Filed under: Aftermarket , Sedan , Performance , Europe , Japan , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury Toyota is getting serious about building performance versions of its current models. The manufacturer hopes to turn Toyota Motorsport GmbH, the crew behind the Toyota Le Mans effort and the automaker’s now defunct Formula One team, into a factory-backed tuner. TMG currently handles almost everything motorsport related for Toyota with the exception of engine building, and the group is currently hard at work on what could develop into a World Rally Championship entry in the near future. TMG is shooting for a WRC debut in 2014 with a turbocharged 1.6-liter Yaris , and buyers will be able to purchase an FIA version of the model for around €25,000. According to Yoshiaki Kinoshita, president of TMG, the organization will also prepare high-performance versions of Lexus vehicles. That helps explain the Lexus LS460 TMG Edition our photographers spotted at the N
Filed under: New York Auto Show , Crossover , Toyota , Design/Style While it doesn’t even appear as a bad pixel on most enthusiasts’ radar, the Toyota Venza serves legions of mainstream consumers perfectly well. To keep the unassuming family hauler from lagging behind its advancing competition, the automaker has introduced a refreshed and tweaked 2013 Toyota Venza at the New York Auto Show . Look carefully on the exterior and you may notice the freshened fog lamps or redesigned grille on the front fascia. Out back, there are restyled taillamps. Three new colors join the pallete (Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl and Cosmic Gray Mica). Under the hood, the engines are carried over from last year (2.7-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6, depending on trim level, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission). With the exception of the new interior color (black leather or black cloth upholstery) and new buttons on the steering wheel, the cabin appears virtually identical. However, there are more standard features on the LE trim (blind spot mirror, eight-way power-operated driver’s seat, puddle lamps, tilt/telescope steering wheel, and more) and the range-topping Limited receives LED running lights and a premium navigation system with Entune connectivity. Most of the new features are offered across the model range, but at an additional cost. The updated 2013 Toyota Venza goes on sale in late May.