GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Toyota Supra (MK IV)

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silver_suprarz.jpg

SPEX
Years Represented: 1993-1997
Class: Sports Dar
Type: fastback coupe

Country of Origin: Japan ````````````````` Host: GT1, GT2, GT3 & GT4

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
GT1 Price New Cars: $34,000 (SZ-R) $43,900 (RZ)
GT1 Price Used Cars: $19,280 (SZ-R) N/A (RZ)

GT2/GT3 New Car Price: $34,700 ('97 SZ-R), $44,800 ('97 RZ)
GT2 Used Car Price: $20,666, $25,667

GT4 Price: $17,000 (used '97 SZ-R), $21,950 (used '97 RZ)

Construction: unit steel body, aluminum hood. aluminum & steel chassis.
Length: 177.8" // Width: 71.25" // Height: 50.9"
Wheelbase: 100.4"
Overhang: 6 feet 5 inches
Track: 59.1" [F] 60.0" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.1"
Weight: 3,196 pounds (SZ-R), 3,328 pounds (RZ)
Wgt. Dist: 51/49
Drag: 0.310
Steering: variable power-assisted rack & pinion
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Tires: 225/50ZR-16 [F] 245/45ZR-16 [R]
F & R. Suspension: dual wishbone, coils, anti-roll bars, shocks
Brakes: vented discs

Engine: 3.0 liter DOHC inline-6
Construction: cast iron block, alumium head
Aspiration: natural (SZ-R) intercooled turbo (RZ)
Fuel System: EFi with VVTI
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.39 x 3.39"
Compression: 10.0:1 (SZ-R), 8.5:1 (RZ)

GT4 stats below:

`````````````````````````SZ-R````````````````````RZ
Final BHP: ``222 @ 6,000         325 @ 5,600 
Fnl. Torque:
207 @ 4,800         392 @ 3,600
 
Credits per Hp: $76.58                 $67.54
Pounds per HP: 14.40                  10.24
Hp per Liter:     74.0                     108.4
 
Idle Speed: 750 // Redline: 6,800 // RPM Limit: 7,000

Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Differential (real-life): Limited-slip

GT2 testing

`````````````````````SZ-R ```````````````RZ
0-60 mph: 7.277 seconds
0-100mph: 17.806 seconds

 
400 M: 15.535 @ 93 mph
1 Kilom:
27.956 @ 123 mph

Test Track: 1:46.359


GT4 testing
done with N3 tires + oil changed

```````````````````SZ-R `````````````````````````RZ````````
0-60 mph: 7.816 secs.             6.333 seconds
0-100mph: 18.033 secs.          12.900 seconds
0-150mph: 58.450 secs.           31.116 secs.
 
400 M:   15.927 @ 93 mph       14.557 @ (speed n/a)
1 Kilom: 28.115 @ 122 mph    25.826 @ 140 mph
 
Test Track: 2:29.661                        2:10.976

Brakes: 100-zero: 4.03 seconds     3.92 seconds
Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 2,800        2,150

SZ-R Top Speed at Redline
1st: 33 mph
2nd: 57 mph
3rd: 86 mph
4th: 109 mph
5th: 132 mph
6th: 160.92 mph@ 7,000 rpms (GT2) 
```````157.39 mph @ 6,700 rpms (GT4)

RZ Top Speed at Redline
1st: 3x mph
2nd: 66 mph
3rd: 99 mph
4th: 127 mph
5th: 154 mph
6th: 180.32 mph @ 6,500 rpm (GT4)  
 

red-supra_szr.jpeg


---------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY--------------


This generation of Supra, the racy-looking Mk IV, is one that I didn't get to explore much 'til recently. Towards the end of my GT2 days, I did drive a Supra SZ-R as well as an RZ, but don't have much memory about either one except that they fishtail alot (in my memory, anyways). Apparently my experiences with these cars were sandwiched between countless others: Vipers, Civics, Camaros, Astons, TVRs, Alfas...you name it. I didn't drive or race ANY Mk IVs at all in GT1 or 3 (except till recently to finish this review). Well it turns out I really missed one heck of a party.

1993 was the first year of Mk-IV production. The 4th-generation of Supra was meant to be a grand refinement over any Supra previously built. I'll cut right to the chase (whatever the hell that means) and tell you my opinion: Toyota achieved their goal.

There really is a huge difference between 3rd-generation and 4th generation Supras, most of this difference is positive (from a racing standpoint, anyways). They really are very different beasts. And we can experience these differences while comparing both generations side by side in any game except GT3 (which doesn't include any Mk. IIIs). There are always several versions of both generations of Supra, included in any other Gran Turismo. 

For those who have been playing GT1 since the mid '90s, it's a bit of a sad tale overall. Little did we know that this (the 4th) generation would be the last generation, as the world was about to get obsessive with giant sport-utility vehicles over the next few years, and sports-car sales would plunge. Toyota decided to play it safe, and dropped the Supra altogether.

But do not despair. The Mk-IV Supra lives and thrives as strong as ever in any GT game. In GT1, there are two SZ-Rs and two RZs from both '95 and '97. Therefore, there is a used SZ-R and a new one; a used RZ and a new one. The main difference is that the newer RZs get more a few more horses with full mods in place than used RZs, but SZ-Rs don't get any additional power in the long run. Whether you buy a '95 or a '97 in GT1, both wind up with about 377 horses.

GT2, on the other hand, includes several MK IVs, a confusing total of seven versions, some new and some used. For GT3 and GT4, PD scaled back, apparently eliminating as much excess as possible. There is only one SZ-R and one RZ in each game. Really, this is all we really need. In GT4, both cars have a '97 model year.

In the first two games, Mk IVs are easy to find, even from the used car lots. If you're interested, there really is NO EXCUSE not to own one. If a newer Supra's higher price puts you off, just hunt the used lots! Like many other '90s-era Japanese models, the only issue in these games (so far as used cars go) is that you may have to wait if you're trying to dish up a particular color. In GT3, of course, either Supra (SZ-R or RZ) can be had at any time, since there are no used cars in this game.

Once we get to GT4, all the rules unfortunately change in a bad way. Mk IVs only appear in the #2 used lot, and they are also very RARE. I can't emphasize the frustration I felt as I tried to buy first an SZ-R, and then an RZ in GT4, staying for days, weeks, and finally MONTHS at Las Vegas as I waited for these cars to show up. And they usually show up one at a time. I really wanted a blue version of one and a red of the other, but what wound up happening is I took whatever color eventually showed up so I could get my game going again.

As some of the pictures show, I wound up with a dull silver RZ. It took awhile before I finally found a dark blue model, but I finally got one. For sure, these cars are definitely worth the wait. Not sure what the rest of the world is like, but Supras actually are a bit rare here in America. As I said before, low sports car sales in the '90s are partially to blame, and those occasional owners who no-doubt wrecked their cars are also at fault. Supras are racy cars, after all.  

As sports cars, these Supras are on the heavy side, but not horribly so. Although Supras after '93 weigh about the same as their main competition (the Z car), They feel more competent than Z cars, even with no weight reductions. In GT4, the RZ falls to 2,761 pounds with full weight removed, and of course the SZ-R is somewhat lighter. (chart) Pound-shaving helps in the long run, but isn't 100% necessary for all races Mk IV Supras can run. 

And get ready, for these cars can run many, many races...in some cases they'll be able to finish World Cups, NA or Turbo cups, and sophisticated Tuned events, taking you all the way to the top. But this depends on which game you've got. Let us learn some idiosyncracies from game to game.

  

 


 

-------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-----------------------
 
Toyota already found near-perfection with the MA70/Mk III-era of Supra engines, so the straight-6 as it appears in Mk IV-era cars doesn't boast anything out of the ordinary. These engines are more powerful, though. We do have more power with this newer generation of sixes...but the actual engine is a 3.0 liter, no larger than a six found in an Mk III. This is only being mentioned because often many carmakers use displacement increases as a way of attracting customers, and/or increasing power. Also, I don't think the smaller 2.5 liter powerplant was carried over, offered for Mk IV. Not that this is a problem. 
 
For Mk IV, Toyota offered these sixes either as naturally-aspirated (SZ-R) or with an intercooled twin turbo (RZ). We get to play with both cars, of course. The naturally-aspirated versions are not as strong as straight-sixes for a BMW M3 as it appears in GT4, nor is their redline as high, but otherwise they are good, flexible motors that have much in common. Torque is strong. The range of revs is wide and easy to work with, rather than spikey and difficult. Naturally-aspirated Supras are easier to drive and race, overall, and remain so most of the time even when power is tweaked. These cars have a greater range of traction-under-acceleration, too.
 
Unfortunately, as we saw in the last chapter, power can't be tweaked nearly as high as in the turbos. In any game, the turbo cars can accept all four intercooled-turbo kits, making them Kings.

4th-gensupra.jpeg

---------------CHASSIS / HANDLING-------------

When these cars started production in 1993, just 20 of them were created in the first run. Toyota wanted to remove the musclecar-like image of the earlier MA70, and replace it with something much more refined, much more capable. The 4th-gen Supra borrowed the 3rd-gen's tradition of stiff coil springs and five inches of ground clearance, yet as we'll see, 4th-gen cars get things even better. “Thank you” is all I have to say.

All it takes is a couple laps of driving to see how versatile the MK-IV is. ...Not just because of the great power differences, but also because of the behavior of these cars from showroom to GT World Cup: while they are stock, when they are moderately modified, and when they are deeply modified. From game to game, the way this car was modeled also changes.


GT1
The Supra here is so different from later games. Both the SZ-R and the RZ start off being little rockstar/supercars. Seriously, even the worst drivers who ever crawled out of a cave should be able to handle either of these cars with ease while they're near-stock.

Firstly, the lack of understeer is really astounding. Almost ZERO understeer! It's simply not possible to have a front-engine car that doesn't exhibit some understeer, yet it's happening in the first game. Second, notice that after awhile, every corner is nothing but another chance to showboat...to get as sideways as possible; and then just as easily pull back into a solid, straight line. Driving a Supra in GT1 on pavement is seriously almost like driving a rally car with 4-wheel drive in GT2 on an off-road track at times. Neither the SZ-R nor the RZ exhibits any rear-wheel spin no matter how sideways you get or when you drop the gas-pedal. You'd expect this from the weaker SZ-R, but even the RZ drives like some sort of clingy high-speed turtle.

Add some power, and things can start to get ugly for less experienced players. Now, there's still zero understeer but buckets of oversteer. With almost 800 horses on tap in an RZ (and no limited-slip devices available), it takes mad concentration just keeping one of these rockets going in a straight line! But pros can eventually figure this car (even high-powered) out in the long run. It just takes lots of practice and teeth-gnashing moments.

GT2
There is a huge difference from the first game to the 2nd. Both cars still have a very wide margin of leechy grip, but the RZ (in particular) doesn't get away with as much as it did in GT1. Understeer in both cars is still lowish while stock, but the RZ rear does start to get a little more playful...and this can lead to spins if you carry things too far.

But that doesn't mean you can't still play hard. Often, all it takes is a well-timed flick of countersteer to zero out any chance of spinning or sliding uncontrollably. These cars still tolerate plenty of recalcitrant moments in the right hands. If anything, they're just modeled in more detail and with firmer limits.

The used Supras don't accept nearly as much power as the new ones in GT2, oddly, even though the MkIV Supras had the exact same engine design for years in real-life. Anyways, we're talking about a difference of 741 horses for a new RZ versus about 387 for a used one. Just like in GT1, the more power we add, the more "fishtaily" these cars get; the difference in GT2 is (of course) it's possible to install a full-custom limited-slip, which is EXTREMELY recommended and makes all the difference in those higher-paced races.

GT3
The SZ-R still remains a top car for beginners. It's still just as open and easy to drive...and it still welcomes pros to push it harder and harder, to try and find those limits. "Toss me into the corner! Come on, don't be a sissy!!" it taunts.

Get it sideways..plant that throttle like an ice pick, and ease out of that slide! I think in this game, SZ-Rs are the most fun. Understeer shows up extremely late, like a shy person peeking her head into a party, and just as quickly hiding back into the shadows.

With a mighty burnout of those rear 245s, the RZ is obviously bolder and takes more skill to drive, yet is still putty in our hands while the power is low. Just like the SZ-R, the RZ doesn't need much brake-time in this game, and would rather you brake later than you would in many less capable cars. The front-end stays right on-track like 99% of the time...and you can do whatever you wish with the rear!

But with about 875 horses and no race-kit to speak of...the front-end finally starts to get a little sloppy in GT3...while the rear gets REALLY sloppy. Yikes. It's frightening and not very fun, to be honest....like driving on a frozen lake, except with lots of walls and guardrails to slam into! Tuning a limited-slip helps as it does in GT2, but without modifyable downforce, highly souped-up RZs are just for the eXtReMe bungee-jumping pros amongst us.


GT4
Like many cars in this game, understeer prevails above oversteer, especially while the RZ and SZ-R are young and stock (or nearly so). But there's still a massive front footprint of grip keeping things safe. However, it's the understeer that finally does start to show up that seperates GT4 versions from the ones in earlier games.

Other than some late (very late) understeer, the SZ-R doesn't change much from earlier games. It still navigates corners like it was born to do so....and is still very tossable, flexible, and won't require a limited-slip till power is pushing Stage 3 (say...about 350-ish bhp). It is still either an amateur's best friend or a pro's paradise. But after awhile, you do start to notice the little stuff. Those moments when the SZ-R finally does start to understeer at exactly the wrong time, for instance. It's easy to get over-confident in this one since it's constantly teasing us to do so, but occasionally there are those moments when whoops!...it can't fulfill what it promises. But once you learn the limits, rarely will this car disappoint.

Again, since the RZ accepts boatloads more power than the naturally-aspirated SZ-R, it eventually winds up being the super-rockstar while the SZ-R remains a dependable, fastidious roadie.

While near stock, the RZ in GT4 navigates corners just like an SZ-R, except the rear-end has a tendency to get a bit more squirrely out of corners. For the most part, this rear-end squirrelyness is mostly controlable while power is anywhere near stock (350-ish hp). A limited-slip isn't needed for awhile, unless one is chosen for use in an attempt to try and kill whatever behavior is deemed negative. This changes, of course.

Eventually (and fairly quickly) the RZ will NEED a limited-slip of some sort, if it's to be kept behaving. I'm talking about Stage 1 power, now. It can be a fixed differential at this stage, but once you're REALLY laying up the power, a full-custom unit definately becomes necessary. This is unlike the Viper, unlike the Skyline, unlike many other cars I've driven in GT4. 

The RZ is just as race-worthy as these sports cars, but it requires tuning earlier. And now... 


 

PROS--------------------------------------

1). A classic Japanese sports car that evolved over many years and four generations. The Mk IV represents the peak of Toyota's commitment.

2). That versatile straight-6 engine. From game to game there are variations of it...all of them do their job well.

3). The SZ-R is amateur-friendly (tho not newb-friendly), while the RZ is more strictly for the intermediates and pros among us. Something for everybody (but newbs).

4). 6-speed transmission in any version or year.

5). A tail-happy rear-drive car. Excitement is always a tap of gas away. There are lots of scenarios to place an Mk IV Supra, whether we're going for grip or drift. A very versatile RWD machine.

6). GT1 & 2: racing kits available. GT4 cars accept wing kits.

7). Used and new models in GT1 and 2, as well. No matter what your budget, one of these can soon be in your garage. Even in GT4, these cars are still inexpensive.

8). Smooth, very quick acceleration once out of 1st gear.

9). The lack of understeer (in any game) is very welcome. Oversteer in many flavors adds spice to the stew. Overall a very competent sports car...more race-ready than earlier Mk 1 thru III Supras.

10). Strong brakes.

11). Slipstreamy aerodynamics make for some very high top speeds.

12). Oh yeah. Lots and lots of power upgrades, particularly for the RZ. In any game, it's possible to take some RZs well over 800 horsepower.


CONS----------------------------------------------

1). Difficult to control for some drivers. The gas pedal in particular must be mastered in this car, whether you're trying for a straight-line acceleration run or general exit-cornering during races.

2). GT1 and GT2: not all SZ-R and RZs are created equal. Some cars (some used RZs of GT2, particularly) can't make anywhere near the max power of others. Too many versions can create some confusion, basically.

3). Limited-slip devices, extensive suspension tuning, and even some brake tuning is highly recommended if you are to extend your Supra's career far. This is definately a tuner's car, despite being race-ready and competent while stock. In other words, n00bs and some amateurs who might do okay in a Skyline GT-R should steer clear of these Supras.

4). Stock gearing can feel too tall for super-twisty, shorter tracks, despite this car's flexible engine.

5). Heavy. Weight reductions recommended for these in the long run.

6). GT1: lack of aftermarket limited-slip devices eventually ruins the Mk-IV's capabilities.

7). GT3: the lack of wing kit or racing aerodynamics in this game means it's useless to try and use ALL the power this car is capable of.

8). GT4: difficult to find either an SZ-R or an RZ from the used lots. It can take a stroke of luck, or alot of planning & waiting to find that exact color.

9). Lowish suspension + stiff springs make for a bouncy, difficult ride over bumpy areas. Finally, the Supra's track prowess can get skewed as its undercarriage jumps and skips.


Finally published: January 14, 2009, but written over several months prior.      

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