The first-generation Laurel, the C30, was launched in April 1968. Following two full model changes in April 1972 and January 1977, the fourth-generation model, the C31, was launched on November 5, 1980.
The C31 was distinguished by its simple and clean styling. Its slanted nose and low hood gave the C31 superior aerodynamics (Cd: 0.38). It was the first Laurel to be equipped with a turbocharger and Engine Central Control System (ECCS), and it also offered several features to improve cabin comfort: an improved suspension, a roomier interior, auto-levelizer (a device to maintain vehicle height automatically), Japan's first automatic seat-setter with a seat lifter that can adjust steplessly, computer-controlled automatic air conditioner, and high-quality audio system.
Eight engines were available: the 4-cylinder Z18 and Z20; the 6-cylinder L20, L20E, L20ET and L28E; and the diesel LD20 and LD28. Also, the wide range of basic model types included 38 sedans and 20 hardtops. Top of the line was the Medalist, powered by either a 2,000cc or 2,800cc gasoline engine and equipped with an auto-levelizer, computer-controlled automatic air conditioner, high-quality audio system, and ASCD (Automatic Speed Control Device) as standard.