The bottom-end received a grip of reinforcement to serve his power demands, not necessarily for reinforcement but for longevity with newer metals and fresh components. The guys at R Performance installed forged Tomei pistons and connecting rods in preparation for the ogre-esque T04R turbo. An HKS standalone computer controls the engine assembly working in conjunction with its various sensors. A five-speed R154 transmission, a direct cousin of the robust six-speed Supra V160 Getrag, was reused but upgraded with a twin-plate Ogura Racing Clutch. The rejuvenated powertrain gave the Soarer reliable and quick-spooling power with a peak of 550whp, plenty of cojones for Nakamura-san’s weekend drift events.
The second-generation Toyota Matrix was introduced for 2009 and ran essentially unchanged through 2013. It offered a new exterior design, more standard safety features, and more power than its predecessor. The base model continued with a 1.8–liter engine producting 132 horsepower, while new S and XRS variants featured a 158-hp, 2.4-liter engine. The most fuel-efficient model was the 1.8-liter model equipped with the standard five-speed manual, though an aging four-speed automatic was also available. The manual version returned an EPA-rated 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.