2000bhp Toyota Land Cruiser becomes world's fastest SUV

The massively turbocharged off-roader hits a top speed of 230mph

Toyota’s barge-like off-roader, the Land Cruiser, is usually found doing battle with Land Rover Discoverys and Mitsubishi Shoguns in muddy bogs or cresting dunes in the Middle East.

You won't typically find it blasting down runways at speeds a Jaguar XJ220 or Bugatti EB110 could only hope for. But that’s exactly what this ‘Cruiser is has been designed to do, and it has claimed the title of the world’s fastest SUV with a top speed of 230mph. 

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

The first task in transforming the huge SUV into one with a top speed capable of shaming the current trio of hybrid hypercars was to give it more power. A lot more power. Toyota’s LA based Motorsport Technical Centre (MTC) started with an American-spec Land Cruiser with a naturally-aspirated 5.7-litre V8 that puts out 381bhp.

> Read about the McLaren F1's top speed world record attempt

Advertisement - Article continues below

Toyota kept the same basic engine but added two huge ‘volleyball-sized’ Garret turbochargers to help push peak power to over 2000bhp. The engine’s internals were also suitably upgraded to cope with the turbos’ 55psi maximum boost.

The Land Cruiser’s eight-speed all-wheel drive transmission was scrapped in favour of a three-speed drag racing gearbox with an overdrive sending power to rear wheels only.

The MTC engineers also took on the not insubstantial task of making the Land Cruiser scythe through the air with a little more grace. The entire body was lowered by around 130mm to reduce the amount of air passing under the car, while the underbody was made smooth with a flat panels and a diffuser to reduce the turbulence of any air that does find its way under the car. The wing mirrors were replaced by small cameras to reduce the SUV’s frontal area and a rear spoiler with a sizable gurney flap helps push the driven rear wheels into the tarmac.

To pilot the vast (and vastly powerful) off-roader to its ludicrous top speed, Toyota called upon ex-Toyota NASCAR driver Carl Edwards. He performed the runs in California at the 2.5 mile long runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

Just during the warm-up session the Land Cruiser hit 198mph. Then on the first proper attempt Edwards hit 211mph, enough to match the Brabus Bi-Turbo V12 GLK – the previous SUV top speed record holder.

After cranking up the boost slightly another attempt was made and Edwards blasted up to the record-breaking top speed of 230.02mph. 

Advertisement - Article continues below



AC Schnitzer reveals styling and power upgrades for Toyota GR Supra

27 Nov 2019

Car pictures of the week

8 Nov 2019

Next generation Toyota Mirai revealed as hydrogen flagship

11 Oct 2019

2019 Toyota Corolla hybrid hatch review

10 Jul 2019

Most Popular


2020 Volkswagen Golf GTI spied testing

The next Golf GTI has been spotted testing in the Arctic Circle before its reveal next year
27 Nov 2019

AC Schnitzer reveals styling and power upgrades for Toyota GR Supra

BMW powertrain opens Japan’s latest sports car up to top German tuner
27 Nov 2019
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019
Polestar 1

Polestar 1 review

One of the most appealing electrified vehicles on offer from any manufacturer, but not without its flaws
25 Nov 2019