Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Toyota Land Cruiser returns to the US market, Porsche builds a special 911 just for BAT resellers, the Nismo Z is back, plus your news for the week.
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser returns to the US
As promised, one of Toyota’s most storied nameplates is returning to the US, but it won’t be quite as it was when it left us a few years ago. When Toyota pulled the covers off the 2024 Land Cruiser, it confirmed our suspicions regarding the platform it would be based on. It’s not the same as the massive luxury barge 300 Series that debuted for Middle East and Australian markets, rather it’s based on the same platform as the new Lexus GX we saw just a few months ago. That means it’s a good bit smaller and – crucially – a good bit cheaper. But Toyota promises it will live up to the name and deliver exceptional off-road performance and on-road comfort.
The Land Cruiser is built on the latest TNGA-F platform and relies on Toyota’s new favorite powertrain. The i-Force Max hybrid powertrain, consisting of a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a 48-hp electric motor integrated into the eight-speed transmission, is the only available powertrain on all grades. Total output is 326 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. Its towing capacity is 6,000 pounds across all grades. Whether the mandatory hybrid powertrain translates into improved fuel economy remains to be seen. The old school Toyota/Lexus SUVs all have laughably bad mileage so it really shouldn’t be that hard to beat… but hybrid systems still add weight. We will know MPG estimates closer to launch.
What doesn’t require estimation is its legendary abilities off road. An impressive amount of hardware comes standard, including full-time 4WD with an electronically-controlled two-speed transfer case (Hi/Low), a center-locking differential, electronic locking rear diff, automatic limited-slip differential, and a few other optional features on top of all that. Additional options include CRAWL Control (like cruise control for the trails) and front stabilizer bar disconnect are available on higher trims as standard equipment. The Land Cruiser also offers a few options for underbody protection.
There’s also the matter of ground clearance and there’s a decent bit here. The Land Cruiser boasts an approach angle of 31 degrees, departure angle of 22 degrees, breakover angle of 25 degrees, and ground clearance of up to 8.7 inches. Compared to the 200-Series Land Cruiser, it’s just short in some areas and better or nearly equal in others. I can’t say for sure because I found too many conflicting answers when researching this. Regardless, these are more than respectable specs.
Moving on to styling, it obviously has some similarities with the new GX which it shares a platform with. But it’s different enough to be its own thing. And there are some major styling differences depending on which trim you get. At launch there will be three grades – the Land Cruiser 1958, Land Cruiser, and Land Cruiser First Edition. The 1958 is a more basic off roader that includes all the standard features mentioned above but rocks throwback cloth upholstery (which unfortunately was not shown in the press kit, but trust me it looks rad), a slightly smaller center infotainment system, and a throwback face. Black plastic and round LED headlights dominate the 1958’s face.
Step up to the Land Cruiser and there’s more body-color on the face and squared off LED headlights for a more modern look. And the Land Cruiser First Edition combines the two with a body-color-ish face and the throwback round headlights. Regardless of the trim, it’s a boxy, rugged-looking, largely inoffensive design that I really can’t say anything negative about… besides that an all black plastic face isn’t my favorite design trend, but it sorta makes sense here. And long time readers will know that if I think something looks like shit, I’m not afraid to say it.
The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser will be built in Japan and make the long trek across the Pacific to the US starting next spring. Pricing is expected to start in the mid $50,000 range. Toyota is targeting the Bronco, Wrangler, and Defender with this one. Considering the equipment it comes with as well as the hybrid powertrain and its more spacious cabin, it sure seems like a compelling offer.
Porsche 911 S/T
Porsche is coming out with a limited-edition 911 built just for their most hardcore
resellers on BAT enthusiasts to celebrate 60 years of the Porsche 911. It’s called the 911 S/T. It’s basically a fancied up 911 GT3 Touring. Only 1,963 units are being built. And they’re all sold already.
Porsche says this exclusive anniversary model unites the strengths of the 911 GT3 Touring and the GT3 RS to deliver a unique combination of agility and driving dynamics. From what I can tell, this was done by obsessively cutting weight – as with the GT3 RS – while focusing more on pleasant journeys on public roads rather than a race track – as with the GT3 Touring. With its naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six and short-ratio manual transmission (even shorter than the 911 GT3’s gearing), it’s gonna be pleasant alright.
Weight reduction was achieved with the usual array of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Plastic body panels, carbon ceramic brakes, magnesium wheels, and lightweight glass, but they also removed the rear axle steering and developed a new lightweight clutch exclusively for the 911 S/T. In conjunction with a single-mass flywheel, the clutch reduces the weight of the rotating mass by 10.5 kg or 23.1 pounds. In total, the 911 S/T weighs 1,380 kg or 3,042 lbs, making it the lightest of the 992 generation thus far.
Further sealing its status as enthusiast bait is an optional Heritage Design Package which adds Shoreblue Metallic paint over Ceramica-painted wheels plus optional door numbers (0-99) and decorative foil. The Porsche logo and 911 S/T badge on the back of the car are finished in gold as well. The interior features cloth seat centers in Classic Cognac with black pinstripes, plus two-tone semi-aniline leather trim in the same color combo.
MSRP is listed as $290,000. One will probably be resold for double by the end of the year. But for those fortunate and brave enough to drive one as intended, they’ll probably have one of the best driving experiences you can get in any modern Porsche.
2024 Nissan Z Nismo
We were hoping this was coming the day Nissan confirmed the existence the new Z, and it’s finally arrived. And it’s already receiving a very lukewarm response. It goes on sale this fall for a yet-to-be confirmed price and seeks to unleash some of the Z’s performance in a sharp new package. For those who aren’t interested in modifying a Z on their own or maybe just want a better starting platform, the Nismo Z gives that factory-built tuner experience in a package that won’t piss off the neighbors. But a few interesting choices have seemingly pissed off enthusiasts on forums and social media already.
For starters, a nine-speed automatic is the only transmission offered, that’s despite a six-speed manual being standard on the normal Z. And from everything I’ve heard, both are fine transmissions. But an enthusiast-targeted specification is always going to be criticized if it doesn’t at least offer a manual. It doesn’t matter what else the Z Nismo offers, it’s already a dud for 90% of the internet and there’s no reason to get it over a GR Supra, another car they hate. Which is a shame because the rest of the Z Nismo looks pretty solid.
It uses the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 as the standard car but is tuned to deliver 420 horsepower (nice) and 384 lb.-ft. of torque, an improvement of 20 hp and 34 lb.-ft. over stock. This was achieved through better cooling, revised electronic wastegate control for increased boost and turbine speed, and an independent ignition spark timing strategy inspired by the Nismo GT-R. The nine-speed automatic has its own upgrades, including a revised clutch pack for faster shifting, significantly quicker downshifts (by about half a second) over stock, more aggressive launch control, and a more aggressive Sport+ drive mode that aims to be responsive enough for track driving that you don’t need to use the paddles (though you still can of course).
Nismo engineers also revised every element of the suspension for better precision, predictability, and cornering grip. They gave it unique stabilizer bars, a stiffer spring rate, and larger, retuned dampers. The Nismo Z rides on lightweight, Nismo-specific RAYS 19″ wheels in gloss black wrapped in Dunlop SP SPORT MAXX GT600 tires. Chassis stiffness is also improved through additional front, rear, and rear underfloor bracing, stiffer suspension bushings all around, and a stiffer steering rack mounting. Brakes have also been beefed up with rotors measuring 15″ front and 13.8″ rear, along with a more track-capable brake pad compound. And making it look the part is a Nismo-specific aero package with the classic red trim highlights. It’s just enough for it to stand out to an enthusiast but not enough to attract the wrong kind of attention.
Will the Nismo Z help rekindle some of the excitement Nissan used to be known for? Or will it never be able to recover from the damaged reputation amongst the forums and suffer an agonizing sales defeat? Either way, it looks like a fun time to me.
What’s your news for the week?
So that’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.