Did a Toyota minivan really beat a Chevrolet Camaro in a hot lap race around the Willow Springs race track? Toyota claims that it happened, although it did say that it wasn’t a regular Sienna that humbled the mighty Chevy muscle car. It was the Sienna R-Tuned Concept, a fully customized Sienna that Toyota Technical Center, in collaboration with renowned performance shop DG-Spec, built specifically for the 2015 SEMA Auto Show.

Based on a stock Sienna SE "Swagger Wagon", the R-Tuned Concept falls under the category of unlikeliest cars to shame a 455-horsepower Camaro. But, was it really as surprising as some people are making it to be? The answer to that question can be found in the extensive work done by TTC and DG-Spec to turn this Sienna into an all-conquering minivan that’s oozing with swag.

The van has a racy exterior that highlights its new-found aggression on the track. It also has a stripped-down interior and enough performance modification to give its 3.5-liter V-6 engine the juice it needs to become more than just Toyota’s favorite people-hauler.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept.

  • 2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The exterior changes on the Sienna R-Tuned Concept are mostly of the aesthetic variety. That’s not a bad thing at all, especially considering how the van’s appearance turned out. Using black as the predominant color of the van, TTC and DG-Spec gave the Sienna a sporty and aggressive appearance by adding touches of yellow throughout the body. The van has yellow and white racing stripes that run from the lower front bumper all the way to rear bumper. The fog lamp casings, side sills, and exterior mirror housings also received the yellow treatment. Lastly, decals of company’s that presumably had a hand in building the R-Tuned Concept were added on the bottom part of the doors.

Interior

2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept
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Since the Sienna R-Tuned Concept was developed with performance in mind, TTC and DG-Spec wasted little time stripping down the van’s interior, taking out pretty much everything that was deemed compromising to the vehicle’s performance capabilities. So, in the interest of weight savings, all of the van’s interior amenities were taken out, leaving it with only a handful of items like the bucket seats and a roll cage. Toyota didn’t mention how much weight the Sienna R-Tuned Concept shed with the cabin fire sale, but I’ll take a stab at it and say it was significant enough to help the van outpace the Camaro.

Drivetrain

2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept High Resolution Drivetrain
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the Sienna R-Tuned Concept was able to lap the 1.7-mile track in just 1:27, a full second faster than the 455-horsepower Camaro

Proving that you don’t need a complete overhaul of the engine to make it perform better, TTC and DG-Spec took a rather alternative approach in boosting the Sienna R-Tuned’s performance capabilities. In fact, no work was actually done on the Sienna’s stock 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. Toyota instead focused on adding a clutch-type limited-slip differential to go with new wheels, performance tires, brakes, and double-adjustable shocks with racing springs.

The presumably improved performance numbers were not mentioned, but according to Toyota, the Sienna R-Tuned Concept was able to lap the 1.7-mile track in just 1:27, a full second faster than the 455-horsepower Camaro. How did that happen? As TTC and DG-Spec proved, there’s a method to making a car go faster around a track without even touching the engine. All one needs to do, as TTC and DG-Spec demonstrated, is to make sure adjustments are made to make it handle and brake better. Who cares about straight-line speed if the car, or in this case, van, can handle corners like a boss.

Conclusion

2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Paint a surprised picture on my face because I didn’t expect to see something like this. But, that’s my fault since I should’ve known better. I mean, if Toyota can somehow integrate SpongeBob Squarepants into a Sienna, the van really does provide a world of aftermarket possibilities.

I love everything about the Sienna R-Tuned Concept. The two-tone, black-and-yellow body sets the mood for what the van is really capable of and the number of modifications given to it to improve its performance capabilities is nothing short of impressive. The Camaro probably never saw that coming.

  • Leave it
    • * So much for being a people-mover
    • * Don’t expect to see more of this come out of Toyota

Press Release

Why turn a Sienna minivan—the least likely product in the Toyota lineup—into a performance vehicle? It’s one thing to make an LFA supercar go fast around a racetrack. People expect that. But no one sees a Sienna coming.

2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept High Resolution Exterior
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People’s perception of just how much fun you can have driving a family hauler will change dramatically when they see the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept, which made its debut today at Toyota’s 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show display.

Toyota Technical Center collaborated with championship-winning performance shop DG-Spec to modify a stock Sienna SE “Swagger Wagon” with performance tires, wheels, brakes, double-adjustable shocks with racing springs, and a clutch-type limited-slip differential to deliver radically enhanced performance.

The result? Even though the concept uses the Sienna’s stock 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, it has outpaced even a 6.2-liter V8 Camaro SS on the test track. At the Streets of Willow Springs, just north of Los Angeles, the Sienna R-Tuned turned a blistering 1:27 lap time, sailing past the 6.2-liter V8 Camaro by a full second around the 1.7-mile sports car course.

2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept High Resolution Exterior
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“When we produced the Sienna SE, we started moving in the direction of more sportiness beyond what you would find in a family hauler,” said Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the Sienna at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “With the Sienna R-Tuned, we wanted to see if we could create a vehicle that would push the limits even farther. We definitely proved that it’s possible.”

When asked how the Sienna R-Tuned could go faster than a 426-horsepower sports car, Lund said, “We looked at the overall dynamics of the vehicle, and made adjustments to make the vehicle handle and brake better. The Sienna R-Tuned simply carries more speed through the corners.”

2015 Toyota Sienna R-Tuned Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Yet the Sienna R-Tuned isn’t a vehicle that can only be handled by a professional driver. When tested by a select group of everyday drivers, they were truly surprised at how easy it is to drive. People felt more confident, more in control and more secure behind the wheel.

The Sienna R-Tuned can be seen November 3-6, 2015, in the Toyota display booth (#24700) located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at the 2015 SEMA Show.

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