The new limited edition Toyota sports saloon pays homage to the BMW E46 M3
A naturally aspirated six cylinder engine mounted in front, drive goes to the rear via a six-speed manual and to the rear wheels through a limited slip differential. This is the kind of stuff that excites petrolheads, a good old memory recall of the nineties and noughties. Because back in the days, sports saloons never had turbochargers, nor fancy four-wheel-drive, nor double-clutch gearbox, there was just an honest revvy engine, a manual gearbox and you. That's it.
It would seem as if Toyota aims to bring back the glory days of motoring. First we have the GT86, then the A90 Supra (read the news article here) which looks extremely sexy. And then we have this: the Mark X GRMN.
To people outside of Japan, you might have never heard of the Mark X. It's normally a sensible saloon with a rear-driven, and sits under the Crown and the Century.
However, GRMN, the Toyota in-house tuning department have got their hands dirty by making the humdrum saloon into sporty one. They first installed the 3.5L V6 engine which puts out 313bhp and 280lb ft and is the naturally aspirated version as the ones you find in the Lotus Evora and Lotus Exige.
Then they bolted on a six-speed manual gearbox behind that, and then a limited slip differential. They even developed a set of sports suspension and a lenient stability control for the Mark X. Ahh, there's also a lovely mechanical handbrake for your slidey stuff. Of which, of course, you can switch off.
To make people feel like they're in a proper sports car, GRMN made sure you get the full-on experience. We have body-hugging alcantara bucket seats and steering wheel, as you'd find in any other sports saloon. Then on the outside, a sharp-looking front bumper is put on, then a set of 19-inch BBS alloys.
Round the back we have quad exhaust tips, a carbon fibre diffuser to save weight and a tiny spoiler just to add some more aggression. If you want to take that weight saving game just a little further, you can even spec a carbon fibre roof to lower that centre of gravity.
The price? Just above five million yen, or around £37,000, which happens to be similar to the price on the E46 M3 when it was new 15 years ago. Then again, because it's Japan-only, you should take into account of the shipping costs. Otherwise, it's a pretty damn attractive car at that price. Oh and also, production is limited to 350 units. Sad times…