The Toyota Camry has never been a car that had much style or a legitimate reason to purchase outside of practicality, but at this year’s SEMA show, happening in the City of Sin right now, Toyota has tucked that notion quietly into bed with a 2015 Camry XSE.
Just looking at the Camry, you’re probably wondering why you are even reading about another ho-hum four-door from the automaker that has cashed in on making things beige. However, like with most things in life, looks are not all what they are cracked up to be.
When the automaker threw the covers off the car, people were slightly perplexed as to how they were conned into a reveal of a stock-looking car at SEMA. That is, until the engine started.
The engine roared to life, the exhaust cut outs opened and the body lifted to expose a tube-frame chassis: the ultimate sleeper car, exposed. The doors, hood and truck remain functional, but this isn’t the Camry for your children. Oh, no.
The car is built on a NHRA-approved chromoly tube-frame chassis, and that is just the beginning of a laundry list of upgrades this car has received. To aid in the lifting and lowering of the body off the frame is an air system designed for the car.
While that’s cool, the real exciting part is what lies under the hood. Toyota took the 5.7-liter Tundra V-8, slapped on a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) supercharger and added a 300 shot of nitrous for good quarter-mile-stomping measure.
Without the spray, 600 horsepower pumps out of the engine. You read that right, 600 horsepower. In a Camry.
As if Toyota thought this car would be driven to the Organic and Overpriced Food Market, the exhaust does run through mufflers out back, but there are electric dumps right off the headers for maximum auditory pleasure.
While you won’t be able to put down some serious cash for one of these, you may see it at a few NHRA races around the country. Toyota wants to see what the car is capable of—and we are quite curious as well.
The build was all done at the Toyota Motorsports facility in Torrance, Calif., so you know this has some serious racing chops. The Sleeper Camry does take the car’s slogan, "Bold New Camry,” to an extreme level. Kudos to you Toyota for captivating SEMA and the rest of the industry in a way that remains to be topped.
Maybe we’ll get a "Bold New Prius” next year? Ha.