When Toyota launched the new Land Cruiser 300 Series in June, we had a detailed look at the new flagship SUV and everything that came with it. Engine, interior, drivetrain, you name it. The only exception was the first-ever Gazoo Racing modified model – the Land Cruiser GR-S. Apart from a few renders, the automaker did not disclose changes it has over the standard Land Cruiser model.

With the new Land Cruiser now in Japan, Toyota has bared it all. Best of all, the upgrades on the new Land Cruiser GR-S are more than just skin deep.

Dakar Inspired: A closer look at the Toyota Land Cruiser GR-Sport image

For starters, Toyota says the 300 Series Land Cruiser GR-Sport was developed using feedback from Dakar Rally drivers. That’s because the GR-S will serve as the base for Toyota’s 2023 Dakar Rally challenger. Yep, the new Land Cruiser is going to Dakar, just like its predecessors. According to Toyota, by “participating in the rally, the development team hopes to further evolve and improve the superb potential of the vehicle, and reflect these improvements in future production cars.”

Dakar Inspired: A closer look at the Toyota Land Cruiser GR-Sport image

So what’s different between the GR-S and the standard Land Cruiser? Over in Japan, the Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS) system only comes on the GR-S. Unlike a standard suspension system, E-KDSS improves off-road performance by disabling the front and rear stabilizer bars when needed. It’s also paired with electronically locking front and rear differentials, further contributing to improved off-road performance. There's no need to get aftermarket locking differentials anymore.

Regarding visible changes, we already have an idea of what the Land Cruiser GR-Sport’s exterior looks like. Unlike the standard model, which comes with lots of chrome, the GR-S trades it for black trim and accent. With that, it somewhat looks like the base model. But one look at the grille, 18-inch wheels, and GR badging, and you’ll know this LC means business.

Dakar Inspired: A closer look at the Toyota Land Cruiser GR-Sport image

Like with most GR-S models, changes can also be found inside the cabin. The Land Cruiser GR-S comes with an exclusive black-and-red trim interior, a leather steering wheel with carbon insert and GR logo, and special front seats with the GR logo embroidered into the headrest.

Since it is a GR-Sport variant and not a fully fledge GR model, there’s no special engine under the hood. Customers can choose between the new twin-turbo 3.5-liter gasoline V6 and the twin-turbo 3.3-liter diesel V6. The former is rated at 415 PS and 650 Nm torque, while the diesel mill outputs 309 PS and 700 Nm torque. Both shift via a new 10-speed automatic gearbox.

Dakar Inspired: A closer look at the Toyota Land Cruiser GR-Sport image

To give you an idea of pricing, the GR-S is the most expensive variant in the Japanese Land Cruiser lineup. It's even priced higher than the ultra-luxurious ZX variant. For reference, the GR-S costs JPY 8,000,000 (PHP 3,656,000) and JPY 7,700,000 (PHP 3,520,000) for the diesel and gasoline engine, respectively.

Will we see the Land Cruiser GR-Sport in the Philippines? It’s likely. Toyota Motor Philippines has been heavily pushing for GR models in the Philippines (GR-Supra, GR-Yaris, and Vios GR-S). Given the popularity of the Land Cruiser in the country, it wouldn’t be surprising if we customers start inquiring about the GR-S variant as well.