At first glance, this might seem like a rather bizarre drag race. We have a modern three-cylinder hot hatchback against a classic four-cylinder street-going rally car, and they’re both facing a legendary six-cylinder sports car. But alas, there are more similarities here than just the Toyota emblems they all carry.
First off, let’s review this Toyota-exclusive lineup starting with the newest kid on the block. The GR Yaris only brings a 1.6-liter three-pot to the fight, but it’s turbocharged to the hilt and sends 261 horsepower (195 kilowatts) to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. It’s a modern-day rally racer that continually punches above its pay grade, and that matters because there’s a Mk4 Supra bringing its 2JZ inline-six to the party. In stock turbo trim the engine makes 320 hp (239 kW) for the rear wheels, and amazingly, this particular A80 is actually stock. However, it’s also saddled with a four-speed automatic.
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The final competitor is a vehicle that, in our opinion, doesn’t get the respect it deserves. The ST205 Celica GT-Four hit the streets in 1994 and was quickly overshadowed by the Supra, but with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 252 hp (188 kW), it wasn’t a slouch. That’s especially true with a five-speed manual and all-wheel drive, so at the end of the day, all three are competitors are turbocharged and hold legit pedigree in Toyota’s performance history. The Celica and Yaris also have similar power levels, and though the Supra has a clear power advantage, it’s quite chubby by comparison.
As with typical Carwow races, the action opens with a standing start and to no real surprise, the all-wheel-drive duo leaps ahead of the Supra. That gap is quickly erased with the Celica, but the plucky GR Yaris is the lightest of the bunch and the mighty 2JZ isn’t it’s best when connected to the four-speed automatic. Can the A80 run down a car with less power and half the cylinders?
That’s a question we can also ask for the obligatory roll race, as once again, both manual-equipped competitors jump to an early lead while the Supra’s automatic transmission kicks down. This time around, even the Celica is a struggle for the Mk4, never mind the Yaris. A second roll race is held at a different speed, followed by the obligatory braking test. Celica fans will want to look away from that one.
Is there a clear winner of the day? Out of the four contests, two cars ultimately claim at least one victory. As for which car dominates, let’s just say that power matters, but so does weight.