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Iconic Cars That Toyota GR Corolla Can Keep Up With

These performance cars are sought-after by enthusiasts for their performance, but for what they are going for nowadays, the Toyota GR Corolla might offer a better bang for the buck.

It's safe to say Toyota broke the performance car market. Its Gazoo Racing division has been churning out exciting new, Toyota sports cars for some time now. Toyota GR Corolla took the hot hatchback market by storm, by offering a tweaked version of the GR Yaris’ punchy, turbo-three engine, rally-bred all-wheel drive, and more.  

That's not all. With many of the iconic performance cars, enthusiasts lust after, becoming more and more expensive, suddenly cars like the GR Corolla make a ton of sense. Some variants of Toyota's GR Corolla, like the Morizo and Circuit edition, have posted 0 to 60 mph times of as little as 4.4 seconds (probably with a 1-foot rollout). However, most models will achieve this in 4.9 to 5.1 seconds from what we have seen.  

Sure, the Japanese hot hatch may not offer as visceral of a driving experience as the below-mentioned performance cars, but it can definitely keep up, and then some. I have also checked current market prices, according to to compare each of the cars with the GR Corolla's price, which starts at $36,995. 

Mazda RX-7 FD 

Average used price: $42,529 

Mazda's flagship "Rotary Rocket” is about to be revived. The Japanese carmaker has had great motorsport success with the rotary engine, and the last great Wankel-powered Mazda was the FD RX-7. Instead of opting for high-tech features or big power, Mazda focused on lightness and balance, making the RX-7, essentially, a bigger, more powerful Miata.

The rotary engine came with its caveats, but it also contributed to one of any sports car's most unique driving experiences. The third-generation Mazda RX-7 was produced from 1991 to 2002, including a variety of market-specific and special editions, explaining the performance variation.  

Mazda RX-7 FD performance specifications 

  • Engine: 1.3-liter, turbocharged, dual-rotor 
  • Output: 239-280 horsepower at 6,500 RPM, 217-232 pound-feet at 5,000 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 5-speed manual/ 4-speed automatic, front-engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 2,685-2,954 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 6.0-4.5 seconds 

BMW M5 E39 

Is the BMW M5 E39 still one of the best M-cars out there?

Average used price in 2024 - $33,546 

The third-generation BMW M5 is, often, considered the most reliable M-car ever made. It's also a modern classic, which sadly, reflects the prices of the four-door Beemer.

The S62 V-8 engine is potent even by today's standards and holds up well to mods like forced induction. At the same time, the M5 offers one of the most understated and well-aged BMW designs in the brand's history. Try saying that about any of the current BMWs. 

BMW M5 E39 performance specifications 

  • Engine: 4.9-liter, naturally-aspirated, DOHC V-8 
  • Output: 400 horsepower at 6,600 RPM, 369 pound-feet at 3,600 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 6-speed manual, front-engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 3,792 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.0 seconds 

Toyota Celica GT-Four 

Buying a JDM icon like this Toyota Celica GT-Four can hide nasty surprisesAverage used price in 2024 - $16,660 

More than 30 years before Toyota gave us the GR Corolla, there was a rally-bred, all-wheel-drive version of the Toyota Celica sports coupe. The third iteration of that car, internally dubbed ST205, was successful in rallying although Toyota cheated, which led to a scandal.

Anyway, the Celica GT-Four came with many of the same features as the GR Corolla, albeit its 3S-GTE engine featured an extra cylinder, and while it may be down on power, it's also down in terms of price and doesn't lack aftermarket support. That said, buying a neglected example of a JDM sports car like the Toyota Celica GT-Four may hide some nasty surprises.  

Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205 performance specifications 

  • Engine: 2.0-liter, turbocharged, DOHC inline-four 
  • Output: 242 horsepower at 6,000 RPM, 223 pound-feet at 4,000 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 5-speed manual, front-engine, AWD 
  • Curb weight: 3,064 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.8 seconds 

Honda/ Acura NSX 

Average used price in 2024 - $94,349 

The original Honda NSX (Acura NSX in North America) revolutionized supercars. It showed the likes of Ferrari, maintaining a high-performance sports car doesn't have to be a nightmare.

This led to better supercars from established, exotic carmakers, and then, there is the involvement of Formula 1 legend, Ayrton Senna, who was instrumental in dialing in the car's settings. NSX stood for new sports car experimental, and the experiment paid off. Sadly, prices have skyrocketed and all the affordable examples will need a hefty dose of TLC. 

Honda/ Acura NSX performance settings 

  • Engine: 3.0-3.2-liter, naturally-aspirated, DOHC V-6 
  • Output: 252-290 horsepower at 6,800/7,100 RPM, 209-224 pound-feet at 5,400/ 5,500 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 6-speed manual/ 4-speed automatic/ mid-engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 3,153 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 6.6-4.8 seconds 

Mercedes E60 AMG "Hammer” (124-Series) 

Average used price in 2024 - $117,014 

The mad scientists at AMG have always given us fun, thundering, tire-shredding with big engine sand loads of torque. It's no surprise, the term "German Muscle car” is used for many Benzes touched by AMG, especially ones produced between the late 1980s and late 2000s.

The W124 Mercedes was the basis for many cool versions, including the Porsche-built 500E, which laid the foundation for all fast Mercedes sedans. The same car is also the basis for the even more bonkers, E60 AMG, nicknamed "the Hammer”. The M119 V-8 engine was enlarged to 6.0 liters as suggested by the M119 E60 designation, for even more tire-shredding, and giggle-inducing fun. Sadly, the price is steep as these classic Benzes are already in the six-figure price range. 

Mercedes E60 AMG "Hammer” (124 Series) performance specifications 

  • Engine: 6.0-liter, naturally-aspirated, DOHC V-8 
  • Output: 381 horsepower at 5,500 RPM, 428 pound-feet at 3,750 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 4-speed automatic, front engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 3,770 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.1 seconds 

Toyota Supra A80 

The fourth-generation Toyota Supra - still modern-day fast even when stock

Average used price in 2024 - $75,690 

Ah yes, the 1990s tuner legend from Toyota, with a price to expensive for most. Depending on the model year and gearbox, even the mighty Mk4 Supra can lag behind the Toyota GR Corolla. While the 2JZ-GTE is much-praised, these days even Chrysler is offering a potent inline-six, ready to provide a fresh platform for high-horsepower builds.

Regardless, one aspect that the Mk Supra doesn't get enough credit for is the chassis, which despite edging more toward the GT segment still offers great balance and rigidity. Then, there is the Getrag manual transmission, which is capable of holding big power, with no problem. I only wish more people kept the sequential twin-turbo setup instead of going with a big single turbo that takes ages to spool.  

Toyota Supra Turbo A80 performance specifications 

  • Engine: 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, DOHC inline-six 
  • Output: 280-330 horsepower at 5,600 RPM, 324 pound-feet at 4,800 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 6-speed manual/ 4-speed automatic, front engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 3,461 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.5-4.8 seconds 

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 

Average used price in 2024 - $206,566 

While the Godzilla nickname was given to the R32 Nissan GT-R, it kind of stuck for the next generations, especially those sharing the same platform. The final evolution of the Skyline GT-R was the R34. The mighty RB26 DETT engine was paired with a motorsport-bred chassis, and a manual transmission from German manufacturer, Getrag, very similar to the one used in the A80 Toyota Supra and even the Mitsubishi 3000 GT/ Dodge Stealth.

Sadly, the Japanese car's legendary status has priced it out of reach for many enthusiasts, as the R34 GT-R is deep into the six-figure price range. Some rare variants go for upwards of $500,000. You can really buy something better at this price point, and yes, I too was (and probably still am) a GT-R fanboy.  

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 performance specifications 

  • Engine: 2.6-liter, twin-turbo, DOHC inline-six 
  • Output: 327 horsepower at 6,800 RPM, 289 pound-feet at 4,400 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 6-speed manual, front-engine, AWD (on demand) 
  • Curb weight: 3,395 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 4.9 seconds 

BMW M3 E46 

Average used price in 2024 - $31,330 

The original BMW M3 E30 was a homologation special and earned the nickname "God's chariot", due to its impeccable balance. The third iteration of the M3, dubbed E46, is an appreciating modern classic for the same reason. Like each new generation, the E46 is bigger, although nowadays, we would call it "perfect-sized" compared to all the over-styled, overhyped modern performance cars (especially from BMW).

The classic, 2+2 coupe silhouette meets the sublime, S54, inline-six engine. Sadly, the optional SMG transmission was a bit of a letdown, which is why examples equipped with it are much more affordable, especially in convertible form. The M3 CSL is lighter and more powerful than the standard M3 E46, but never got a manual from the factory. Luckily, conversions are available. 

BMW M3 E46 performance specifications 

  • Engine: 3.2-liter, naturally-aspirated, DOHC inline-six 
  • Output: 333-343 horsepower at 7,900 RPM, 269 pound-feet at 4,900 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 6-speed manual/ 6-speed automatic, front-engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 3,296 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 4.9 seconds 

Chevrolet Corvette C5 

Average used price in 2024 - $26,656 

The fifth-generation Corvette, both, introduced many innovations and served as the bridge between classic and modern Vettes. The return of the luscious lines was a stark contrast to the C4's, 1980s wedge design, but at the same time, the C5 was also the last Corvette to feature pop-up headlights. It was also the first Corvette to feature a heads-up display.

Regardless, it's under the "skirt” where the Vette truly impressed. The hydroformed chassis was five times stronger than the C4's while the LS1, pushrod V-8 became one of the most popular engines ever when it came to big, reliable power. Despite the C5 Chevy Corvette having appreciated, you can still pick one up at a reasonable price.  

Chevrolet Corvette C5 performance specifications 

  • Engine: 5.7-liter, naturally-aspirated, OHV V-8 
  • Output: 350 horsepower at 5,600 RPM, 350 pound-feet at 4,400 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 6-speed manual/ 4-speed automatic, front-engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 3,293 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.0-4.6 seconds 

Porsche 911 (930) Turbo 

Average used price in 2024 - $161,050 

The Porsche 911 was never a slow car. While people were worried about the first-ever hybrid Porsche 911, the German sports car manufacturer put all worries to rest when the 992.2 GTS came out. The original 1911 Turbo, however, was a bit of a handful. Enthusiasts are reminiscing of the old-school turbocharged engines where you had to wait for the turbo to spool up.

In the case of the 930 Turbo, when the boost came, you had better be awake and alert. It was violent and because of the rear-mounted engine, you also had to watch out for the pendulum effect during weight transfer. This was also long before the 911 Turbo got all-wheel drive. It's no surprise the original Porsche 911 Turbo got the nickname "Widowmaker".  

Porsche 911 (930) Turbo performance specifications 

  • Engine: 3.0-3.3-liter, turbocharged flat-six 
  • Output: 231-330 horsepower at 5,500/ 5,750 RPM, 245-319 pound-feet at 4,000 RPM 
  • Transmission and driveline: 4/5-speed manual, rear engine, RWD 
  • Curb weight: 2,943 pounds 
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.7-4.9 seconds 

About the author

Dimitar Angelov's automotive interests made him an expert in a wide variety of vehicles. Japanese brands like Toyota are closest to his heart, although performance cars in general are his favorite segment, which is why he is constantly on the lookout for the best deals on the market. Dimitar Angelov's car passion and knack for the written word led him to complete a Master of Arts in Media and Communications, and classic car restoration. Dim is happy to get behind the wheel of any car and share his impressions. You can follow Dimitar on XLinked-inInstagram, and Facebook.

Image source: 2024 Toyota GR Corolla, BMW M5 E39, 1993 Toyota Supra, Toyota Celica GT-Four