GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Toyota Supra (Mk. III)

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ma70supra_turboa.jpg
A rare '88 Supra Turbo A

SPEX 

Years Represented: 1988-1993

Class: Sports Car, Grand Tourer

Type: 2+2 fastback coupe

Country: Japan ```````````````````````````````````````````` Host: GT1, GT2, GT4, & GT5

Price: $4,225 (GT2 used lot)  
         $14,178 (GT4 used lot)
         $40,510 (GT5 Premium car lot--3.0 GT Turbo A)

Construction: unit steel
Length: 181.9" // Width: 68.7" // Height: 51.2"
Wheelbase: 102.2"
Overhang: @6 feet 7 inches
Track: 59.8" [F] 58.1" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.5"
Curb Weight: 3,417 (GT2) // 3,460 (GT4)
Weight Distribution: 53/47
Tires: 225/50R-16 92v
Suspension: double wishbone / coils / shox / anti-roll bars
Brakes: vented discs + vacuum assist
Layout: Front engine/Rear drive

Transmission: 5-speed manual
Differential: limited-slip was option


Engine: 3.0 liter DOHC inline-6 or
2.5 liter DOHC inline-6

Aspiration: intercooled turbo or twin turbos
Fuel System: EFi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.59" (3.0)
Compression: 8.4:1 (3.0)

GT4 Tested HP:
236 @ 5,600 rpm
GT4 Tstd Torque
253 @ 3,000 rpm

GT5 Tested HP: 266 @ 6,000 rpm
GT5 Tstd Torq: 258 @ 3,000 rpm


Idle speed: 750 (GT4 and 5)
GT2 Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit: 8,000
GT4/5 Redline: 6,500 // RPM Limit: 7,000

GT2 Credits / HP: $17.90
GT4 Credits / HP: $60.07
GT5 Credits / HP: $152.29

GT2 Pound / HP ratio: 14.28
GT4 Pound / HP ratio: 14.66
GT5 Pound / HP ratio: 12.68

GT2 HP/ liter: 76.7
GT4 HP / liter: 79.9
GT5 HP / liter: 90.3


0-60 mph:
GT2: 7.8 seconds
GT4: 7.800 seconds
GT5: 7.064 "

0-100:
GT2: 18.0 seconds
GT4: 18.900 "
GT5: 16.760 "

400 M:
GT2: 16.366 @ 95 mph
GT4: 16.128 @ 93 mph
GT5: 15.566 @ 96

1/4 Mile:
GT5: 15.620 @ 97 mph

1 KM:
GT2: 28.227 @ 125 mph
GT4: 28.685 @ 121 "
GT5: 27.493 @ 125 "

1 Mile
GT5: 37.770 @ 138 mph

Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 2,500 // (GT4) 2,250 (GT5)

Test Track Lap (GT4): 2:31.430
Daytona Lap (GT5): 58.624

GT2 Top Speed: 164.68 mph @ 6,400 rpm

GT4 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 37 mph
2nd: 64 "
3rd: 97 "
4th: 128 "
5th: 156.2 mph @ 6,000 rpm 
  
GT5 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 36.3 mph
2nd: 61.4 "
3rd: 92.8 "
4th: 123.4 "
5th: 162.9 mph @ 6,500 rpm


 

white_ma70supra_gt1.jpg

EXTERIOR-------------------------------------


The MA70-series Supra. This is the third generation of Supras, otherwise known as Mark III. As we can see from the picture above, It's been with us since GT1, and is therefore one of the original 160 or so cars that have been present since the beginning. Let's discuss.

Basically, Mark III Supras can be found in all GT games except one: in GT3: A-spec they were nixed completely. Matter of fact, most of the Supras are oddly gone from this game--only a couple 4th gen street models and a couple more racing models can be found here, not that I'm complaining.

GT1 includes a handful of Supras. Its Mark IIIs include the Limited-Edition and the Twin Turbo R. GT2 had a total of twelve Supras; and two of these were from the MA70-era (a single and a twin-turbo). In GT4 or 5, there are (again) just two: a Twin-Turbo R and the famous 3.0 GT Turbo A, built in limited real-life numbers (just 500 I think) to satisfy Group A racing requirements.

The MA70 was the 3rd generation of Toyota's Supra, like I said. Polyphony Digital has never represented Toyota's first generation in any game, but one can buy a Mark II (which in real-life was known as the 'Toyota Celica Supra' in America) in GT2, 4, or 5. Perhaps this earlier car might find itself in a seperate review on this site someday....

Okay. It's the mid-80s. While Nissan's 280ZX became more gentrified, and Mazda's RX-7 gained a bit of weight to its bubblishly nerdy frame, the Supra took on a "meaty" look; with a long, sloping nose but a block-like front bumper. Buldge down the hood. "Try and catch me!" it seems to tempt. It's arguably the only Japanese car from its time with a musclecar-ish look, although it would never be mistaken for anything American. Not that only American cars can be considered "musclecars" or anything.

...Oh goodness...here comes the hate mail.
                 
The MA70, with 5 and a half inches of ground clearance, is not slung super-low to the ground like some sports cars, but appears larger and lower than it really is, due to its butch-looking stance. It is generally a stable car due to its wide track and 3,400+ pounds of weight, though this changes eventually (more on this later).

So this Supra is heavy, very much so, even after full weight reductions. Depends on the game, though. GT2's cars get the worst deal here, I think. The weight isn't such a problem in some scenarios since great power can be twisted from the engine, and those kilograms also make the Supra stable over bumpy tracks. But at times, this car's weight can be a curse. As usual, MA70s in GT1 will accept more weight reductions than the GT2 car, and both can accept racing kits.

As I implied earlier, the Supra was derived from the Celica, which has been popular (though not to the point of over-saturation) since the late '70s. Both at one time were rear-wheel drive, but over the years the Supra has differentiated itself and become the sports car, while the Celica is just the 'sporty' car, with front-wheel drive. I like to think of Celicas as chick cars, actually.  


There are a decent amount of color choices. Sometimes, the Supra you want may be hard to find since they are always in the used lot. At other times, there will be an abundance of them at the dealer (especially in GT2), and you'll be tempted to buy two or three perhaps. Only in GT5 can we buy a Mk. III at any time; this game features the 3.0 GT Turbo A as a Premium model.

Though it has many pluses, and is loved by many gamers, the MA70 also has some faults and feels a bit antiquated at times.
But let's talk about some of the good stuff, shall we? Yes we shall. That's an affirmative.
         

ma70supra_racekit.jpg
Supra race kit (GT1)

ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------------------

Here we have what are some of Toyota's most famous powerplants.
    
Supras from this era feature a couple different engines: a 3.0 liter straight 6 with one turbo, and the smaller 2.5 liter engine with two. Both of these can be found in GT1, 2, 4, or 5, and in various models. The single-turbo starts out with less horsepower than the twin of course, but both can be tweaked massively in GT1 or 4 (not so much in GT2 or 5). In GT1 or 4, this is one of the few used models in which we can apply all 4 stages of turbo charging. The cost is high, but for those brave enough it's worth it!! GT2 and 5 only have 3 turbo stages, each. But I'm noticing the third turbo in GT5 creates a rather large bump of power (more than usual). It must actually be a Stage 4 turbo, then; they merely skipped Stage 3.  

The unmodified engine is strong and revs with vigor. Available power starts off strong and broad, but as you bolt-in stronger turbos, low-end torque quickly disappears in GT1 and GT4...not so much in GT2 or 5. Eventually, this becomes one of those famous "all or little" sorts of motors -- as engineers from the '80s often knew how to pile in the power and the turbo-lag that comes with it!

I am noticing in GT5 that even with the strongest turbo in place, useful power can almost always be grabbed, sometimes from as low as 4,000 rpms. Only if we go super-low with revs will we encounter lag. With an RPM limit of 7,000, there are quite a few revs to play with out of turns, and many a car can be passed while using some of those lower gears. You can skool a Pagani at Nurburgring in 3rd gear, for instance, in a typical 2nd-gear corner. Stuff like that.  

The Supra is able to keep up with other cars of its class, and blow away all of the easier races. In any GT game, MK. IIIs can be had for cheap. We're talkin' typically less than $20,000, which means a Supra in the hands of even some mediocre drivers will crush early beginner's-league races....no mods to the engine, and a beneficially early bank account that rises and rises should you keep your MA70.

.....There's something fun about a Rags to Riches story with an MA70 as the main star, and as the plot moves on to more challenging events, more and more and more intercooled turbo power becomes the main prop behind-the-scenes. ;-)

GT5 has become the exception here. I have yet to see a used-model in this game, but the Turbo A can be bought from the Premium lot. It's got the proper dash material, too (a mixture of mostly plastic and vinyl), and the headlights pop up at certain tracks!  But we're gonna pay for all these niceties.  As we can see in the Specs section at the top of this review, Turbo As have risen from about $14,000 to over 40 grand!   
       
Adding modifications will make MK IIIs fun but challenging-to-drive during intermediate levels, for those of us with experience. If you cause some mistakes at this stage of racing, you'll still have the speed to make up for them. Now in more difficult events, this engine will keep up with the competition, but sometimes the car itself won't be able to! This is especially true in GT1, 4, and 5, not so much in the 2nd game, which is generally more forgiving to play. ....more on that later.....

Expect to spend money on the engine, drivetrain, and muffler/air system. It WILL be worth it if you can handle what you're about to handle. The Supra becomes exponentially more difficult to drive (more so than other cars like the Viper or Skyline GT-R) the more stuff we add to it, so keep this in mind before you spend up to 10x or more than you bought the car for.
         
Gearing is: 4-speeds balanced for the narrow power-band engine, with a taller 5th to complete the ride down the straightaway. No major complaints. Looking at the acceleration and speed results above in the Specs section, it's obvious PD has used several different gearing ratios for different models, probably based on real-life configurations. The Turbo A Supras from GT4 and GT5 both have the same redline (6,500) for instance, yet will be going at different speeds once we're at redline, in gears 1 through 4.

I find that I don't ever need the super-close gearbox. It's possible to therefore buy the close-ratio one, and use it when a stock gearbox is too tall (like at Autumn Ring, Grindelwald, Tsukuba, or Rome). The racing gearbox only becomes necessary during mega-speed competitions, and during any of the actual racing series, when stock gearing feels cumbersome or too short.

Mainly, the problem is this car only comes with a 5-speed in GT or GT2, no matter which gearbox is used, and 5th gear is no longer tall enough once the motor is fully-modified. GT4 and 5 are exceptions: full-custom gearing means 6 speeds.

...So overall, we have an engine with a short attention span (if you aren't constantly coaxing it into the correct gear) in some games. In other games, there are a wider range of revs available. GT1 and 4's more-extreme turbo lag is what makes the difference.

wrecked_silver_supra.jpg

 

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

Here comes the dramatic end to this review, fireworks display and all -- and since the MA70 has won popularity contests in the hearts of many gamers, I'll devote some quality time.
         

This portion of the car (suspension, steering, brakes, and undercarriage), is fully up to the sports car specs of its time, whether the designers meant it this way or not. But hold on....this doesn't mean all shall be ours on a gold platter. Not necessarily.

The springs in particular are very stiff, especially those front coils; which means the Supra very responsive to road conditions early on. Other Japanese sports cars (Silvias, RX-7s, even some Skylines) may be prone to wallow about at times, but not the Supra. Always keep this in mind.... even if the suspension is a newly-bought sports kit. Even if it's just stock. The front coils (as I said) are much stronger than the rears. Which is an odd Toyota trademark that leads to some tricky track situations.

Well since the MA70 appears in three GT games, I can conveniently wrap this review up for ya'll step by step. :)

GT1:

Some taciturn MA70s are ours for the mastering here. Oversteer is as common as lies from a politician in this game, but at least the Supra won't try to gloss over or sugar-coat things for you. No, the jackhammer turbo-action that keeps the car rolling down those straights will often try and get it fishtailing as you punch the throttle out of turns, and the MA70 is genuinely unapologetic about this in this first game.

This Supra is ready to surprise and let you know you're not the boss; if anything, you're just a gatekeeper trying to keep an angry pit-bull from running into the nearest wall! Also, the steering in GT1 is very twitchy if sticky front tires are used. During high-speed braking the rear also gets unstable.

The problem with this one (particularly in advanced racing) is its tires, which aren't wide enough to handle the load of G-forces this heavy car demands. It's too bad, really. It is possible to keep the Supra winning races and doing some cool shit, but it can't be pushed as hard in GT1 as some other sports cars without spinning or otherwise misbehaving, mostly due to those rear tires.

You'd think (therefore), this an ideal drifter's car, yet most of the drifts I've made are of the short-lived, frantic type; not the beautiful tear-shedding moments that can be experienced in some others. Though anyone can eventually win in a GT1 MA70 with a savvy combination of control-over-power, only the top pros will master this one for drifting.

 

GT2:

And here, the MA70 is considerably easier to drive. Yes, it still fishtails, it is still not perfect, but the entire package is much more controllable. Much more accessible. In GT2, the MA70 becomes a logical racing machine with a low (very low) price tag, yet a long potential career. It can be tossed about for fun as a drifter in this game, with more success by less experienced folk.

Unfortunately, power tops out at just under 450 horses! Ooof. Dismal, folks. I'm a bit of a space cadet and didn't mention it earlier, but a GT1 Twin Turbo R will accept 679 hp with about 549 foot-pounds, why this got changed in the 2nd game is anybody's guess.

 

GT4:
 Largely absent from the first two editions of PD's MA70 Supra is understeer. Well, don't worry.... in GT4, understeer is here and always near! ...and it's been conveniently combined with the Supra's other faults: fishtailing/oversteer and rear-end high-speed instability. Oh joy!

Here's what typically happens. The car is rolling down a straight and you need to brake. The brakes are good. Real good....Toyota did a righteous job here. However, let's say... you're slowing from a rapid 150-ish mph pace. Some advice: beware of any slight steering movements or you can easily be toast, as those rear tires lose their lateral grip easily under such circumstances. Not as dangerous to bring down as an MR2, but still, be careful folks.

The steering? It's also working on our side. Brake, turn-in...everything feels wonderful, and the Supra's front-end lacks the grippiness found in GT1. The problem is the understeer, as I mentioned, it's here and wants to party. It typically shows up mid-corner despite the fact that the  Supra has carefully turned into a proper racing line. Despite the fact that you braked successfully. And haven't touched the gas pedal.

....All that doesn't matter; you've braked, but this car wants you to brake really early! Get it all done early, man. Or that understeer will take things from here, thank you. I'm not sure why this happens in GT4 but not the other games--all I can say is perhaps it's a testament towards sports cars from the '80s (which are praised endlessly by us gamers yet aren't near perfect), and PD wanted to capture its essence.

Anyways, GT4/MA70 continued... Maybe you've braked early and everything's okay, or maybe a split second too late and now you're mowing grass...either way, now it's Part 2 of today's mini-drama: Get Supra OUT of Corner.

Really, there aren't any surprises here. The MA70 behaves pretty much as it did in GT1 and (sometimes) GT2...lay on too much gas and you'll know it, so basically do your best not to lay it all on at once unless you want to play "risky D2 guy".


.....You get what I mean.....

GT5
In this game, the Supra 3.0 Turbo A is now a Premium model, with a functional dash and dark interior. I have yet to locate the twin-turbo 2.5 liter car in this game's used car lot, but I'm assuming it's still there.   

I drove the Premium Supra around High Speed Ring (large, swooping curves), and then did a few laps around the dangerous Nurburgring GP/F track, which of course offers mostly tight turns, with strict braking zones. In both cases, the car was on its stock soft radial tires, with power also stock. Finally, the Supra was souped up for the professional-level Supercar Festival, and was driven now on sport tires with more-advanced suspensions.

At High Speed Ring, it's quickly obvious the Supra, with its fastback Gran Tourer shape, is completely happy. Turning-in is a joy at this wide track, with understeer up front keeping a firm limit, yet not dominating as much as it did in GT4. Even on cheap radial tires, the Turbo A manages to hold solid lines mid-turn, never getting upset, with slight lift-off happening at times (something not present in GT4). 

Show the gas-pedal what you want it to do while exiting, and the Supra still displays its oversteerish mannerisms from earlier games. We can get wild and slide the car out, or we can keep it safer, saving some traction and getting the Supra out of that turn with maybe only some slight weaving. If you can manage to keep the weaving in check, the car now starts to steer ever-so-slightly (sometimes more than slightly) from the rear. A useful trait for keeping exit lines tight. 

Comparing GT4 to GT5, more oversteer-under-throttle is available to us, yet it's also more controlable.  

Now at Nurburgring GP/F, we start to see some problems. Heh, what did we expect? :)

Up front, there's an almost even split between steering-grip and GT4's understeer. Yes it does return, but it never gets too bad if you know what you're doing. In other words, understeer now does become a reality at this pretzel-ish track, but it's not something that'll completely ruin our track days.

The Turbo A still holds a line mid-turn, but the lift-off we took pleasure in at High Speed Ring no longer offers quite as much a hand at tightening up cornering. Nothing I didn't expect, though. This is something which can easily be fixed once those tires are upgraded to sports.  

On-exit, well....there are plenty of driving options, just as there were in earlier games. The Supra's tail can still wiggle on occasion (even with 266-ish hp) but it's easy to keep things in check. Overall, we can play with this car's cornering, even on these cheap tires, a bit more than we could in GT4.  

Add some sports tires, and add more and more power. The Supra feels meatier, yet retains many of its predictable qualities. One must start tuning, though. Tuning the entire car, that is, once we're pushing over 400 horses. The Supra is not a modern sports car by any means. No suspension, limited-slip, and brake tuning at this point means we'll be driving a car that feels flimsy and clumsy.

As I raced my silver ghetto-sled at all three Supercar Festival tracks, and then at Nurburgring GP/F in a few Arcade-mode races, I learned quickly that the Supra needed lots of help, and went straight to Mad Finn's Tuning Shop. This shop can be located at GT Planet's tuning forums.

After using their brake, suspension, and especially limited-slip tunes, the Supra felt like an entirely new car. Predictable. Pushable. It had a front-end bite into turns that resulted in a few options mid-turn (dive in, or take it back wide). I could pounce the gas with more success, too, out of turns. The rear was not turning to mush like it usually would.   

All in all, and all told, the Mk. III Supra (any of the versions, in any game) gets thumbs up from me and many many others, but don't expect to master it in a day, or maybe even a month.

red_ma70.jpg

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

1). One of the true stars from the used car lots! Low, low cost for a LOT of performance. This is truely one that can go from "ugly duckling" to the top! Or at least near the top (depends on which game you've got).

2). GT1 or GT4 version can be modified to perform with up to 4 turbos. Matter of fact, go to the Tuner's Shop (GT4) and you can actually buy a Stage 5 turbo if you like. Intercoolers in all games except GT5, too.

3). MA70s can be bought as single or twin-turbo models. The single, of course, starts with less power and is therefore newb-friendlier.

4). Low and mid-speed stability.

5). Variety: there are often many of these used cars to choose from. White ones, red ones, green, blue....all priced ready to go.... In GT5, the 3.0 GT Turbo A is now Premium, and can be bought at any time.

6). Race-ready suspension with strong springs is standard equipment, and will not need typical modification till intermediate levels of racing. In real-life, some models had electronic suspension adjustments as an option; perhaps PD is trying to represent the sportiest setting.

7). Race-kits available--GT1 or 2.

8). Strong brakes in all games except GT5. Accurate steering in any game. Advanced braking technology (beyond ABS) was available in some real-life models, and again I believe PD incorporated this.

9). Appropriate gearing while power is stock or near-stock.

10). A strong demeanor, masculine design. “Let's do battle, sir!” the MA70 seems to suggest. Bossy, the way a sports car should be.

11). GT5: some Premium models have gauges that are impossible to read. The Supra 3.0 Turbo A features a tachometer and speedometer that are easy to see and use, for manual-gearbox drivers.  


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

1). Weight.

2). The tires on the GT1 car offer questionable grip: the front-end grabs under braking while the rear wants to play hooky. In GT2, novice players will have problems here, too. In GT4, understeer becomes an issue even with careful braking & steering. GT5 isn't as bad, as 1 or 2, but novices need not apply. 

...In all four GT games, fishtailing & power-oversteer can quickly go from “playful” to “oh, I wish I hadn't done that”!

3). Tempermental throttle response, which can lead to oversteer, twitchiness, and spin-outs in the hands of a novice or even an up-and-coming race driver. Oh, I just said that in Con #2.

4). Good, grabby brakes, but under pressure the rear can get sloppy. Brake controller a great addition here, guys. And any gals out there.

5). High spring rates standard, which means these Supras will bounce a lot at tracks like Trail Mountain or Deep Forest, until we can tame by taming these coils with aftermarket parts.

6). This is one in which that'll typically need all the aftermarket parts we can afford early-on (not so true in GT2). Limited-slips, brake upgrades...n00bs may need better tires with traction controls ON.

7). GT4 and 5: not a huge concern, but some MA70s (like the ultra-rare Turbo A version) have now gone up in price! They can also be somewhat hard to find at times from the used car lot.

8). GT2 and 5: Stage 4 turbos. What happened to them???

9). Poor straight-line throttle response when accelerating from a standstill. It's hard to launch these due sometimes to their whip-snappy rears. And this is a car that deserves better accleration than the numbers suggest. 2nd-gear launches tend to either bog down or smoke some rubber....

10). GT1 & GT4 cars prone to some wicked turbo-lag. Low-end torque? HA! Dream on!! Lag? You can rely on it about as much as you can rely on silly new & improved Geico commercials.
 

Published: August 23rd, 2004

Heavily Edited: September 22nd, 2007

Edited for GT5 content: May 31st-June 2nd, 2012

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