How can I get my new Camry to go faster?
December 24, 2011 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Can I make my brand new Camry SE V6 go faster?

I very recently purchased a 2012 Toyota Camry SE V6. It has a very poor reputation as a driver's car, though I really, really like it. I used to work in automotive aftermarket performance, and my friends and former coworkers seem honestly disappointed by my choice. But I'm married with a dog, so no two seaters and nothing unreliable or super expensive.

My defense is that it's a 14 second car (which isn't bad for a 4-door), handles well, and will outlast any other car I was thinking of buying (VW GTI was at the top of my list until I drove this), and was nicer and more fun than the Sonata turbo. It really seems to be the ultimate sleeper.

I cannot find any type of Camry performance enthusiast forum. Camry forums I've found mostly talk about non-performance stuff--discussions of gas mileage, replacing headlights, regular maintenance, best places to get the windows tinted. That's the typical Camry-owner stereotype, I suppose. Boring stuff. Are there any pages or groups devoted to late-model Camry performance?

Does anybody know of any aftermarket performance intakes available? ECU reflashes? Strut tower braces? Anything? Not a huge fan of aftermarket exhausts, though.

Make no mistake--I know I didn't just purchase a Lexus IS-F (or even IS350, though it has the same engine). I do want the intake sound to be a bit louder and meaner, and the handling to be a bit better. Other than that, the car is great.

Don't hate on Camry.
posted by rybreadmed to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That's the 2GR-FE motor, right?

Hunt that spec and you will find engine mods for sure...
posted by Exchequer at 4:55 PM on December 24, 2011

The reason you don't often find tuning for brand new cars is that almost everything will void the manufacturers warranty. Which is inadvisable with a brand new car.

Finding factory approved modifications may mean you need to be searching the Japanese forums rather than your normal haunts. You'll need to check that the US arm of Toyota will honour them, though, even if they are approved in Japan.
posted by Brockles at 5:05 PM on December 24, 2011

I'm with Brockles - don't jeopardize your warranty over this.

Concealed laser-jammers allow a little extra speed, and the hidden control panels have a hint of James Bond gadgetry, and it shouldn't void warranty.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:53 PM on December 24, 2011

Well the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protects our rights to put aftermarket non-OEM parts on our cars, which includes performance parts. Turbocharging a car would be a major modification; putting on an air intake is a very minor operation (you're replacing an OEM part with aftermarket).

I don't want to drive faster. I suppose I should have said I want the car to accelerate quicker and handle better.
posted by rybreadmed at 6:08 PM on December 24, 2011

Three things I've learned hanging out in the forums for my car:

1. Warranties are routinely denied for any change to the computer, including tune-ups, and certainly ECU reflashes. In many places it's policy to check ECU before warranty work.
2. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act will not save you in these cases.
3. Tuner-dude claims that the flash can be reversed, no-one will know, and he's never heard of anyone having problems - these are often made with great certainty yet often turn out to be completely baseless - modern ECUs are often designed to leave an indelible record of changes, and yours is very modern.
4. You are the guy going into uncharted territory here - you can't find an already trodden path of people saying "I did a tune on my 2012 Camry, and got some work done under warranty, and I had problems/no problems"

I say this because you seem fairly flippant about it. They have financial incentive to scrap your warranty if you give them a chance, and your car is likely designed to make this very easy, and you don't have much recourse if it happens.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:52 PM on December 24, 2011

TRD parts would be what you're looking for to start with - they can be fitted without invalidating the warranty - for example your V6 has a TRD supercharger option available; you may also wish to look at foreign-market options like the Sportivo and the (now cancelled) Aurion Sport to see some of the other factory tweaking that's out there.
posted by rodgerd at 8:59 PM on December 24, 2011

Uncharted territory is the answer here, I think. I bought a 99 Ford Contour, and that was early in the second generation of the car. The "enthusiast" forums that I went to for this kind of stuff didn't have too much at the time. It was either guys talking about maintenance and minor mods like K&N filters, and then guys who didn't care about the warranty and just wanted to make the thing go fast.

After a few years, though, as warranties started to expire and in some cases people were buying them second hand, the community got really good at coming up with really good mods. So you might have to forge some new territory, or wait for people to start reporting what they have done.

For the record: I love K&N filters. They always seem to make a car *feel* faster.
posted by gjc at 10:56 PM on December 24, 2011

Oh man. I think this has gone way off the rails. I only brought up Magnuson-Moss to point out that just throwing on an intake or something won't void the warranty. I have no desire to void my warranty. I wanted to find out the availability of aftermarket performance parts--maybe someone had seen something at SEMA, or knew of some Camry performance forum.
posted by rybreadmed at 12:04 AM on December 25, 2011

Either you're talking 0-100 times or your launches are terrible. My RAV4 does 0-60 in 7ish seconds with me launching it.

Also, under Magnusson-Moss, they can't deny warranty service for a modification to an unrelated part. So if you throw a supercharger on it they might be able to deny warranty work on the transmission, but not on a failed wheel bearing, say.

But yes, there are tons of aftermarket upgrades for the 2GR-FE and there are tons of suspension upgrades for the Camry which I've run across while looking for parts for my RAV4.
posted by wierdo at 8:06 AM on December 25, 2011

I hate to tell you this, but you've gone and bought yourself an appliance. Just because it's theoretically possible to convert my electric oven to an gas rotisserie doesn't mean it's a good idea to do so.

There are still four door cars that do the things you want. If you want those things bad enough, sell the appliance that isn't intended to do those things and buy one that is.
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:48 AM on December 26, 2011

My defense is that it's a 14 second car (which isn't bad for a 4-door), handles well, and will outlast any other car I was thinking of buying (VW GTI was at the top of my list until I drove this), and was nicer and more fun than the Sonata turbo. It really seems to be the ultimate sleeper.
As a 4 door GTI owner who has also driven a 2010 Camry (rental, 300 miles), no, the Camry doesn't handle well, especially not compared to my new GTI or my old Mini or my even older RSX. My GTI does 0-60 in half the time yours does, so 14 seconds is bad for a 4 door.

Since I'm a fan of my warranty and spend enough time fixing broken things in life, my car is one thing I don't mess with, but if I wanted to, there's a load of info at golfmk6 and vwvortex should I want to drop a few thousand dollars on performance parts.

If you're looking for something beyond the normal intake/exhaust/headers/suspension, does that mean you're looking for aftermarket forced induction? See what's available for the 2011 model and see if the 2012 Camry is different. If it is, you need to wait.
posted by Brian Puccio at 8:08 AM on December 27, 2011

Well, these answers have been completely useless. Did anybody even read the original questions? I wish I was allowed to 'mark as worst answer,' but I'd have difficulty deciding.

Some points:
1) 14 seconds in the quarter mile, not to 60 miles per hour (or 100 kmh).
2) I didn't want to discuss whether my car is an appliance (your opinion).
3) My car is not slower than a GTI, but is actually significantly quicker.
4) My warranty is my business.

Some advice: if you don't know the answer to a question, don't answer.
posted by rybreadmed at 1:02 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

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