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The New Land Cruiser Gets the Gazoo Racing Treatment to evolve into an even more intimidating off-road-ready SUV.
Toyota’s new 300 series Land Cruiser, forbidden fruit for us, is the latest model to receive the Gazoo Racing treatment. Complete with a redesigned exterior and GR Sport enhancements, the legendary SUV comes injected with Toyota’s sporting DNA for the first time. Unveiled in 2021, the latest iteration of the Land Cruiser has been substantially upgraded, in terms of comfort and technology.
What’s more, Toyota has also provided more efficient engines for the LC 300. It’s important to note that the GR Sport Land Cruiser 300 is not the Gazoo Racing machine with high-performance engine upgrades like the GR Yaris or GR Supra. Rather, the GR Sport adds racing trim and suspension tweaks, making it a more off-road-focused model.
For many years, Toyota Land Cruiser's have always retained that utilitarian ruggedness and infallible image, which is no bad thing. However, in a market where other automotive brands such as Range Rover and Mercedes are leaping forward in technology, design, and making less polluting engines, the monotonous regularity of the Land Cruiser product was beginning to turn customers away.
With sales of the LC 200 rapidly dwindling in the US, Toyota decided to cease sales of its legendary halo SUV this year. After fourteen years on the market, Toyota launched the LC 200 replacement, the eagerly awaited 300 series.
The GR Sport model, sits at the top of the Land Cruiser range, with a price tag of $70,000 for the petrol model, and around $73,200 for the diesel. Regardless of semiconductor shortages delaying production and worldwide supply of the LC 300, the biggest downside is that the brilliant GR Sport Cruiser will not be available in the US and Europe.
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Aesthetically, the Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport comes with a unique muscular presence. The GR badge, no doubt, gives it plenty of kudos. Gazoo racing detailing comes with black exterior trim accents, including the wheel arches, door handles, and mirror surrounds.
Moreover, the 18-inch matte alloy wheels are unique to the model and look stunning. However, the most conspicuous feature is the enormous black honeycomb radiator grille with the decals Toyota and GR Sport emblazoned across it.
The enormous cabin is surprisingly modern and very well-equipped with excellent fit and finish, as you would expect from the Japanese marque. Importantly, the LC 300 interior has undergone a major revamp, in terms of tech and ergonomics. Feels more luxurious than any previous Cruiser.
Moreover, the equipment levels for the GR Sport model are in line with the higher spec models of the LC 300. However, the GR Sport features full leather black and red sports seats with GR logos, which provide greater comfort and come with electronic adjustment.
With many GR Sport logos dotted around the cabin, they serve as a constant reminder you are in something special. In addition, carbon fiber trim inserts in the leather-clad sports steering wheel, door panels, and center console are a neat touch.
A new graphically sharp 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen sits in the center of the dashboard, featuring Navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, amongst other things. It also features a special start-up screen for the GR model. The Cruiser scores highly in refinement and driver environment.
Moreover, it also comes packed with an array of driver aids as part of Toyota’s Safety Sense package, which includes radar cruise control, lane track assist, and pedestrian and cyclist detection. Toyota sensibly made the LC 300 GR Sport a five-seater only. With the absence of the third-row seat, the trunk space increases to 1031 liters.
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Along with a new engine line-up, Toyota, controversially, decided to ditch the legendary V8 powerplant for the Land Cruiser 300 range. Under the enormous hood of the GR Sport now sits a more powerful and fuel-efficient, 3.3-liter twin-turbo diesel engine as shared with its stablemates.
The new engine churns out 309 horsepower and a massive 700 NM of torque, making it more powerful than the 8-cylinder unit in its predecessor. What’s more, the diesel propels to 60 mph in a respectable 7.5 seconds. There’s also the option of a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo petrol unit which produces 415 horsepower with 650 NM of torque. T
The 0-60 mph sprint takes just under 7 seconds; no doubt impressive for this mammoth off-roader. Both engines are now linked to a new 10-speed transmission, which provides the V6 units with excellent pulling power.
Related: Toyota Land Cruiser 300 With Carbon Body kit Looks Stealthy
Once you get over the size of the thing, the Land Cruiser GR Sport is a mean-looking vehicle with serious street presence. Toyota claims the new TNGA platform is stronger than before yet has a reduced weight of up to 200 kg. Despite weighing 2.6 tonnes, the GR Sport is relatively easy to drive.
The GR Sport variant is differentiated from other cruisers in its suspension setup. It’s the only model in the Land Cruiser line-up which has a front and rear locking differential, making it an extremely capable cross-country machine. Moreover, the GR Sport also features Toyota’s Electronically Controlled Kinetic Dynamic Suspension Stabilisation (E-KDSS) system, which provides greater wheel articulation off-road.
This gives the off-roader the ability to conquer any terrain. In addition, it provides the GR Sport with optimized handling and traction. Furthermore, the LC 300 GR Sport comes equipped with five driving modes ranging from ECO to Sport S+.
Each setting alters the vehicle's comfort, handling and acceleration responsiveness. No doubt, the Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport is a serious off-road tool that will attract plenty of die-hard Land Cruiser customers in this segment. Just a shame it’s not available in the US.
Waheed is an automotive writer and enthusiast with a vast knowledge of the motor industry. Having acquired a passion for cars at a very young age, he knows pretty much all there is to know about classic German sports cars.