Land Cruiser from Toyota is anything but fast. The mammoth SUV is known for its off-roading prowess combined with luxurious cabin. To give us a sense of how fast can a Land Cruiser go, Toyota showed a one-off Land SUV fitted with a couple of turbochargers at the SEMA last year. What was special about this Cruiser was that it had an estimated top-speed of 220 mph or 352 kmph.
While we were skeptical about the claimed top speed, Toyota did manage to surprise us with a speed-run of this particular Land Cruiser. Scientists at Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Centre added a pair of Garrett turbochargers to the Cruiser and managed to push the SUV to not 220 mph, but 230 mph, that roughly translates to 368 kmph.
That’s quite an achievement considering how big the SUV is. Land Cruiser is an old-school, body-on-frame SUV of massive proportions with nearly 3 tons of weight. It has three-row leather seating that could easily accommodate eight passengers, full-time four-wheel drive and is powered by a 381-horsepower 5.7-litre V8 engine.
Now just imagine with such features and space, the Land Cruiser is not made to annihilate speed-records, neither it has such aerodynamic properties. But this particular Land Cruiser completely obliterating the 211-mph record previously held by a Brabus-modified Mercedes GLK V12.
The record run was completed by retired NASCAR driver Carl Edwards at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert. The 2.5-mile runway saw the initial run that managed to match the Brabus’ 211-mph record. In the second run, Edwards managed a GPS-verified speed of 230.02 mph.
“I wanted the Land Speed Cruiser to provide the confidence you need, as a driver, to keep pushing even when the world around you becomes a high speed blur,” Edward said. “We made some setup adjustments, and it not only accelerates and shifts more smoothly, but it also has enhanced stability.”
But there’s a catch to it. While you can buy the street-legal Brabus Mercedes for half a million dollars, the fastest SUV in the world – turbocharged Land Cruiser is a strictly one-off mad experiment. Though, calling a one-off custom-built racer the fastest SUV in the world, will be a bit unfair for Brabus Mercdes, which you can actually buy. Still, a record is a record.
“At 225 mph, the thing was wandering a little bit. All I could think was that Craig said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230 mph,” Edwards recounted his record. “It’s safe to say that this is the fastest SUV on the planet.” So what other changes apart from the turbochargers were made?
Since the stock Toyota V8 would never have handled such pressure, the engineers upgraded the internals with race-spec pistons and connecting rods. A custom intake manifold was also added to increase the breathing, in addition to addressing “other key items.” Toyota is not revealing more details, but we are sure a plenty of them helped them to roll out 2,000 horsepower of massive power, sent through a custom racing transmission.
But as seen in the images, the suspension was lowered and narrowed to deal with 200-plus mph airflow. A wide set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres were added to the frame which was also tweaked to help suspension geometry. For obvious reasons, the Land Cruiser was given a full interior roll-cage with a racing driving seat.