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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
1/2 second faster than the Viper Powered SRT10.

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The Buffalo Meets Its Match

By Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor Email | Blog
Date posted: 10-20-2008

When Homer Simpson was presented with a military-grade deep fryer that could flash-fry a buffalo in 40 seconds, he replied, "Forty seconds? But I want it now!" Even sad-sack Homer can teach us something, and this time it's that even if you overachieve beyond the wildest of expectations, universal acceptance can be elusive.

And so it is with the 2008 Toyota Tundra Supercharged by TRD. This one-off vehicle brings back the concept of the sport truck. Two parts supercar, one part pack mule, the sport truck tries to persuade us that the fortification of horsepower and cornering grip can make a silk purse out of what dynamically is a sow's rectum. So what you get is the best of both worlds, a silk purse that can haul a rainforest's worth of lumber and do burnouts 'til next Wednesday. If you're Homer Simpson, it's buffalo meat and an expedient browning.

Mother Toyota has yet to build a gloves-off sport truck in the vein of the defunct Dodge Ram SRT10 and Ford Lightning. Instead, Toyota Racing Development (TRD), Toyota's official in-house provider of performance accessories, has tackled the task and the result is the 2008 Toyota Tundra SR5 Supercharged by TRD that you see here.

Burnouts
Pencil-pushing naysayers will remind you that speed and trucks cannot coexist, since pickups boast the sleekness of a parking garage, not to mention a similar curb weight. Adding insane amounts of horsepower to the equation is the vehicular analogy of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.

So TRD has smartly chosen the lightest Tundra possible in order to showcase its wares — a rear-wheel-drive regular cab with a short bed and none of the weight-adding frills of the higher-zoot Tundra Limited. Then it stuffed in a TRD-designed and -developed supercharger conversion. Based around the recently introduced four-lobe Eaton supercharger also found in the stonking Chevy Corvette ZR1, the system is a slick bolt-on affair that is 50-state legal.

Blowing 8.5 psi of boost pressure into the hungry cylinders ratchets horsepower from 381 to 504, while torque makes a similar leap from 401 pound-feet up to a towering 550 lb-ft. (TRD actually takes the trouble to have an outside supplier measure the results according to the SAE methodology.) These are numbers that are stout enough to contend with this Tundra's equally stout 5,182-pound curb weight. Fortunately, burnouts are immune to the effects of curb weight.

Actually designed for towing applications, the supercharger kit is available for all 2007-'09 Tundras and 2008-'09 Sequoias equipped with the 5.7-liter V8. This $5,875 kit is not simply a blower and belt, as the conversion includes everything — a liquid-to-air intercooler, revised intake, reflashed engine control unit, larger injectors and fuel pump. About 8-10 hours of installation are required, and when the work is completed by a Toyota dealer, the engine retains its Toyota factory-backed warranty. A performance dual exhaust adds $1,065.

Mass
This particular Tundra has been equipped with all the sport truck items from the TRD catalog, including lowering springs ($1,699), a beefy rear antiroll bar ($299) and colossal 22-inch wheels with 285/45R22 Toyo Proxes S/T rubber ($4,699 for the wheels and tires). It's all meant to reduce body roll and improve cornering grip, but let's be honest — a sport truck is a one-trick pony. And that trick is to signal the release of dead pterosaurs' pent-up frustration with clouds of acrid tire smoke.

At our test track, the 2008 Toyota Tundra dispatched 60 mph in 5.1 seconds (4.7 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and elbowed its way through the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds at 103.8 mph. This performance slices a half-second out of the performance of the erstwhile Dodge SRT10 Ram. You know, the one powered by a Viper V10 engine.

Though the Tundra's six-speed automatic transmission shifts up a few hundred rpm shy of the indicated redline, its closely spaced gear ratios and the engine's volcanic midrange torque combine to keep this truck powering irresistibly forward like a ballistic ekranoplan, that cross between a hovercraft and an airplane that was built as a mobile missile launcher by the Russians during the Cold War.

Few trucks — heck, very few cars — can hang with this supercharged weapon. Want to be over there? Wood the gas and bam, you're there. If it could be properly coupled, the power band could pinch-hit for the Hadron supercollider.

Keeping It on the Ground
TRD has also fitted this 2008 Toyota Tundra with a monstrous big brake kit. And we're not kidding about big brakes, because each rotor is 16 inches across and is given the squeeze by six-piston calipers the size of a hibachi barbecue. This is one nice setup, and it one-ups the factory brakes by transforming the feel at the pedal. It's firm to the point that your foot's pressure on the pedal alone rather than pedal travel dictates braking force. This makes for intuitive modulation and a huge confidence boost when you're negotiating this big truck through traffic. The brake kit is worth its $2,795 price tag for the pedal feel alone.

Stopping from 60 mph requires 129 feet, or about a dozen fewer feet than the stock version of this truck. This respectable improvement is at least in part aided by the TRD Tundra's lower ride height and stickier tires. We wish we could report that the brakes remained robust no matter what, but the first traces of fade crept in at the end of a few full-effort stops from 60 mph, a reminder that this truck weighs 5,182 pounds.

This truck's ultimate grip on the skid pad is not bad at 0.77g. Of course, perhaps we should rephrase this. That is, the modest limits of grip might as well be infinite since they can rarely be explored with confidence due to the indifference of the TRD Tundra's steering. There's so little feedback from the tires and such absurd lightness in the steering effort that you'd never know if the front tires have left contact with the ground. Maybe ignorance is bliss, since this low, stiff truck doesn't soak up bumps either, which results in a busy ride that quickly grows tiresome.

As if it matters, the truck pounded its way through the slalom at 59 mph. Did we mention the burnouts it can do?

Execution
It's worth noting that the 2008 Toyota Tundra Supercharged by TRD never once pinged, overheated, botched a shift, hiccupped, farted or otherwise gave any indication that the supercharger kit was anything other than a fully factory-developed offering. The calibration and execution are so good that even prolonged burnouts in hot, dry weather didn't faze it.

Paradoxically, the truck's suppressed supercharger whine and relatively mellow exhaust note might disappoint hard-core sport truck enthusiasts craving a deafening soundtrack to accompany the engine's red-meat output. Then again, the rest of the neighborhood will appreciate the truck's civility.

Give us the brakes and the supercharger, easily the most compelling parts of the TRD Tundra. We'll pass on the lowering springs. This is a pickup, and tweaking a truck's handling is like trying to shine a sneaker. You can't have your buffalo and eat it, too. Just ask Homer.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.





 

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Absolutely no comparison in the looks department:





 

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Four valve heads and big cubes both love boost. Let's hope Toyota doesn't get smart and produce a full size RWD sedan/coupe to compete with the Hyundai Genesis. It would be a beast with that powerplant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You have to give the Tundra Credit. The heaviest 1/2 ton in its class with stellar performance and good fuel economy.

If I were filthy rich, the Tundra would be my play truck and the Sierra Denali would be my cruising truck. And I'd have me a new Ram cuz it looks sooo good lol. What can I say, I love trucks. Watch the hate mail pile in from the tree humpers..
 

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^
Actually the Ford F-150 is the heaviest 1/2 ton pickup when optioned the same way (as much as possible). The Megacab is heavier still....but its frame was based on a 3/4 ton truck.
 

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I wonder how fragile the camshafts are on the TRD version. Also all of that effort and the exterior and interior styling still looks ugly and bland
 

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I wonder how fragile the camshafts are on the TRD version.
If that's a serious question/statement.....I thought it was well known that it was a batch of poorly cast camshafts. Toyota, or more specifically Toyota Tundra buyers, have found the bad ones (all 20 of them).
 
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