Zenshi Altrea & Altrea Newman R (2nd generation, AZ20), 1996-2000
The logo of the Altrea Newman R in 1996.
The AZ20 Altrea made it's debut in late April of 1996. Larger and more spacious than the AZ10 Altrea, the 2nd generation was developed with great care with these changes coming to mind. Despite this, it still kept it's title as "Affordable Sports Sedan" well.
Zenshi utilized a slightly lengthened version of the Grandea's platform to accommodate the 4 door setup, as well as balance overall vehicle rigidity. Compared to the AZ10, the AZ20 as a result felt more genuine and authentic in terms of styling and driving dynamics.
The engine offered in the AZ20 was the then-newly developed LZ3-ME 2.5L Inline 6 engine, making around 200 HP. The LZ2-MTE engine that was from the 1st generation's GTS-25T model was carried over to this generation's GTS25T trim. A slew of items were featured on the car, such as AWS 4-wheel steering, as well as an AWD model, which only was seen on this generation.
The car was released in the US as the Arum.
The most notable version in this generation, however, is the Newman R. Being the first on in the series, the Altrea Newman R was developed in late 1996 not only as a homologated version of the Altrea touring car, but also as tribute to one of ZMD's well renowned test drivers, Thomas-Mathieu Newman, who passed away in 1995.
The Newman R, compared to the regular Altrea, was completely different looking from the outside, possessing an aerodynamic bodywork that gives the car a rather aggressive, rowdy look. In 1998, the regular Altrea recieved a facelift that made the front resemble the Newman R a bit.
The engine powering the AZ20 Newman R is the LZ3-MTE, a turbocharged version of the LZ3-ME making 276 HP and around 300 lb-ft of torque. With careful suspension and gearbox tuning from ZMD, it made for a rather quick family hauler.
Inside, the Newman R was given a load of items made from ZMD themselves, ranging from steering wheel, shift knob, and even the interior trim itself. The standard front seats were RECARO bucket seats, which, despite giving a spartan feel, made the driver feel more at control of the car when going in high speeds.
While Zenshi has already made groundbreaking cars before it, like the Grandea and the Axia CT400 Coupe, the Newman R revolutionized it further, showing the world that they can mean business when it comes to making a performance oriented vehicle. The Altrea continued on to be the midsize sedan that was different from the crowd, the one that you would be seeing today.
Chassis Code: LZAZ20
Weight: 1472 kg
Engines: LZ3-MTE 2.5L I6 Turbo
Power: 276 HP @ 5100 RPM
Torque: 306 lb-ft @ 4300 RPM
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
0-100 km/h: 5.6s
80-120 km/h: 3.5s
Top Speed: 180 km/h limited
Fuel Economy: (Ci/Co/HW)