Toyota rolled into the 2016 SEMA Show last November with a 2,000-horsepower, twin-turbocharged Land Cruiser. It claimed this beast, dubbed the Land Speed Cruiser, could hit a top speed of 220 mph. As it turns out, Toyota was a bit conservative.
The Land Speed Cruiser achieved a top speed of 230.02 mph on the 2.5-mile runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. Toyota says that makes it the world’s fastest SUV, beating the previous record by 19 mph. It also makes this massive SUV faster than a Ferrari LaFerrari and a host of other exotic supercars. At the wheel of the Land Speed Cruiser for its record run was recentlyretired NASCAR driver Carl Edwards.
Prior to Edwards’ record run, test driver Craig Stanton got the car dialed in at Toyota’s Arizona Proving Ground. Stanton reached 198 mph during a run at Mojave, before handing the Land Speed Cruiser over to Edwards. He initially hit 211 mph, before engineers increased the turbos’ boost, allowing Edwards to reach 230 mph.
“At 225 mph, the thing was wandering a little bit,” Edwards said in a Toyota press release, “All I could think was that Craig said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230 mph.”
The Land Speed Cruiser gets its speed from a heavily modified version of the 5.7-liter V8 used in stock Land Cruisers. Each of the two turbochargers is the size of a volleyball, according to Toyota, and they suck air directly through inlets cut into the front bumper. Toyota also lowered the ride height, necessitating some changes to the frame to maintain proper suspension geometry. The frame was also narrowed by 3.0 inches to accommodate wider Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, without having to change the bodywork.
It may be awesome, but the Land Speed Cruiser has little to do with the stock Land Cruiser, which is a luxury SUV focused on off-road ability, not on-road performance. So it’s pretty funny that a Land Cruiser holds a claim to the record of world’s fastest SUV. Other automakers shouldn’t take that lying down. We’re looking at you, Jeep.