1st Generation Tanaka Raikan (2005-2015)
Tanaka Raikan 2.0 G Facelift shown
Tanaka wanted to get into the entry-level sports car market since they already have a supercar and a GT. So, they started developing it from 2003 and was introduced in the 2004 Tokyo Auto Show for the 2005 model year. The body was made from full aluminium with a monocoque chassis made of light AHS Steel. A front McPherson strut was originally planned, but because of the design, it couldn’t fit inside. So, Tanaka used double wishbones for the front. The rear is a multi-link setup. Since the 3rd generation X-Series uses a twin-turbo V6 at the time, Tanaka scrapped the V6 idea for the Raikan and replaced it with a modernized version of the Inline 4 from the 4th generation Tanaka Aventis 2.0 TR (the K-Series). The Raikan is only available in a coupe body style. While some people like the coupe, others complained that it needed a convertible model. The convertible model will be available for the next generation. Customers loved its sportiness, fun factor, its price and its very good fuel economy. When it first came out, the rear design was thought to be controversial. However, as time goes by, people got used to its looks.
Pre-facelift era (2005-2012)
Tanaka Raikan 2.0 B shown
Tanaka Raikan 2.0 G shown
The 2.0 B is the base model. It uses the K20MPEFI-A2 unit producing 177HP and 141 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission going to the rear wheels. The differential is a mechanical LSD. The rims are 16-inch 5-spoke alloys wrapped around medium compound tires. Despite the tires, it can still do 1.03 g’s. The brakes are vented as standard. It has a semi-clad undertray. The interior is made of standard cloth seats with a basic CD player. It has advanced 90s safety. It can do 0-60mph in 6.07 seconds, a top speed of 142mph, a fuel economy of 30mpg and a weight of 1014kg.
Tanaka Raikan 2.0 S shown
The 2.0 G was a fully-loaded 2.0 B. The changes are sports compound tires, a new rim design, a standard CD and advanced 00s safety. Acceleration and top speed is the same as the 2.0 B, but it is heavier (now 1046kg) and fuel economy is lower (now 28.9mpg).
This is the 2.0 S, the rarest 1st generation Raikan of them all. It is only available from 2007-2008. Only 350 of these were ever made because of the economic crisis. Originally, it was only for the JDM market. However, some people in Europe managed to get their hand on these cars. It was only available in RHD. What made this so special is that it is the only factory 1st generation Raikan to weigh under 1000kg (984kg to be exact). The engine is also tuned to make 203HP and 153 lb-ft of torque. The rev limiter was raised to 8200RPM to make sure that the power is better used. The exhaust is all straight through. The gearing was slighly longer. It has a fully-clad undertray with an active aero system and a rear diffuser. It has a basic CD player. The rims are made of magnesium to save more weight and the rear tires are wider. Safety features were reduced to save even more weight, the interior uses a little bit of carbon fibre and seats made of aluminium to save even more weight, the sway bars are now semi-active and the suspension is lower and stiffer. Camber was also more agressive. It can do 0-60mph in 5.34 seconds, a top speed of 149mph and can do 26.3mpg. Owners really loved these cars. As a result, only 88% of these cars were one-owner cars and thus, these versions are highly sought after. Although not a TR version, it is still few of the greatest Tanaka ever made.
Post-facelift era (2013-2015)
Tanaka Raikan 2.0 B Facelift shown
Tanaka Raikan 2.0 T shown
The facelift brought big changes. It includes a new front fascia, LED headlights, new rim designs, increased reliability, increased fuel economy (all versions can do over 30mpg very easily), increased satety features, new infotainment systems (to replace the outdated CD players) and most importantly, the K-Series engine is now direct injection (now called the K20DI-A1) which now makes 184HP and 147lb-ft of torque. The facelift also brought in 2 new trims, the 2.0 T (to replace the 2.0 S) and the 2.0 TR.
Tanaka Raikan 2.0 TR shown
This is the 2.0 T. The K20DI-A1 EarthBoost unit (yep, it is turbocharged!) now making 246HP and 227 lb-ft of torque, all while also increasing fuel economy (it can now do 36.8mpg). The rim diameter is now increased to 17-inches. The suspension setup is sportier, and also lowered. It can do 0-60mph in 5 seconds flat and has a top speed of 160mph. The 2.0 T proved to be quite popular.
This is the 2.0 TR, the fastest and best-performing version of the 1st generation Raikan. It was available only for 2014-2015. Only 500 of these were ever made. It uses the K20DI-B1 EarthBoost unit (the final iteration of the K-Series engine) making 267HP and 292 lb-ft of torque. It has a new body-kit, a hood scoop to cool the engine, a new rear wing, exposed intercooler, 17-inch magnesium rims, wider tires, a fully-clad undertray, a sports interior, a basic infotainment system, standard 00s safety, launch control, adaptive dampers and a lowered and sportier suspension setup. It can do 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds, a top speed of 160mph (drag limited) and can do 1.20 g’s of lateral grip in a 20m radius circle.