By on June 10, 2021

Toyota is reportedly taking the performance aspects of its brand, which some of our readers might recall has been a little spotty, very seriously and has begun making plans to broaden the horizons of the Gazoo Racing (GR). The sub-brand, which seems to be gradually supplanting Toyota Racing Development (TRD), has introduced a slew of GR-badged models in Asia and Europe and will be affixing the title onto the returning 86 coupe. It has also slapped the performance designation onto the current-generation Supra here in North America, with no intention of stopping there.

According to Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota North America, the Japanese manufacturer wants to extend the GR treatment to even more models. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2021

When the 2022 Subaru BRZ debuted last year, our general impression was that the second-generation coupe didn’t appear all that different from the original. While excellent news for those seeking a well-balanced, lightweight sports car that can be driven aggressively on public roads or serve as a solid foundation for any number of track-focused build projects, the manufacturer decided against throwing out curveballs. The car’s purpose remains unchanged, it’s just been remade into a better version of itself. But the BRZ’s fraternal twin, the Toyota GR 86, had a few more weeks in development with President Akio Toyoda rumored to have been pushing for modifications that would help differentiate the two models — much like the automaker did with the similarly related Toyota Supra and BMW Z4.

While limited to the same hardware as the Subaru, Toyota is claiming the new GR 86 makes a tad more horsepower and is hinting it could be the more serious sporting machine. Both of those claims remain unverified and, if the duo is anything like their first-generation, deciding which is the faster 2+2 car will have almost everything to do with which rubber is on the wheels and who’s been placed into the driver’s seat. But the pilot will have an alleged advantage of 4 horsepower in the 86, forcing the BRZ to bring in Subaru Tecnica International (STI) aboard to offer some enhancements of its own.

(Read More…)

By on October 19, 2020

The Toyota Land Cruiser is dead. Long live the Toyota Land Cruiser?

The saga of the Land Cruiser is getting confusing. First, we picked up on reporting from Motor Authority that suggested the LC will soon be sent to the great junkyard in the sky, although the Lexus version will soldier on. Part of that report suggested that there is a new generation for the Land Cruiser on the way, but perhaps not to be sold here.

(Read More…)

By on August 4, 2020

Previewed way back at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota’s (Gazoo Racing) GR Super Sport Concept now serves as the template for its next entry into 24 Hour of Le Mans, tapped for the new Hypercar Class that’s effectively replacing FIA’s World Endurance Championship LMP1. The new classification is supposed to reinvigorate the sport by mandating homologation of the wildest inductees, a practice which often leads to the most stunning performance machines ever to grace the road.

That means Toyota has to build at least 20 examples of something street legal that shares more than a handful of components with its LM racer. Rumor has it, something is already in development — and should exist well beyond the confines of what one normally thinks of when they envision Toyota products.

(Read More…)

By on May 7, 2020

Toyota appears to be ready to answer a call, hinting at — but stopping short of confirming — the future arrival of a small car with outsized performance on American shores.

The automaker’s U.S. arm greeted Thursday by gathering up consumers who’d like to hear more about a GR-badged hot hatch from the company. GR meaning Gazoo Racing, an abbreviation already slapped on a two-door Yaris screamer not available on this continent. Boasting a very blown three-cylinder and all-wheel drive, this Yaris is not your coworker’s wife’s commuter. Nor will its one-size-up sibling be anything to scoff at.

Toyota clearly sees opportunity in the compact hot hatch space, and rumors and trademarks have spoken to this for some time. Today, Toyota’s speaking about it. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

There’s no question that Toyota wishes posters of its cars were found on the bedroom walls of more teenage boys, and, to its credit, it’s made headway on that goal. Supra, anyone? Then there’s the TRD Camry and Avalon, which might raise eyebrows if found in said posters.

That said, the injection of sport into the brand’s once staid lineup seems poised to target the lower end of things. We’ve seen the overseas GR Yaris, an exciting hot hatch not bound for these shores, but Toyota’s focus now seems to be turning to higher-volume small cars. This is where things could get interesting for North America. (Read More…)

By on January 15, 2020

Thanks largely to its status as a niche product, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ have been on deathwatch for years. But their saving grace as stellar machines to drive has kept them from being abandoned. The Toyobaru Twins still receive quite a bit of love, even if the affection is not spread around all that liberally. Despite this, both models are expected to receive a successor.

While a quick glance at their sales record makes this seem like a losing strategy, Toyota remains obsessed with rebuilding its reputation within motorsport (often with help from another manufacturer). Toyota head Akio Toyoda has even expressed a personal dream of returning to an era where the company has revived — or replaced — its most iconic performance models. The Supra and 86 are already here, leaving room for the Celica and/or MR2. Ditching the 86 would be a step backwards, even if it only moved 3,398 units in the United States last year — its worst showing to date.  (Read More…)

By on January 14, 2020

Up until now, the 2020 Toyota Supra has only been available with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six sourced from BMW. Producing 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque, the mill is best suited for those interested in track-day excursions and tempting fate on sweeping backroads. However, there’s a new entry level model coming to Europe that caters to those seeking the Supra experience who find themselves a few grand shy of being able to buy the thing.

On Tuesday, Toyota announced the “first extension of the GR Supra sports car range” will carry a 2.0-liter turbo making 258 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. While the manufacturer calls it a new engine, it’s technically another mill sourced from BMW (the Z4 already uses it). But that shouldn’t keep it from being a welcome addition to the GR Supra party.  (Read More…)

By on July 23, 2019

Toyota GAZOO Racing showed their Supra GT4 Concept at the Geneva motor show in March, but the word “Concept” must be emphasized. While they are planning to bring the car to market, and parading it on the media accounts, the entire program is very early in its development. With no existing sales and support team based in the United States, let’s investigate what it will take to bring the GT4 to IMSA and SRO GT America competition in the U.S.

GT4 is an international homologation specification that is owned by the SRO Motorsports Group and adopted by race sanctioning bodies around the globe. The Supra GT4 will be entering a class that includes entries such as the Aston Martin Vantage, Audi R8, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, McLaren 570S, Mercedes-AMG GT, Porsche Cayman, and — of course — the BMW M4. (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2019

This one is sure to set tongues wagging and keyboards clacking. The return of the mighty Supra nameplate is — depending to whom you speak — either an abomination the likes of which the motoring world has never seen, or a wonderful harbinger of all things fun and sporty.

For the record, your author is in the latter camp. Don’t @ me.

Three trims of the are new Supra available at launch: Base 3.0, Premium 3.0, and a Launch Edition. Is the entry-level model worth a mention? Or should one proceed directly to one of the more expensive options?

(Read More…)

By on February 10, 2019

Considering the Toyota Supra was revealed to the world just a few weeks ago, it feels slightly premature for the manufacturer to start releasing special editions of the model. However, we’ve heard it’s important to strike while the iron is hot in business and the Supra is certainly operating well above room temperature. It would be silly to think Toyota would cool its heels after two years of teasing the Supra just because it finally went on sale.

Now that you can buy the coupe, Toyota wants everyone to know that they’ll also be able to purchase snazzy upgrades for it through the performance catalog and released the GR Supra Performance Line Concept TRD over the weekend as a reminder. Like the BMW M Performance Parts Concept that appeared over the summer, the Supra exists to show the world what’s possible when the full force of the TRD catalog is harnessed.

Unfortunately, engine upgrades aren’t currently a part of that equation. Like the M Performance car, the TRD Supra receives no improvements to its powertrain. Instead, Toyota showcased a festival of spoilers and fins aimed at optimizing the coupe’s aerodynamics.  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2019

Built for current Toyota patriarch Akio Toyoda, the Century GRMN celebrates both the man and his desire to create a more emotive and performance-driven automaker. With the V12 gone, the standard Toyota Century is powered by a direct-injected, 5.0-liter V8 with a two-stage electric motor and nickel-metal hydride battery. The powertrain is good for a claimed for 375 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, delivered silky smooth.

Painted white (below the break), the GRMN prototype nixes some chrome trim and adds black ground effects, subtle red stripes, and applicable badging. But Toyota never bothered to tell us what Gazoo Racing actually did to improve the car. Presumably, suspension and engine upgrades abound. But, as the car was meant as a one-off gift for Toyota’s president, we never heard about them.

Then, at the Tokyo Auto Salon, a second one appeared — casting doubts that this car doesn’t have aspirations for a super-lux market that’s currently thriving.  (Read More…)

By on December 28, 2018

Ten years ago, Toyota fielded a solid lineup of passenger vehicles that were about as exciting as lukewarm tap water. However, the company has since embarked on a quest to change its trajectory and spice things up. Phase one included revision to the firm’s design language. Phase two involved tapping into the brand’s performance heritage and utilizing Gazoo Racing to help develop performance variants of existing models in Japan.

With models like the Supra making a return and other re-imaginings of performance icons in the works, things are now clipping along at full steam over at Toyota. Unfortunately, not all of its upcoming offerings make sense. While the TRD versions of the Camry and Avalon do more to bolster dynamics than sport-inspired appearance packages offered by other manufacturers, next month’s debut of the TRD Prius is utterly bewildering. These aren’t the first models that come to mind when one imagines Toyota injecting more pep and attitude into the brand.  (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2018

Toyota has been exceptionally vocal about its desire to spice up the brand and, for the most part, it has delivered. Expressive, sometimes polarizing, designs have begun populating its lineup as company president Akio Toyoda endlessly talks up the merit of sporting vehicles. While other chief executives focus solely on promoting mobility, he’s discussing the importance of building fun-to-drive cars.

The company’s motorsports group, Gazoo Racing (GR), has even started cranking out tuned versions of the brand’s road cars. However, none of them have made it to North America — nor will they. Despite all of Toyoda’s seemingly earnest talk of performance models, the United States hasn’t seen it manifest into anything tangible.

Considering Toyota also decided not to offer GR models in the U.S., and with cost-cutting measures making the 86 coupe a potential candidate for discontinuation, Akio’s grand vision doesn’t look particularly robust in the West.  (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2018

While the returning Toyota Supra should be big news, the endless parade of teasers without any real information has left everyone feeling burned out. We previously announced that the vehicle would debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week. But Toyota later clarified that the car we would see wouldn’t be the production version and remain camouflaged, resulting in rage-induced nose bleeds at automotive-media outlets across the globe.

Our expectations couldn’t be lower but we still had to check and see if any new information could be gleaned from the event. We definitely got a better look at it but technical specifications remained elusive. We did learn a thing or two, though. (Read More…)

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