Toyota engineers went crazy with the Avalon TRD
This is the 2020 Avalon TRD Pro Concept, currently being showcased at SEMA, and it recently lapped Willow Springs racetrack in California in 1:25.300. That's 911 territory. The best thing about it is the fact that Toyota quite openly admitted they've only built this for fun.
Ed Laukes, vice president of Toyota Division Marketing, said the "Avalon has been an amazing car for Toyota, but it's never really shed its family sedan image...until now." What Toyota did was tell engineers to let their hair down and do whatever they wanted. And indeed they did. The Avalon TRD (Toyota Racing Department) was built in partnership with Dan Gardner Spec (DG-Spec) and the result is intriguing.
The first thing they did was modify the engine. The original 3.5 L V6 has been tuned with the addition of, among other things, cold air intake and a new three-inch exhaust and it now makes 330 horsepower.
There's also a new Super-Lock limited-slip diff made by OS Giken, a Japanese specialist, DG-Spec Motion Control Suspension (MCS) coilovers, new rear camber arms, an adjustable rear stabilizer bar and new Stoptech ST40 four-piston brakes were also added.
After adding power and optimizing performance and dynamic abilities, they also decided to subtract weight by replacing several parts, including suspension parts, with lighter components. The result is outstanding considering the Avalon now weighs 150 pounds less than when they started.
Dan Gardner of DG-Spec and Laukes agree that this "is the quickest FWD full-size sedan on the planet". That's a bit of a stretch but it's so nice to know that, just for once, Toyota decided to throw caution to the wind and have fun.