There’s no doubt that the Toyota C-HR is a great little crossover, with aggressive styling that helps the CUV stand out from the competition. Sadly, the C-HR is all show and little go, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 144 HP and 139 lb-ft of torque, and a CVT transmission sending power to the front wheels.
We had a chance to drive the C-HR last year when it first came out, and I praised the crossover for it’s quick steering, tight handling, and lack of body roll, but lamenting that “this excellent chassis doesn’t get utilized to it’s fullest,” and that more power would take the C-HR to a whole other level.
Clearly I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, as Toyota unveiled a 600-horsepower Toyota C-HR R-Tuned concept at SEMA last year, a racetrack-tuned crossover that showed the public what the C-HR was capable of from a tuning perspective, delivering supercar performance for a fraction of the price. The car was the talk of SEMA, and I could only imagine what it was like on the track.
So you can only imagine my excitement when Toyota invited me out to Willow Springs (a track that has long been on my automotive bucket list) to experience the C-HR R-Tuned firsthand on the very same track where it set a scorching 1:25.22 lap time last fall, beating out supercars like the Ferrari 488 GTB, Porsche 911 GT3, Nissan GT-R NISMO, and McLaren 650 S Spyder, to name a few.
After we arrived at the track and signed the necessary waivers, we got to learn more about the Toyota C-HR R-Tuned and what makes it the exotic-slaying track monster that it is. And what we learned is that while this car is still four-cylinder-powered and retains its front-wheel-drive setup, this CUV is far from stock.
Dan Gardner and his team at DG-Spec replaced the stock 2.0-liter engine with 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.
The stock CVT was tossed in favor of a five-speed Toyota E-Series manual transmission, with an OS Giken limited-slip differential. Brembo racing brakes with 14″ rotors and 4-piston billet aluminum monobloc calipers up front, and remote-reservoir, triple-adjustable DG-Spec Motion Control Suspension motorsports dampers help in the braking and handling department, along with a host of other custom, go-fast goodies.
Finally, 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.
All in all, the C-HR R-Tuned is a pretty bad-ass machine, and honestly photos don’t do the car justice, as it looks even more menacing in person. This was going to be one fun day!
Before hopping into the C-HR R-Tuned, we got the chance to drive some stock C-HRs around The Streets of Willow Springs, with some pro drivers riding shotgun to show us the optimal lines and give us pointers along the way. Surprisingly, the C-HR proved to be very capable on track, even though it could have used an extra 60HP or so to really dial up the excitement.
Later on, I was able to convince them to let me take the C-HR out on Big Willow, and holy crap that was a ton of fun! This course can get you into a lot of trouble if you’re not careful, but the C-HR was perfectly suited for it, and I ran along the back straightaway with my foot to the floor, hitting about 105mph before braking for that long sweeper at the end.
Seriously, who knew a stock CUV could be so much fun at the track?!
Between sessions, I watched as the other group took turns in the C-HR R-Tuned, which they pitted against a brand new Nissan GT-R. As you can imagine, the poor GT-R didn’t stand a chance, with the C-HR R-Tuned passing it halfway through the first lap and never looking back.
After lunch, it was finally my turn to hop into the 600HP C-HR R-Tuned and race it around Big Willow. Sadly, on the previous lap the car started smoking and Dan had to nurse it back to the garage. Turns out a liquid-filled bearing on the C-HR overheated, causing it to throw a belt.
While the timing couldn’t have been worse for me, it’s a race car, and these things happen, it’s just the name of the game. The DG-Spec mechanics worked feverishly to get the car patched up, and while I wasn’t able to do a full lap, I was able to experience the C-HR’s explosive acceleration (0-60 in 2.9s) and braking (1.2g of braking force) before shutting it down and calling it a night.
Overall, I could not have been more impressed with the Toyota C-HR. It’s a well-handling, practical crossover that stands out from the crowd with it’s edgy styling. And as we saw with the R-Tuned version, the platform is ready for whatever modifications you decide to throw its way.
So who’s ready to buck convention and build a tricked out, souped up Toyota C-HR “hot hatch” like no other?
The Best Way To Wash Your Car At Home
I don’t about you, but I care about my car far too much to take it through a machine wash. Not only will you save time and money by washing your car at home, but it just gives you a sense of satisfaction when you see it all shiny and clean afterwards. Here are some tips on how to wash your car at home the right way:
Before getting started, inspect your car for any tar, bugs or overspray. You can find tar and bug removers at most auto parts store, or you can seek out an overspray removal specialist if it is really bad. You also want to avoid washing your car in direct sunlight, as the sun will cause the soap to dry up too fast, leaving behind water spots and streaks.
If you’ve got a garage, wash your car there. Otherwise, find a shady spot to wash your car in, or wait till near the end of the day when the sun isn’t as bright, making sure to keep the car wet at all times until you’re finally ready to dry it completely.
Make sure you’re using a quality car wash soap. I have been using Meguiars Car Wash for years now, and it foams away tough dirt, road grime and contaminants without compromising wax protection. You’ll also want some premium microfiber sponges, along with two buckets – one filled with plain water, the other with soapy water.
So now you’re ready to get started. Just make sure that the doors are shut, all windows closed, and double-check your sunroof if you’ve got one. Because the last thing you want to see when you open your car afterwards are puddles of water inside.
Before washing the car, rinse off the entire car to remove any loose dirt and debris before you apply any soap, so you’re not rubbing dirt into the paint. And remember, keep the body wet from here on out, and avoid spraying water under the hood.
Once your car has been completely rinsed off, soak your sponge in the soapy bucket, and start washing from the top of your vehicle, working your way down. You’ll want to soap up the car with the straight line technique for the best results. Don’t use circular motions because they will cause swirl marks. Also, don’t apply pressure while wiping the car.
When you are completely done washing the car, start rinsing off the soap from the top of the car down. Afterwards, dry off the car, using multiple towels for maximum efficiency. If it has been awhile since you last waxed/polished your car, now might be a good time to do so.
But if water is still beading up on the paint and the car is looking nice and shiny, call it a day and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition To Debut At Detroit Auto Show
We’ve been fans of the Lexus RC F since it was first released back in 2015, but often wondered why it didn’t enjoy the same success as the competition, like the BMW M4 and others.
Truth be told, while the RC F was a great car to rip around town in (with a monster 5.0-liter V8 engine that puts out 467 horsepower and rockets from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds), it’s not nearly as much fun on the track, with softer handling and a lot of weight to hustle around.
But with the introduction of the 2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition, which makes its debut next month at the Detroit Auto Show. As the name suggests, this will be a more track-focused RC F variant, with Lexus promising to deliver “a higher degree of F.”
As you can see from this teaser photo, the Lexus RC F Track Edition features a massive carbon fiber wing, because downforce. To save even more weight, the hood, roof, front splitter, rear diffuser, and side skirts could all be done in carbon fiber as well.
We fully expect to see an increase in power to somewhere in the low 500HP range, with Robert Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America, stating that “with the exception of LFA, this is the fastest, most powerful vehicle we’ve ever built.”
Bigger brakes and a set of 20-inch lightweight wheels wrapped in ultra-high-performance tires would make sense as well, improving the RC F’s braking performance and lateral grip.
For now, this is all just speculation, and we’ll have to wait until January 14th to find out all the juicy details. The Lexus RC F Track Edition is expected to be produced in limited numbers, so if you want one, you’re going to have to act fast!
Five Of The Best Superbikes On The Market Today
Creating a list of just five superbikes is a mammoth chore. Even picking the top 10 superbikes takes a lot of work, head-scratching and hours of YouTube research. But after all that, we have whittled down the list to five of the best superbikes on the market today.
Admittedly, some of them you need a heavy wallet and the right connections to track down, but that goes to show how brilliantly these bikes have been built.
1) Honda RC213V-S
The Honda RC213V-S is probably as close to a MotoGP bike as you’ll find. Brand new, it would have set you back a teeth-clenching $184,000, which is some pretty serious money for a bike. The limited production numbers means that price is only going up.. and people who’ve ridden the bike say it’s worth every penny of the price. The chassis is hand-fabricated and the whole thing weighs just 375 pounds. It’s a superb bike as is, but the Sports Kit package takes it to a whole other level, blowing away the competition. If what you’re after is basically a MotoGP bike with lights, then the Sports Kit version is for you.
2) MV Agusta F4CC
The MV Agusta F4CC might be a little difficult to track down, seeing that only 100 bikes were made. And it came with a whopping $120,000 price tag to boot. Almost everything on this bike is limited edition, with materials borrowed from the aero industry and supercars. Each F4CC has its unique serial number printed on a platinum plaque, and the owner gets a leather jacket to match. With a 200-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, a top speed of 195 mph, and plenty of carbon fiber and high-end tech, this bike really does deserve to be called super.
3) Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5/K6
Many owners of this bike caution against using it on the road simply because it’s so fast. One of the only downsides is you will probably end up with a good collection of speeding tickets if you’re not constantly checking your speed. It’s unlikely, and a shame, that bikes aren’t made as light these days, the lightweight (365lbs) paired with the superb engine means this is still one of the best superbikes out there.
4) KTM 1290 Superduke R
The KTM 1290 Superduke R is known for its crazy power, a fact fully acknowledged by KTM in the nickname they gave it – ‘The Beast’. A few laps around a track and you’ll know exactly why this bike earned its nickname. It’s pure, raw and straight to the point, with a monster 177HP on tap. Thankfully, the super high-tech electronics work their magic to keep the two wheels firmly planted on the road. If you want one, it’ll set you back around $18K.
5) Aprilia RSV4 RF
Riding most superbikes, you sacrifice the gadgets and gizmos for the pure power. But with the Aprilia RSV4 RF, you get the best of both worlds. In corners, it sticks to the road and seems to know where to go before you do. In 2016, the RSV4 RF was unveiled to comply with, or more accurately, take advantage of the new rules restricting the number of modifications allowed on superbikes. The RSV4 RF has smarter electronics, improved handling, is lighter, and more importantly, packs a bigger punch.
Sure, there are some truly awesome bikes that didn’t make this list – like the Ducati 1299 Superleggera. But the ones featured here really are monsters on the track and well worth seeking out if you are planning (or attending) a race day soon.