Return of the best Toyota you've never heard of

Only this week we were bemoaning the lack of quick saloons now on sale, the availability of cars like the Β£2.5k Legacy 3.0 RΒ perhaps the only silver lining. Toyota of all people seems keen to do something about it though, with the return of the 318hp, manual, V6, rear-wheel drive Mark X GRMN.

Return? Yes, this was a car Toyota originally sold to Japan 2014 - and subjected to a pleasingly skiddy promotional video. Presumably content with what they'd created but dissatisfied at being unable to reach enough people, Toyota has now launched (again) what appears to be exactly the same car. Bizarre.

Still, when the spec reads as this Mark X's does, it makes complete sense. Upset that the Supra isn't available from launch with a manual gearbox or a naturally aspirated engine? Try the GRMN saloon, which is only offered with a six-speed manual, and transmits 318hp from a 3.5-litre V6 - presumably the same one that honks along so sweetly in the senior Lotuses - to the rear wheels. Given how well it skids, you'd have to assume a limited-slip diff is lurking somewhere under the Mark X as well.

Marking the GRMN flagship out from the 350 RDS on which it's based are those lovely 19-inch forged BBS wheels, a few GRMN badges, a racier exhaust, a fairly meek rear diffuser/spoiler combo (all the better for the Q-car effect) and some GR-branded seats. More important but less visible tweaks include new dampers, retuned electric steering, a sports exhaust and the optional carbon roof, which saves 10kg and obviously reduces the CoG. The interior is even authentically Japanese minicab with some iffy carbon trim, though that's probably for the better for when flailing limbs clatter into it after another misjudged powerslide.

From here it's hard not to admire the Mark X GRMN quite a lot, its focus on a traditional rear-drive experience at the cost of fripperies like, y'know, style, being right up our street. Presumably it could be supercharged pretty easily as well, as in the Lotuses, for even greater oversteer potential - marvellous.

Unsurprisingly the Mark X GRMN will be a car sold only in Japan, limited to 350 units and priced at 5.13m Yen. Or about Β£37k at today's exchange rate, with another Β£2k required for the carbon roof. Of course no British buyer in their right mind would pay that much for a dowdy Japanese saloon with less torque than a BMW 330i, but rest assured Toyota; a few of us in the UK are very, very pleased indeed that the Mark X has been resurrected.


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Comments (29) Join the discussion on the forum

  • CharlieAlphaMike 11 Jan 2019

    Nice 'sleeper' thumbup

  • Krikkit 11 Jan 2019

    I like that, even the styling!

    As said, with a supercharger that could be tremendous.

  • st4 11 Jan 2019

    I'd have that heart beat to replace my Lexus GS250. Looks superb. If Toyota UK are reading this please bring that here.

  • st4 11 Jan 2019

    I'd also much rather drive this than any BMW or Mercedes. Toyota quality is second to none and having a slightly different car appeals massively.

  • cptsideways 11 Jan 2019

    Have owned a few JDM X's 81's 90's & 100's, these have always been a tuners stealth weapon. Shame no JZX variants any more.

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