15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With - story fullscreen Fullscreen

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With

These 15 cars are legendary and the 2022 GR Corolla can give each of them a run for their money

The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla is the latest and most anticipated hot hatchback to come out. We know it has a 300-horsepower version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-three from the GR Yaris and shares the same GR-Four all-wheel-drive system. While we don’t have official performance figures, we know that the smaller, less powerful GR Yaris can reach from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in as little as 4.6 seconds. This means that Toyota’s new hot-hatch will be able to keep up with the following iconic performance cars, we enthusiasts lust after.

BMW M3 E46

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With
- image 1072590

The BMW M3 E46 has not only aged well, but it’s still considered one of the best driver’s cars ever made. It’s also the last M3 to feature a high-revving, naturally-aspirated inline-six engine. The 3.2-liter S54B32 unit, which was also used in the E85 Z4 M, packs 343 horsepower at 7,900 RPM and 269 pound-feet (365 Nm) at 4,900 RPM.

Ideally, the engine is mated to a six-speed manual (not the dreaded SMG unit), which sends power to the rear, resulting in a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.9 seconds. The E46 M3 also has one of the best-sorted chassis and an incredible soundtrack, which to this day, make it a desirable, European performance car.

BMW M3 E46 specifications
Engine 3.2-liter S54B32
Power 343 HP @ 7,900 RPM
Torque 269 LB-FT @ 4,900 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds

Read our full review on the BMW M3 E46

Toyota Celica GT-Four

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With Exterior
- image 914469

Over 20 years ago, Toyota made another all-wheel-drive sports car with rally-car credentials – the Toyota Celica GT-Four. When it came out it packed a 3S-GE engine, which powered other performance models of the brand, including the SW20 MR-2 and Toyota Supra A70. The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four was good for 242 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 223 pound-feet (305 Nm) at 4,000 RPM.

Power went to all four wheels and a close-ratio five-speed manual transmission, resulting in a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 5.8 seconds. The Celica GT-Four also featured an aggressive body kit, with a front hood scoop and a big rear wing. The car enjoyed a successful career in rallying until a scandal, which revealed Toyota was cheating by installing a flexible plate on the boost restrictor.

Toyota Celica GT-Four specifications
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
Power 242 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 223 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM
0 to 60 mph 5.8 seconds

Check out more details on the Toyota Celica GT-Four

Honda Civic Type R

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With
- image 879785

The Honda Civic Type R is considered, by many, to be the greatest hot hatchbacks ever made. The latest generation packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with reverse VTEC (only on the exhaust valves). The engine is good for 306 horsepower at 6,500 RPM and 295 pound-feet (400 Nm) at 2,500 to 4,500 RPM. Power goes to the front, exclusively, through a six-speed manual (as it should be) and is managed by a helical, limited-slip differential.

While not the easiest car to launch, the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) takes as little as 5.4 seconds. The lack of a top speed limiter allows the Civic Type R to reach speeds of up to 169 mph (272 km/h). Even more impressive is that, despite the performance car credentials, the Type R is very practical, providing a cargo space of 25.7 to 46.2 cubic feet (738 – 1,308 liters).

Honda Civic Type R specifications
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
Power 306 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 2,500 - 4,500 RPM
0 to 60 mph 5.4 seconds
Top Speed 169 mph

Read our full review on the Honda Civic Type R

Volkswagen Golf GTI

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI Exterior
- image 1030875

The best-seller from Germany and also the car that popularized hot hatchbacks is in its eighth generation. We see the familiar formula of putting a potent inline-four in a relatively lightweight body and combining it with a nimble chassis. While the VW Golf GTI has grown up significantly and packs a lot more tech than some of its older iterations, it’s still good at delivering performance and practicality.

Its 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four packs 245 horsepower at 5,000 to 6,500 RPM and 273 pound-feet (370 Nm) at 1,600 to 4,300 RPM. The GTI Clubsport bumps these figures up to 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet (400 Nm). The regular GTI sprints to 60 mph (97 km/h0 in 5.9 to 6.1 seconds depending on whether it’s equipped with the seven-speed DSG or six-speed manual. The Clubsport comes, exclusively, with the dual-clutch automatic and sprints to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.3 seconds.

Volkswagen Golf GTI specifications
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
Power 245 HP @ 5,000 - 6,500 RPM
Torque 273 LB-FT @ 1,600 - 4,300 RPM
0 to 60 mph 5.9 - 6.1 seconds
Transmission seven-speed DSG or six-speed manual

Read our full review on the Volkswagen Golf GTI

Nissan Skyline GT-R

7 Secrets About the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34
- image 1047968

Including the legendary Godzilla on this list will, most likely, provoke some hate from die-hard Nissan Skyline fans, but the GR Corolla will give even an R34 GT-R a run for its (nowadays, insane) money. The legendary RB26 DETT was rated at 280 horsepower at 6,800 RPM and, depending on the version, up to 295 pound-feet (400 Nm). The horsepower is known to be at the wheels instead of the crankshaft, resulting in 327, actual, horsepower at the crankshaft.

Mated to a Getrag, six-speed manual with a first-gear lockout, the Skyline GT-R could sprint from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.9 seconds. The GT-R was a homologation special and both its inline-six engine and chassis were designed for competition. Because of this, the Skyline GT-R has immense potential and is considered the “Emperor of JDM tuner cars”, which makes the fact that there is a modern, inline-three hot hatch able to keep up with it even more amusing.

Nissan Skyline GT-R specifications
Engine RB26 DETT
Power 280 HP @ 6,800 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds
Transmission six-speed manual

Check out more details on the Nissan Skyline GT-R

BMW M5 E39

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With
- image 1072591

The BMW M5 E39 was the fastest performance sedan when it came out, in 1998. To this day, it is considered one of the most reliable M-cars, BMW has ever made, as well as the M5 to have. Its S62B50, 4.9-liter naturally-aspirated V-8 is good for 400 horsepower at 6,600 RPM and 369 pound-feet (500 Nm) at 3,800 RPM, which are sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual.

The classic, bi engine, rear-wheel drive, manual transmission formula results in a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 5.0 seconds. At the same time, this is considered to be one of the last old-school M-cars. Moreover, it offers plenty of space and luxury for four, while being relatively under the radar.

BMW M5 E39 specifications
Engine 4.9-liter naturally-aspirated V-8
Power 400 HP @ 6,600 RPM
Torque 369 LB-FT @ 3,800 RPM
0 to 60 mph 5.0 seconds
Transmission six-speed manual

Read our full review on the BMW M5 E39

Honda S2000

2007 Honda S2000
- image 105508

For many years, the Honda S2000 was, and still is, one of the ultimate, back to basics driver’s machine. To this day, Honda’s small sports car is considered the ultimate interpretation of the classic, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car. Its 2.0-liter engine, later enlarged to 2.2 liters produces up to 242 horsepower at 8,300 RPM and 7,800 RPM 2.2-liter models. Peak torque was rated at 153 pound-feet (208 Nm) at 7,500 RPM and 163 pound-feet (221 Nm) at 6,500 to 7,500 RPM for facelift models.

Power goes to the rear through a six-speed manual gearbox and a mechanical, limited-slip differential. The 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) discipline is dealt with in 5.8 seconds, as the engine screams to 9,000 RPM. To this day, the S2000 remains the car with one of the highest specific outputs for a naturally-aspirated engine.

Honda S2000 specifications
Engine 2.0-liter inline-four
Power 242 HP @ 8,300 RPM
Torque 153 LB-FT @ 7,500 RPM
0 to 60 mph 5.8 seconds
Transmission six-speed manual

Read our full review on the Honda S2000

Chevrolet Corvette C4 ZR-1

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With
- image 1072614

The C4 may not be the finest hour of America’s sports car, but towards the end of its production run, it got one of the coolest versions – the ZR-1. It happened in 1990 and was a joint project between GM and Lotus, the latter of which took the 5.7-liter L98 V-8 and almost completely redesigned it. The end result was a DOHC, 32-valve 5.7-liter V-8, dubbed the LT5. It was rated at 375 horsepower at 5,800 RPM and 370 pound-feet (502 Nm) at 4,800 RPM.

In 1993, through further development of the LT5 engine, those numbers were bumped up to 405 horsepower and 385 pound-feet (522 Nm). Power was sent to the rear through a ZF six-speed manual and 3.33 gears, resulting in a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) of 4.4 seconds on to a top speed of 180 mph (290 km/h).

Chevrolet Corvette C4 ZR-1 specifications
Engine 5.7-liter V-8
Power 375 HP @ 5,800 RPM
Torque 370 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.4 seconds
Transmission six-speed manual
Top Speed 180 mph

Mazda RX-7

2001 Mazda RX7
- image 25589
Mazda RX7

Mazda’s lightweight rotary rocket is one of the most well-balanced performance cars to ever come out of Japan. The gentlemen’s agreement, according to which no car should exceed 276 horsepower, prompted engineers to think of other ways to extract performance, and Mazda definitely delivered with the RX-7.

It may have only a 1.3-liter, twin-rotary, twin-turbo engine, but from factory, it packs 239 to 280 horsepower at 6,500 RPM and up to 232 pound-feet (314 Nm) at 5,500 RPM, depending on the market and model year. Power went to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission, which was the only option. The 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) took as little as 4.7 seconds, thanks in no small part to the curb weight of just over 2,800 pounds (1,270 kg).

Mazda RX-7 specifications
Engine 1.3-liter, twin-rotary, twin-turbo
Power 239-280 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 232 LB-FT @ 5,500 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.7 seconds
Transmission five-speed manual
Weight 2,800 lbs

Read our full review on the Mazda RX-7

Mercedes 500E W124

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With
- image 985574

Considered one of the best V-8 “Mercs” ever made, the 500E (E500 from 1993) was, actually, made possible by Porsche. Mercedes asked their neighboring sports car manufacturer to shove a V-8 into the W124 E-Class, in order to make a performance version. Porsche obliged and the rest is history. Because of the multi-stage production process, which required the cars to be transported between the Mercedes and Porsche plants a few times before the final assembly, the final product was quite expensive.

But, boy, was it worth it! The most important thing is, it now had the M119, 5.0-liter DOHC V-8 with 326 horsepower at 5,600 RPM and 347 pound-feet (470 Nm) at 3,900 RPM. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic, which allowed the 3,770-pound (1,710 kg) V-8 “Mercedes to hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.8 seconds.

Mercedes 500E W124 specifications
Engine 5.0-liter DOHC V-8
Power 326 HP @ 5,600 RPM
Torque 347 LB-FT @ 3,900 RPM
0 to 60 mph 5.8 seconds
Transmission four-speed automatic

Read our full review on the Mercedes 500E W124

Buick GNX

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With
- image 1072613

In 1987, Buick decided to send the Regal out with a bang. In conjunction with McLaren (the American company), GM developed a performance version of the T-type Regal. Its 3.8-liter turbocharged V-6 was conservatively rated at 276 horsepower at 4,400 RPM and 360 pound-feet (488 Nm) at 3,000 RPM, with the actual output being over 300 horsepower and 420 pound-feet (569 Nm).

Power was sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic, which (sadly) was the only available option. Still, this resulted in a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.4 seconds, which was faster than the C4 Corvette. The GNX was aggressively styled and all-black, earning it the nickname “Darth Vader’s car”.

Buick GNX specifications
Engine 3.8-liter turbocharged V-6
Power 276 HP @ 4,400 RPM
Torque 360 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.4 seconds
Transmission four-speed automatic

Honda NSX

1991 - 2005 Acura NSX
- image 5916
Honda NSX

Honda NSX (Acura NSX in North America) is the car that proved you can have a reliable and usable supercar. When it came out, it not only outperformed the Ferrari 348, but was also much better built. Honda’s best engineers worked with legendary racing driver, Ayrton Senna who helped turn the NSX into a proper track-conquering supercar.

With a mid-engine V-6 ranging from 3.0 to 3.2 liters, depending on the model year, the Honda NSX packed up to 290 horsepower at 7,300 RPM and 224 pound-feet (304 Nm) at 5,300 RPM. Depending on the version, the NSX could sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.7 to 4.3 seconds and reach a top speed of up to 174 mph (280 km/h). Power from the mod-mounted V-6 goes to the rear wheels through a five or six-speed manual.

Honda NSX specifications
Engine 3.0 - 3.2 -liter V-6
Power 290 HP @ 7,300 RPM
Torque 224 LB-FT @ 5,300 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.3 - 5.7 seconds
Transmission five or six-speed manual
Top Speed 174 mph

Read our full review on the Honda NSX

Audi RS2 Avant

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With
- image 1072612

The 1994 Audi RS2 Avant is the forefather of performance station wagons. Like the Mercedes 500E from earlier, the RS2 Avant was developed with help from Porsche. The Stuttgard-based sports car manufacturer touched every aspect of the boy station wagon and even gave it exterior bits from the 911, such as the turn signals, wheels, and side mirrors.

The RS2 Avant came with a 2.2-liter turbocharged DOHC inline-five unit with 315 horsepower at 6,500 RPM and 302 pound-feet (411 Nm) at 3,000 RPM. With Quattro all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual, the RS2 Avant could sprint from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.9 seconds, on to a top speed of 163 mph (262 km/h).

Audi RS2 Avant specifications
Engine 2.2-liter turbocharged DOHC inline-five
Power 315 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 302 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds
Transmission six-speed manual
Top Speed 163 mph

Ford Mustang GT

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With High Resolution Exterior
- image 702964

The latest iteration of the pony car may be a bit too European for some, but it still retains much of the original’s presence. This includes much of the classic design cues and, most importantly, the 5.0-liter V-8, currently producing 460 horsepower at 7,250 RPM and 420 pound-feet (569 Nm) at 4,600 RPM.

While the 10-speed automatic is 0.5 seconds quicker to 60 mph and at the quarter-mile, there’s still an old-school, six-speed manual, which allows for a 0 to 06 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.5 seconds. The quarter-mile time, with the manual transmission, takes in the mid to high 12-second range. It’s worth noting that the S550 generation of the Ford Mustang will be the last non-hybrid version of the pony car.

Ford Mustang GT specifications
Engine 5.0-liter V-8
Power 460 HP @ 7,250 RPM
Torque 420 LB-FT @ 4,600 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.5 seconds
Transmission six-speed manual

Read our full review on the Ford Mustang GT

Toyota Supra A80

15 Iconic Performance Cars, The 2022 Toyota GR Corolla Would Have No Trouble Keeping Up With High Resolution Exterior
- image 552694

The Mk IV Toyota Supra does not need an introduction. It’s the car no one wanted to buy until they saw it humiliate a Ferrari F355 in the original Fast & Furious movie. Like the Skyline GT-R from earlier, it has an insanely potent inline-six, which from the factory makes 326 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 325 pound-feet (440 Nm) at 4,800 RPM. We don’t need to tell you it can go much higher with the right parts.

Power goes, exclusively to the rear through either a four-speed automatic (yuck) or a six-speed Getrag V160 manual, which is just as robust as the 2JZ-GTE engine. In stock form, the Mk IV Supra can sprint from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.8 seconds. Sadly, current prices are almost as insane as those of the Skyline R34 GT-Rs. Thank you, fan boys, that’s why we can’t have nice things anymore!

Toyota Supra A80 specifications
Engine 2JZ-GTE
Power 326 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 325 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.8 seconds
Transmission four-speed automatic

Read our full review on the Toyota Supra A80

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

2023 Toyota GR Corolla Finally Answers The Call For A Hot Hatch That Fans Have Yearned For Years

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: