In the lead up to the LA Motor Show in early November, Toyota’s performance and motorsport arm TRD (somewhat already superseded by the expanding GRMN division), or Toyota Racing Development, has unveiled a pair of sedans that are, by the standards of the Japanese automaker, a far cry from their sensible factory states.
The reveal of these two TRD variants is the latest weave in a pattern that shows a much different Toyota than the automaker we knew even a few years ago, investing heavily and happily into the image as a enthusiast-friendly brand. Unlike some recent TRD outings, the changes made to the Camry and Avalon are much more than just a cosmetic touch up.
Starting with the Camry, which is based on the XSE variant for the North American market, TRD have fitted additional bracing to the car’s platform to improve torsional rigidity and paired that with new suspension components they say have been honed on the racetrack - new coils and absorbers, specifically. Resultantly, the car boasts a roll stiffness increase of 44 percent at front axle and a very impressive 67 percent at the rear.
To help the fettled Camry TRD grip the bends, sticky Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres are fitted around lightweight 19-inch alloys in matte black. Meanwhile, stopping performance has also improved by way of larger rotors and dual piston callipers.
Somewhat disappointingly, though predictable given that this is Toyota, nothing has been done to the powertrain; a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 which is paired to an 8-speed torque converter automatic transmission to send 221kW to the front wheels. However, a cat back exhaust system has also been installed, which means there’s more noise to be enjoyed. Fortunately, the 2GR-FKS V6 is quite talented as a sonic instrument.
For the more premium Avalon, TRD have, by in large, applied to it the same upgrades as the Camry but have augmented that with a slightly racier interior via Black Sport SofTex-trimmed heated front seats with Ultra-suede inserts and the obligatory red accents.
These red contrast motif carries into other areas of the cabin, such as the leather-wrapped steering wheel, colour matched seat belts, and TRD logos embroidered into the headrests, floor mats, and shift knob. The TRD-tuned Avalon is otherwise identical to the Camry, featuring the same suspension and exhaust upgrades. Curiously, Toyota have opted to fit it with more yielding and touring-oriented Michelin Primacy tyres despite being wrapped around equally lighter-weight black wheels.
No doubt the company will be rolling these variants out to Toyota dealerships in North America following their upcoming official debut in Los Angeles. As of now, though, there is no word on whether other markets will be receiving them.