The compact C-HR crossover has been a popular model for Toyota in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the meagre 1.2-litre turbo petrol and 1.8-litre hybrid drivetrain options hardly register as blips on our radar, but Toyota has certainly piqued our interest with this SEMA concept.
Called the C-HR R-Tuned, aside from the competition car paraphernalia Toyota has fitted a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine from the RAV4 and Camry to perk up the package. Oh, and a whopping great Garrett turbo running 23psi of boost. The result is a faintly ridiculous 600bhp according to Toyota, sent through a 5-speed manual gearbox to - remarkably - the front wheels alone.
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To try and contain the fury across the front axle, Toyota has fitted a limited slip differential, track-orientated tyres, 'race-style' suspension and a massive front splitter to try build front-end grip.
The changes yield a lap time of 1:25.22 around California’s iconic Willow Springs Raceway, a record for a crossover/SUV and sixth overall for a production-ish car - between a Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 and a Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 SV.
Developed to highlight the capability of the CH-R’s modular chassis, shared with the Toyota Prius no less, a 600bhp production version is unlikely, but a performance version of the standard car with some Gazoo Racing badges isn’t so far fetched. Toyota has already previewed a hotter C-HR, called the Hy-Power, at the Frankfurt motor show earlier in the year.
Thanks to the hot Yaris GRMN and an upcoming Supra on the horizon, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is deadly serious about changing the perception of Toyota from just being a manufacturer of commuter vehicles and building desirable cars once again.