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Materia Turbo finally here

2009-11-13 11:55

Thanks to an IHI turbo, intercooler, free-flow exhaust, revised induction system and performance chip Daihatsu’s Materia can now run (comfortably) with the Twingo RS and Yaris TS.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Daihatsu
Model Materia Turbo
Engine 1.5l turbo
Power 110kW @ 5 750r/min
Torque 190Nm @ 4 800r/min
Transmission Five-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 8.9 sec
Top Speed 200km/h
Airbags Two
Daihatsu’s Materia is one of the most unique-looking cars currently on sale locally.

Although the styling (with its proportionally small glasshouse surfaces) polarises some, to others it possesses a disarmingly loveable mini hotrod vibe.

So it was with great expectation that Daihatsu South Africa showed off its DRD Materia at JIMS in October last year.

Beyond alloy wheels and a substantial sound system, the car on Daihatsu’s display stand boasted a 110kW version of the 1.5l engine. This signaled Daihatsu was close to finally marketing a car in the hot hatch fold again.

Now, six months later than anticipated and more than a year after the Materia DRD was shown at JIMS, Diahatsu's Materia Turbo is finally on sale.

It looks set to shake up the junior hot hatch segment too, boasting more power than either Toyota's Yaris TS or Renault's Twingo RS.

Remember these? Probably the most criminally underrated hot hatch of the decade, primarily due to its planetary geared self-shifting four-speed transmission.

Daihatsu hot hatch heritage?

Although most hot hatch enthusiasts easily gloss over the fact, Daihatsu actually has quite a heritage with regards to producing very quick little hatchbacks.

Locally, the turbocharged YRV automatics were giant-killers between 2004 and 2006.

Sporting a kerb mass of only 890kg and powered by a 95kW 1.3l engine, these little Daihatsu YRVs left a significant void in the company’s local product portfolio when they were discontinued three years ago.

Fortunately the limited edition Daihatsu Materia Turbo will now fill that void.

Daihatsu claims 7l/100km consumption and 8.9 sec 0-100km/h acceleration - more than class competitive.

Hottest hatch in the junior batch?

Although the car now offered on sale is significantly late (it was supposed to go on sale in April) the key hot hatch certified credentials (boosted power and boy-racer looks) are dutifully present.

Although Materia Turbo's forced induction has been geared down from 0.6bar of boost to only 0.4, performance numbers remain quite similar to the JIMS showcar.

To this end the severely undersquare Materia 1.5l engine (running a stroke bias of 91.8mm to a bore of only 72mm) still produces 110kW, at an engine speed 750r/min higher than the JIMS car.

Peak rotational force is five units less than promised in October last year, factoring out to 190Nm at 4 800r/min. Daihatsu claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.9 sec and an electronically limited top speed of 200km/h.

To ensure the performance package is as symmetrical as possible in terms of dynamics, Materia turbo features a 30mm ride height reduction courtesy of Eibach lowering springs at all four wheel corners.

Curiously ABS brakes and a limited-slip front differential are optional extras...

In mitigation, the car does run special performance bias brake fluid graded with a higher boiling point, which should ensure the middle pedal's performance remains true even after severe use on track days.

Cabin sports an optional MOMO three spoke steering wheel and 1 000W amplified sound system

Plenty of boy-racer styling trinkets

Aesthetically the Materia turbo features a rear roof spoiler, tinted windows and of course there’s an air-intake scoop cut out of the bonnet surfacing to ensure that YRV heritage is continued.

Daihatsu’s hot hatch rolls 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 205/40 rubber.

Customers have option on either a five-spoke anthracite or rather ridiculous 12-spoke carbon-black with red pinstripe mag design.

The current consignment of Materia Turbos is limited to only 40 units, retailing at R219 900 each.

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