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Toyota Land Speed Cruiser hits 230mph to become world's fastest SUV

Auto Express logo Auto Express 08/05/2017 Joe Holding

A Toyota Land Cruiser has become the fastest SUV in the world after clocking 230mph on a 2.5-mile runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

Piloted by former NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, the heavily modified Land Cruiser added 19mph to the previous benchmark set by the Brabus Bi-Turbo V12 GLK, which has a top speed of 211mph.

Brabus can at least claim that their record was set by a production vehicle, whereas Toyota’s creation is based on a stock version of the Land Speed Cruiser concept which made its debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas in 2016.

Starting out with a 375bhp V8 - capable of just 142mph in standard trim - Toyota engineers added a pair of “volleyball-sized” turbochargers to significantly boost performance, with reinforced pistons, rods and a custom racing transmission also fitted to cope with a staggering total power output just shy of 2,000bhp.

The ride height was also lowered to reduce air turbulence underneath the chassis at high speeds, and the frame of the SUV was narrowed by three inches to accommodate the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.

But while Toyota focused on power and aero, no effort was made to save weight in order to provide vital downforce. Not including fuel and the driver, the Land Cruiser weighed in at its usual 2.6 tonnes.

“I wanted the Land Speed Cruiser to provide the confidence you need, as a driver, to keep pushing even when the world around you becomes a high speed blur,” said test driver Craig Stanton. “We made some setup adjustments, and it not only accelerates and shifts more smoothly, but it also has enhanced stability.”

Stanton reached 198mph in his warm-up run, before handing responsibilities over to Carl Edwards. The 37-year-old matched the existing 211mph record at the first time of asking, before more power was dialled in for his second attempt.

Describing his record-breaking run, Edwards said: “At 225 mph, the thing was wandering a little bit. All I could think was that Craig said, ‘No matter what, just keep your foot in it,’ and we got 230 mph. “It’s safe to say that this is the fastest SUV on the planet.”

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Related: 2017’s fastest accelerating production cars (Provided by Motoring Research)

Dodge caused quite a stir when it unveiled – or should that be unleashed – the Challenger SRT Demon at the 2017 New York Auto Show. The performance claims are wild in the extreme: world’s fastest quarter-mile production car, highest g-force acceleration of any production car, highest horsepower production V8 ever produced, to name but three. <br> Then there’s the 0-60mph time. According to Dodge, the Challenger SRT Demon – which, incidentally, is the first-ever production car to pull a ‘wheelie’ – will sprint to 60mph in just 2.3 seconds. Little wonder it has been banned from the drag strips of America. Will any car go quicker? And what else is snapping at the Demon’s heels? 2017’s fastest accelerating production cars
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