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The Toyota Century is finally headed to the Tokyo Motor Show as a redesigned luxe cruiser, and the third-generation will be offered as a hybrid.

No nameplate rules like the Toyota Century – the official car of the Emporer, prime ministers and esteemed captains of industry in Japan.

So, you can imagine, there was no messing around with the grand limousine's long-awaited redesign – only 20 years later!

Toyota will be unveiling a hybrid third-generation Century at the Tokyo Motor Show this month, but the overhaul mostly keeps the old-school elegance that harkens back to its roots in 1967.

This iconic car was last redesigned in 1997, now, two decades later, it's going under a mostly cosmetic knife, including LED headlamps, a more rear-slung posture and three-dimensional lights.

In addition, the rear door opening is enlarged, perhaps to ease access for the Century's traditional demographic – those in the over-50 set.

The interior still radiates its zen-like refinement in its elegant simplicity, replete with the retro-style lace curtains. It even grows longer and wider for more comfort on the inside.

However, there are some modern upgrades creeping in – including LCD panels in the armrests that enable passengers to control seat positioning, air conditioning and the audio system. A power leg rest rounds out this new model's comfort.

Under the hood, the car also finally enters the 21st century. The third-generation Toyota Century will be dropping the silky-smooth, 5.0-litre V12 engine in favour of the brand's trademark hybrid system. The next Century pairs a direct injection 5.0-litre V8 engine with a two-stage electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery for power and fuel economy.

In addition, Toyota plans a safer Century with a suite of safety technologies that include pre-crash auto-braking and blind spot monitoring.

The third-generation Toyota Century will go on sale in the middle of 2018.

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