Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

2.6-ton Toyota Land Cruiser 300 petrol outsprints Golf 6 GTI!

Speed becomes the ‘Master of Africa’s’ latest attribute alongside its hard-earned reputation for off-road capabilities and reliability.

Over the course of its 70 year existence, the Toyota Land Cruiser has earned a reputation for many things.

Reliable, capable, durable, dependable and tough are but a handful of the usual attributes associated with the iconic “Master of Africa”. Speed? Not so much.

Even though the outgoing’s LC200’s sole engine option, a 4.5-litre V8 twin-turbo oil-burner, had buyers in a mad frenzy before the arrival of the non-V8 Land Cruiser 300, it still was no rocket.

The 195 kW of power it delivered was enough to provide cruise ship-like comfort on the open road, with the added option of pulling along a 14-ton truck with the 650 Nm of torque on offer.

ALSO READ: Toyota Land Cruiser 300 perfect evolution for ‘Master of Africa’

The Land Cruiser 300’s new 3.3-litre turbodiesel V6 engine is even more impressive. It delivers 227 kW of power and an astonishing tree-stump pulling maximum torque of 700 Nm. These numbers fit the Land Cruiser bill perfectly. A solid, strong mill that should last for at least two decades.

This is the time those annoying television ads would go: “But wait there’s more…” And it comes in the form of a petrol engine. And not just any old petrol engine, but a rather special one that will make its Dakar Rally debut in the Toyota Gazoo Racing Hilux next year.

This 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, with an actual displacement of 3 444 cc, is offered on the ZX and GR Sport trim levels in the LC300 line-up. It’s 650 Nm of torque almost matches its diesel sibling, but the 305 kW of power it produces gives the Land Cruiser a brand-new attribute. Speed.

Most of the time you take a carmaker’s claimed numbers with a pinch of salt. And we thought Toyota’s claim of a 0 to 100 km/h time of 6.7 seconds for the LC300 3.5T ZX was rather ballsy. It weighs in at almost 2.6-tons with the aerodynamics of a block of flats.

Toyota Land Cruiser 300 ZX
No longer just a mountain mover.

Armed with his VBox Racelogic timing equipment, Road Test Editor Mark Jones set off to Gerotek to determine how accurate Toyota’s claim for the Land Cruiser 300 is. And we are happy to report that it is pretty damn close.

The monstrosity reached 100 km/h from a standstill in 6.80 seconds. It completed the quarter mile in 14.85 seconds and took 26.01 seconds to reach one kilometre, almost reaching 200 km/h in the process.

From 80 km/h to 120 km/h, which is a typical overtaking situation, it took a mere 4.41 seconds. Taken the LC300’s sheer size and weight, these numbers are extraordinary.

To put the performance into further perspective, we dug into our road test archives. Quite incredibly, trailing the Land Cruiser 300 in a sprint time of 6.98 seconds, is the Volkswagen Golf 6 GTI! The Golf 7 GTI did manage to beat the LC300, but only just in a time of 6.58 seconds.

Toyota Land Cruiser 300 ZX
Interior represent a huge departure from the old 200.

A few interesting other names that now trail the Cruiser on our list are the Nissan 350Z (6.83), Renault Clio V6 Sport (6.83) and the BMW 650i Convertible (6.97). And if you think about it, these cars were built for performance and not like the LC300 to carry seven passengers across rocky mountain tops!

The elephant in the room with anything this size and speed powered by a petrol mill will always be its fuel consumption.

This time Toyota’s claim of 12.1 L/100 km is a bit off the mark as we only managed to achieve 16.2 L/100 km on test. To be fair we made no attempt to drive it economically and real-life figures will probably be closer to the 14-odd/100 km we saw during the recent launch drive in the Western Cape.

If you work on 14, that will mean that a full tank will cost you close to R2 000 to fill which will give you a range of less than 800 km. But then again, is you can afford to the Land Cruiser 300 3.5T ZX’s R1.8-million price tag, those kinds of amounts probably equate to peanuts anyway.

For more information on the Toyota Land Cruiser 300, click here.

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