A race-ready Toyota CUV that can best a 911 GT3. No, seriously.

SEMA is a place where the imagination reigns supreme, an event that celebrates the weird, the wild, and the most extreme that the automotive industry can muster. Case in point – this performance version of Toyota’s funky C-HR (Coupe High-Rider) compact utility vehicle. Believe it or not, this thing is so performance-oriented Toyota is claiming it as the “world’s quickest CUV.” Backing that boast is a lap time of 1 minute, 25.22 seconds at the Willow Springs International Raceway in Southern California. Quoting figures plucked from fastestlaps.com, Toyota says that time makes the CH-R R-Tuned quicker than such incredible sports machines like the Nissan GT-R Nismo, McLaren 650 S Spyder, and Porsche 911 GT3. That’s some rather heavy-hitting company for a humble subcompact crossover, but it’s got the R-Tuned has the upgrades to match. Long story short, this thing is stripped and race-ready, rocking 600 turbocharged ponies, exotic suspension components, and very effective aero.

Offered as a follow-up to the Sienna R-Tuned build that Toyota brought to SEMA back in 2015, the C-HR R-Tuned was created by Southern California speed specialists Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec for short), the same folks who turned wrenches on the hot-to-trot Sienna R-Tuned. This latest creation is even more over the top, and clear evidence that with enough dedication, you can make anything blisteringly quick – exactly the approach we want to see at SEMA.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota C-HR R-Tuned.

What Makes The Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Special

  • 300 pounds of downforce at speed
  • Carbon fiber bits shave weight
  • Several hundred pounds lighter than stock
  • Turbocharged 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder
  • 23 psi of boost
  • 600 horsepower
  • Still FWD
  • Triple adjustable dampers
  • Extensive on-track development

That’s One Mean-Looking CUV!

2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Exterior Wallpaper quality
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300 pounds of downforce at speed
This isn’t just some glossy show queen built to look the part of a racer

We wholeheartedly agree. This isn’t just some glossy show queen built to look the part of a racer – it’s really got the good stuff to make it a true terror on the track. To help it stick, DG-Spec added a variety of new aerodynamic components to the exterior. These include a new front air dam, side air dams, a new front splitter (complete with adjustable downforce levels), and a large rear wing with a gurney flap.

We think the components look great, adding even more zeal to the already aggressive looking CH-R’s stock styling. Even more impressive is how effective the components are at pushing the CUV into the pavement, producing upwards of 300 pounds of downforce when traveling over 100 mph.

Sounds Like Race Car Stuff…

2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Interior
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Extensive on-track development
The Toyota CH-R R-Tuned is a hardcore lap killer, stripped of all comforts that might hamper it in its quest for speed

That’s because it is. The Toyota CH-R R-Tuned is a hardcore lap killer, stripped of all comforts that might hamper it in its quest for speed.

As such, the interior was totally stripped behind the front seats, with bare blue metal seen as the prevailing material. That made it easier to install the extensive roll cage, Corbeau race bucket seats, and fire suppression system, while also adding some much-needed lightness.

Speaking of weight, DG-Spec also swapped in a good deal of carbon fiber for the build, including a new vented hood from Kaminari. All told, the R-Tuned sheds several hundred pounds over its stock siblings.

But What About The Power?

2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Drivetrain Wallpaper quality
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Turbocharged 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder
Under the hood you’ll find a new 2.4-liter Toyota 2AZ-FE engine, which comes stuffed with forged internals from Dezod

Oh, it’s got power and plenty of it. Take a peek under the hood, and you’ll find a new 2.4-liter Toyota 2AZ-FE engine, which comes stuffed with forged internals from Dezod to keep it sturdy, as well as a titanium and Inconel valvetrain to help it spin to new heights.

That enormous compressor you see mounted front and center is a custom DG-Spec snail from Garrett, breathing an extra 23 psi into the cylinders. It’s enough to raise peak power to an astounding 600 ponies, besting the stock C-HR’s 2.0-liter by more than 450 horsepower. Oh yeah, baby.

A five-speed Toyota E-Series manual gearbox was installed for cog-swap duties, replacing the stock CVT unit as the obvious choice for the application. Incredibly, this thing is still FWD, and it makes the most of the available grip with an OS Giken limited-slip differential.

That’s A Lot Of Output…

2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Several hundred pounds lighter than stock
The Toyota C-HR R-Tuned has what it needs to turn it all into speed

Indeed it is, but the Toyota C-HR R-Tuned has what it needs to turn it all into speed. The suspension upgrades are as stout as you’ll find on the engine, mounting triple-adjustable DG-Spec Motion Control dampers with remote reservoirs in the corners, which come complete with a full complement of supporting mods.

The lightweight 18-inch wheels are wrapped in Toyo Proxes RR tires, sized at 275/35. Under the rollers, you’ll find the Brembo logo for the big brakes, throwing in 14-inch rotors in front clamped by 4-pot calipers with monobloc billet aluminum construction.

So You’re Saying It’s Quick?

2017 Toyota C-HR R-Tuned Exterior
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Triple adjustable dampers
The Toyota C-HR saw extensive development at Willow Springs, and that’s refreshing to see at SEMA.

Very quick. The Toyota C-HR saw extensive development at Willow Springs, with tons of performance data accumulated over the course of 10 test sessions. And that’s refreshing to see at SEMA, where we often see builds that are no more than a rough assemblage of parts thrown together with an eye for looking good, rather than performance potential. A show queen, this is not.

“The C-HR R-Tuned has been to the track every month since we started the project late last year. It’s probably been subjected to more real-world tests than just about any car built for SEMA,” says DG-Spec’s owner, Dan Gardner. We believe him.

“It’s not just a show concept but a track-worthy performance vehicle,” he adds, “and I can’t wait to see what people at SEMA and beyond think!”

We approve.

References

Toyota CH-R

2018 Toyota C-HR High Resolution Exterior
- image 696121

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota CH-R.

2017 SEMA Show – Preview
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Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

Press release

Compact Utility Vehicles (CUVs) are popular for their versatility, but are not generally known for high performance—until now. Making its world debut at Toyota’s 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show display, the C-HR R-Tuned is the world’s quickest CUV.

With a 1:25.22 lap time at Willow Springs International Raceway’s (California) 2.5-mile “Big Track,” the C-HR R-Tuned turned a quicker lap time than all but five production cars according to fastestlaps.com. Some of those exotic sports cars it bested include the McLaren 650 S Spyder, Porsche 911 GT3, and Nissan GT-R NISMO.

“The Sienna R-Tuned we showed two years ago at SEMA redefined the perception of what a family minivan could become with a bit of racing inspiration,” said Steve Curtis, vice president of Media and Engagement Marketing of Toyota Division Marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “With the C-HR R-Tuned, we took it to another level entirely.”

Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec), which built the Sienna R-Tuned track-ready minivan shown at SEMA in 2015, applied even more extreme racing chops to a production C-HR.

The C-HR R-Tuned features a 2.4-liter Toyota 2AZ-FE with Dezod-supplied forged internals, a titanium and Inconel valve-train, and a custom DG-Spec Garrett turbo system that pushes power output beyond 600 horsepower at approximately 23 psi of boost.

This is mounted to a five-speed Toyota E-Series manual transmission that replaces the stock CVT. The C-HR R-Tuned remains front-wheel drive, but now has an OS Giken limited-slip differential that mediates between the drive wheels.

Not built to just go fast in a straight line, the C-HR R-Tuned features a phenomenal combination of acceleration, braking and handling. This is accomplished via Brembo racing brakes with 14-inch rotors and 4-piston billet aluminum monobloc calipers up front, and remote-reservoir, triple-adjustable DG-Spec Motion Control Suspension (MCS) motorsports dampers, among a host of other custom, go-fast goodies.

To help augment the mechanical grip made by the massive 275/35R18 Toyo Proxes RR tires, an air-dam, side dams, adjustable front splitter and imposing rear wing with gurney flap were grafted into the body to endow this C-HR with an honest 300 pounds of downforce at triple-digit speeds.

The C-HR R-Tuned leaves little doubt of its racetrack-oriented focus. The factory interior was removed aft of the front seats, along with a number of other weight-saving measures, including a Kaminari carbon fiber vented hood, shaving hundreds of pounds off the C-HR’s curb weight. It was thoroughly shaken-down at Willow Springs International Raceway during every step of the build, and performance data was extensively logged. In fact, the car was track tested no less than ten times.

“The C-HR R-Tuned has been to the track every month since we started the project late last year,” said DG-Spec owner Dan Gardner. “It’s probably been subjected to more real-world tests than just about any car built for SEMA. It’s not just a show concept but a track-worthy performance vehicle, and I can’t wait to see what people at SEMA and beyond think!”

Stylish, athletic and filled with technology like Toyota Safety Sense P™ (TSS-P), the all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR – or, Coupe High-Rider – represents a leap forward in design, manufacturing and engineering for Toyota. When it arrived at dealerships in April, the C-HR became a springboard of excitement and wanderlust for its trendsetting drivers.

The C-HR R-Tuned—along with numerous other Toyota specialty vehicles—can be found in the Toyota display booth (#24800) in Central Hall and on the Patio Annex of the Las Vegas Convention Center, October 31-November 3, 2017.

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