Toyota launches high-performance Sienna R-Tuned minivan concept at 2015 SEMA Show

Article by Andrew Christian, on November 8, 2015

Have you ever heard of a high-performance minivan? Well, people really don’t expect carmakers to come up with a product like that. But it’s not at all unusual for Toyota. At the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, Toyota turned that possibility into a reality by unveiling a high-performance Sienna show minivan, the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept.

This concept may change how people see the Sienna as an outstanding family hauler. They would begin to think that a vehicle like this could even go faster and look more menacing. To create the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept, Toyota Technical Center collaborated with performance shop DG-Spec.

Using a stock Sienna SE “Swagger Wagon,” they added a number of elements that would surely enhance the minivan’s performance -- double-adjustable shocks with racing springs, performance tires, wheels and brakes, and a clutch-type limited-slip differential.

While the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept is still powered by the stock 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to the stock six-speed automatic transmission, it could outrun a 6.2-liter V8 Camaro SS on the test track.

In fact, these two vehicles were made to run the Streets of Willow Springs, a 1.7-mile sports car course. The result? The Toyota Sienna R-Tuned finished the course in 1:27, a second faster than the 6.2-liter V8 Camaro.

Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the Sienna at Toyota Technical Center, remarked that when they created the Sienna SE, they aimed to endow it with a sportier performance than what a typical family hauler could churn out.

He added that with the Sienna R-Tuned, they aimed to create a minivan that could exceed that performance even farther. Lund also disclosed the secret to how the Sienna R-Tuned was able to outrun the Camaro SS – better handling and better braking.

This simply means that while the Camaro SS has more power, the Sienna R-Tuned is simply faster on the corners. Despite being a performance-driven vehicle, the Sienna R-Tuned isn’t exclusive to professional drivers.

In fact, when everyday drivers were made to test drive Sienna R-Tuned, they noted that the minivan was very easy to drive, thanks to its better handling. For those who want to get a closer look at the Sienna R-Tuned at the 2015 SEMA Show, they could visit Toyota’s booth (#24700) in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Press Release

TOYOTA SIENNA R-TUNED CONCEPT PUSHES THE LIMITS AT TOYOTA'S 2015 SEMA DISPLAY

Why turn a Sienna minivan—the least likely product in the Toyota lineup—into a performance vehicle? It’s one thing to make an LFA supercar go fast around a racetrack. People expect that. But no one sees a Sienna coming.

People’s perception of just how much fun you can have driving a family hauler will change dramatically when they see the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept, which made its debut today at Toyota’s 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show display.

Toyota Technical Center collaborated with championship-winning performance shop DG-Spec to modify a stock Sienna SE “Swagger Wagon” with performance tires, wheels, brakes, double-adjustable shocks with racing springs, and a clutch-type limited-slip differential to deliver radically enhanced performance.

The result? Even though the concept uses the Sienna’s stock 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, it has outpaced even a 6.2-liter V8 Camaro SS on the test track. At the Streets of Willow Springs, just north of Los Angeles, the Sienna R-Tuned turned a blistering 1:27 lap time, sailing past the 6.2-liter V8 Camaro by a full second around the 1.7-mile sports car course.

“When we produced the Sienna SE, we started moving in the direction of more sportiness beyond what you would find in a family hauler,” said Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the Sienna at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “With the Sienna R-Tuned, we wanted to see if we could create a vehicle that would push the limits even farther. We definitely proved that it’s possible.”

When asked how the Sienna R-Tuned could go faster than a 426-horsepower sports car, Lund said, “We looked at the overall dynamics of the vehicle, and made adjustments to make the vehicle handle and brake better. The Sienna R-Tuned simply carries more speed through the corners.”

Yet the Sienna R-Tuned isn’t a vehicle that can only be handled by a professional driver. When tested by a select group of everyday drivers, they were truly surprised at how easy it is to drive. People felt more confident, more in control and more secure behind the wheel.

The Sienna R-Tuned can be seen November 3-6, 2015, in the Toyota display booth (#24700) located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at the 2015 SEMA Show.

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