480
Luggage capacity (litres) 323
Fuel tank capacity (L) 55
Minimum turning radius (m) 5.2
Kerb weight (kg) 1160-1185
Front MacPherson strut
Rear Double wishbone
Front 14″ Ventilated disc
Rear 14″ Solid disc
Type Power rack and pinion
Ratio 14.4:1
Turns lock to lock 2.9
Wheel size 16″ alloy
Tyre size 205/50 R16
Spare tyre Standard full size


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New Celica Debuts at IAA Frankfurt


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