A 600-horsepower Toyota C-HR could only happen at SEMA

Toyota and DG Spec gave the little sub-compact crossover the speed treatment to awesome effect.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
2 min read

Toyota is bringing the fun back at SEMA with two concept versions of its little subcompact crossover, the C-HR. We were all pretty excited when we saw the quirky C-HR revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2016. It's a fun, young-looking little subcompact crossover that melted our steely, automotive journalist hearts. Unfortunately, Toyota came up a bit short in performance. It's down on horsepower and is only offered in front-wheel drive with a continuously variable transmission. That's not exactly a speedy combination.

Enter the R-Tuned C-HR. Toyota partnered with DG Spec to produce a seriously quick crossover. The 2.4-liter massively turbocharged four-cylinder engine spits out 600 horsepower, enough to scoot the little ute from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 2.9 seconds.

A five-speed manual transmission swap gets the power down to the front wheels, and it's got enough aero bits, including a giant wing in the back, to produce 300 pounds of downforce.

Suspension-wise, DG Spec kitted out the C-HR in its own remote reservoir, triple-adjustable shocks and a three-way adjustable rear sway bar.

In all, the little crossover turned in quicker lap times at the 2.5-mile "Big Track" at Willow Springs than a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, GT-R and McLaren 650S Spyder.

For those folks who like to feed their musical soul rather than their inner speed demon, Toyota also showed off the Beat Box, a C-HR that doubles as a rolling drum machine. Driver and passengers can create custom drum beats just by touching specific points inside the car. And yes, there is custom mood lighting that reacts to the beat.

We don't expect either of these cars to come to production, but hopefully we'll see some of the research and development that went into the R-Tuned find its way to Toyota's sporty 86 coupe or the rumored Supra.