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Forget all those wild rumours about the forthcoming reborn Toyota Supra. Here’s the real tuner-freak headline.
Oh, okay, we’re being a bit sarcastic because, well ... if there was a model from Toyota’s extensive line-up of cars you’d expect to be given the SEMA Show custom treatment, the C-HR doesn’t exactly leap to top of mind.
Maybe it’s just one of those “give them what they least expect” deals, but although it’s a seemingly popular option for the over-60s who’ve tired of their brightly coloured Suzuki Swifts, the C-HR doesn’t seem like a candidate for loads more power.
The Mazda CX-3/Honda HR-V rival received a lukewarm reaction when it launched this year, enlivened only by pleasing looks (in the right spec) and Toyota’s more-is-more approach to colours and accessories.
The car’s 85kW 1.2-litre petrol turbo promises fizz but delivers a raspberry. So, maybe an injection of horsepower-themed excitement is what Toyota had in mind with the — to give it its full name — C-HR R-Tuned it showed off at the SEMA custom show in Las Vegas last week.
The R-Tuned example — with roll-cage, enormous rear wing, track tyres, race-tuned suspension and a large front splitter — features a 2.4-litre RAV4 engine perked up by a Garrett turbo running a purported 23psi of boost.
The obvious highlights aside, there are a couple of quirks: the SEMA car has a five-speed (manual) gearbox and they’ve used a front-wheel drive example of a C-HR to build this behemoth on, rather than an all-wheel drive example.
Also, with a raised ride-height being one of the key attributes of your common or garden variety crossover vehicle, the fact that Toyota’s race boffins have lowered this one, isn’t lost on us.
Your Supra by Gazoo
Speaking of sporty Toyotas (yes, we’ve come across two this week — amazing), it seems the forthcoming Supra won’t be badged a Toyota.
Rather, the manufacturer will use the return of the fabled six-cylinder model to its stable to launch the Gazoo performance sub-brand.
Er, Gazoo? No, nothing to do with that side-line spaceman character from, of all things, The Flintstones, Gazoo Racing is the department within Toyota that oversees the engineering, tuning and management of the car giant’s various commitments to motorsport.
It’s a memorable name and clearly has cachet, as Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama told British motoring outlet Auto Express that when the Supra emerges, it will officially be the “Supra by Gazoo”.
The Supra’s sister car — the BMW Z4, which shares a platform with the sporty Toyota — is due next year.
Exciting stuff. Although given that Toyota unceremoniously abandoned its US-focused Scion sub-brand last year, the first Gazoo will need to be an undeniable hit to ensure longevity of the badge.
Thankfully though, we imagine that having “Supra” in the nameplate means Toyota would have to be trying hard indeed to stuff it all up.
Bentley’s land yacht to become a PHEV
You’d expect 99.9 per cent of Bentley Bentayga owners wouldn’t give a stuff about a) the environment or b) how much fuel they’re using. But someone within the wider Volkswagen AG empire has decreed they do — or should — because a plug-in hybrid Bentayga SUV is on the way.
It’s an easy stretch though, when you consider how vast the German brand’s parts bin is.
The plug-in Bentayga will probably use the E-Hybrid system from the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera, which are getting electrified in 2019.
It’s inevitable, isn’t it? Every carmaker is after some of that EV goodwill.
Despite pinpointing Bentley’s big bruiser for the plug-in treatment seeming a little incongruous at first, when you consider that the Continental GT will eventually be offered with the option of a hybrid engine and that a dedicated stand-alone EV is also expected from Bentley in the intermediate future, it all points to a bigger masterplan.
The rationale for these decisions that the world’s carmakers have adhered to is obvious.
It doesn’t matter how gargantuan your land yacht is, or whether the sort of cigar-puffing titan of industry that drives it cares either way; you need to electrify, or die.
We can assume only the Bentayga PHEV will have a better class of plug. And a walnut inlaid charge cable cabinet in the boot.