Toyota’s off-roading icon, the LandCruiser, is not the model you might expect to carry the title of ‘world’s fastest SUV’.
And Jeep’s new Grand Cherokee Trackhawk sets a pretty high bar, with a 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 290km/h.
But a 230.02 MPH (368km/h) run by retired NASCAR driver Carl Edwards in a Toyota LandCruiser has put the result beyond doubt, and Toyota says with enough roadway the LandCruiser could have travelled even faster.
Of course the LandCruiser - or “Land Speed Cruiser” as it has now been dubbed - needed a little help to achieve such a high speed.
That help came from 2000 horses under the bonnet, with the standard 5.7 litre petrol V8 engine receiving a pair of “volleyball-sized” Garrett turbochargers capable of producing up to 55 PSI of boost.
The engine’s internals were toughened to cope with the extra power, including pistons, rods and a custom-made inlet manifold, and the standard transmission was ditched for a racing version capable of transferring all of that power to the wheels.
Suspension was lowered to aid stability at higher speeds, and the frame was even narrowed by three inches to allow for some fat Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
“At Toyota, we like to say ‘Let’s Go Places,’ and the Land Speed Cruiser goes places faster than any SUV before it - this was an aspirational goal that inspired us all,” Toyota’s Steve Appelbaum said.
“We achieved success by employing the kind of innovative solutions and unyielding determination that have long represented the core of Toyota’s soul.”
The 2.5 mile (4km) Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California, provided the perfect backdrop for the speed run, and Edwards performed two practice runs at 198 and 211 MPH (317 and 338km/h - the latter being the old record) before the team wound up the boost for the big one.
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