Welcome, one and all, to the fastest show on the planet. TopGear SA Magazine’s Speed Week is essentially our Performance Edition, which seeks to find and crown the best performance car of 2021, according to the team. This entails putting a bevy of performance cars, from various categories, through their respective paces. This includes the requisite road trip – to assess their on-road usability – and track driving, to ascertain their dynamic prowess or, even, the lack thereof. We sought to bring together vehicles from varying segments; hot-hatches, sport sedans, super-saloons, and sports cars.
These could have been further bolstered by the addition of the current fad that is the performance SUV, but as soon as we realised just how intense an exercise this could become, from a logistical standpoint, we decided to discount SUVs altogether for this one. Don’t despair, though. We will look at exclusively bringing these together in a future edition as the segment continues to grow in leaps and bounds.
For now, though, it is prudent to highlight Speed Week and why this will be a mainstay annual event in our calendar moving forward. Our love for performance cars is a given, so we sought to find our favourite steers in recent times, thus we’ve amassed these 13 contenders, each bringing its own virtues to the table. For us, the objective is to find the vehicle that moves the game forward, not just in its segment, but in the overall realm of performance cars in general.
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the thrills and spills of our inaugural TopGear SA Magazine Speed Week!
LET THE ROADSHOW BEGIN
Our TopGear SA Speed Week cavalcade departs from S&E PanelBeaters in Johannesburg, Gauteng, where the cars were parked overnight. But not before all 13 engines are started up in unison, signalling the start of an epic, adrenaline-fuelled week.
A sigh of relief is emanating throughout the team as we have managed to amass all the vehicles we required for our inaugural event. It took some doing, a great number of emails were exchanged with stakeholders, numerous presentations prepared and presented, and long nights of preparations leading to the final days.
As all those engines crank up in an orchestra-type ensemble, the excitement among the team is quite palpable. The sportscars take the lead of the convoy, followed closely by the sports and super-saloons, while the gaggle of hot-hatches round up the tail-end. It is quite the spectacle looking ahead through the windscreen and then the rear-view mirror to only witness some of the most desirable performance cars currently on offer in Mzansi. Indeed, this was yet another stark reminder of why we love doing what we do and sharing this motoring content with you.
That said, the reason for taking our Speed Week fleet on a road trip is to ascertain their usability, on-road manners, and the overall enjoyment that the driver can derive from what is a mundane exercise. In fact, the importance of this undertaking is what most owners will be experiencing for 95% of their ownership experience, which will involve road driving. Many manufacturers claim their performance vehicles can be used daily, so naturally, we had to put such bold claims to the test.
Our route takes us from Maraisburg onto the N1 direction South, then the N12 East, before peeling off onto the R59 South towards Vereeniging. Here each vehicle is assessed for its cruising ability, comfort levels and overall composure on daily trudges among others. The sportscars, in particular, were placed under the most scrutiny as their design and application should inherently make them less practical than the rest of the finalists here. This is the case to a large degree, but over the years I have witnessed more manufacturers integrating practicality and usability into their sports cars, and this is a good thing.
While perhaps a rare occurrence, there are a handful of sports car owners that use theirs as a daily commuter. This is where the Porsche 911 has been streaks ahead of rivals as it remains one of only a few sports cars that can carry more than a driver and front passenger, thanks to the extra rear seats. It remains one of the most practical models in the segment. Both the Audi R8 Coupe and McLaren 720 S Spider are similar in their usability, with arguably the former feeling more sumptuous, while the latter is more focused and uncompromisingly sportier in its execution.
All models were very impressive in how they went down the road, coping very well with broken tarmac as we nose the vehicles towards the small town of Parys. Giving us a chance to stretch our legs a bit, the banter quickly begins among the team regarding each car’s on-road performance. In fact, the saloons were rather proficient here, not surprising perhaps, while the hatches had no qualms from their respective drivers, with many lamenting that the Audi S3 Sportback perhaps offered the most compliant ride of the lot, followed closely by the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
The stretch between Parys and Odendaalsrus via the R721 has relatively good tarmac and, with the courtesy escort from the Free State Metro Police Department, we had the chance of opening the taps somewhat. Here, one could assess the throttle response of each vehicle and its overtaking prowess while clearing slower moving traffic. Sports cars were duking it out at the front, while the super saloons were also rubbing their executive shoulders, all the while bearing down on the sports cars. The hot-hatches, meanwhile, are having quite a scrap at the back.
As we dock at a service station in Odendaalsrus, everyone is beaming and notes are exchanged on each car’s performance – the consensus is that no car felt short of power among its peers – these are all well-sorted cars that will appease their respective buyers to no end. Our final leg takes us back onto the N1 towards Welkom, where we pared back every car to its most relaxed mode and cruised along to our final destination; the Phakisa Freeway racetrack, where things are about to get, well, rather interesting...
Motoring nirvana? Some say mountain passes. Some dragstrips. At TopGear SA, we tend to think it’s the good ol’ racetrack. No speed limits (except perhaps the pit lane), no roadblocks and, more importantly, no potholes. This allows us to take a very scientific approach to all things speed.
So, without further ado, allow us to introduce the stage of what is the inaugural test of swiftness. Ladies and gentlemen, performance enthusiasts of all ages and casual readers, please put your hands together for what we now deem to be one of the most enjoyable tracks on South African soil. Disregard that last bit: the most scientifically-sound series of corners, which can highlight any and all underlying shortcomings of our 13 test subjects. No room for enjoyment here… Obviously… Tyre squeal is just loud data.
Phakisa Freeway. A 4.2 km track with 11 corners ranging from fast sweeps, technical corners and quite the bumpy surface that, when combined, makes for a ruthless testing ground for anything with four wheels.
But there’s also quite a bit of history related to two wheels; it is here that MotoGP Greatest of All Time, Valentino Rossi, raced to victory in the 250 cc and 500 cc divisions and made history in 2004 in the MotoGP paddock. After just moving to Yamaha from Honda, he was the first-ever rider to win consecutive races with two different teams. After winning the final race of the 2003 season with Honda, he joined Yamaha for the ’04 season and raced to victory at the season-opening at Phakisa…
After the removal from the MotoGP calendar, though, following what is labelled as “financial reasons” truly special moments at Phakisa have been few and far in-between – a shame, really, since this is a track deserving of so much more. In the TopGearSA office it has garnered a bit of a reputation as the true ‘temple of performance’ (unfortunately temple of speed is spoken for), and one of only a few tracks in SA that’s truly capable of serving as an unbiased testing ground that doesn’t just favour outright speed or handling. Perfect then for what we were planning.
SUPER SALOON SHOWDOWN
More doors. Check. More space. Check. Ok – now add more power.
The brief for a performance saloon is never easy. Trying to weave it all together requires smart engineering and yes, power. A combined power output of 2,062 kW should keep the lights blazing for longer than Eskom can. This group of cars include benchmark setters and sniff-at-the-heels contenders and then an off-shoot outlier that captured more and more attention as the days wore on. Enter the mighty five-door slayers from Affalterbach, Bavaria, and Ingolstadt.
Mercedes-AMG E63 S
The Mercedes-AMG E63 S is a burly bully, pushing to the front of the queue announcing its severe power from the get-go. The 450 kW AMG-bred powertrain is lauded by the whole team as is its dual personality that transforms the saloon from luxury business exec to a ballistic hellfire in mere push-button seconds. 0-100 km/h is delivered with vehement force, particularly as the all-wheel drive system gives way to a thunderous AMG smack. Calm things down, however, and you also realise the AMG’s on-road behaviour, interior appointments and tech that are the executive standard.
It plays this dual-role superbly – until you’re at the limit around a bumpy and abrasive Phakisa circuit where the big bully gets unnerved, showing up a suspension and chassis that struggles to mask the car’s weight on the limit. Turn three at Phakisa is the true test as you climb onto the brakes descending onto the bumpiest part of the circuit. The big Merc doesn’t like it much, bucking at the weight transfer, those yaw sensors working overtime to tame a fiery two-tonne missile. Even in its most dynamic traction control setting, the car takes that much longer to settle before allowing you to get back on the throttle. It’s involving to drive, sure, but not in the way you think. TC on or off, reigning in all that speed requires wits and work, and the consensus from the team is that the E63 S, like many bullies, backs out of the fight when pushed to its limit. It’s main charge is that its on-road excellence doesn’t quite carry through at the edge of performance.
Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe
The E53 AMG Coupe displays similar traits to its bigger brother, albeit in lesser form. Less doors and less power don’t mean it doesn’t deserve the title of performance car. The electric-assisted powertrain boasts 320+16 kW all smartly engineered into a surprisingly good car. In the company of 375 kW + bruisers, the E53 is the suave and sexy one. It looks good, but doesn’t shout about it and it’s much the same as you turn up the heat. This car seems to rise in rank as more and more drivers get to the helm, surprised by just how fast and enjoyable that hybrid is. It isn’t as quick nor is it as taut as the E63 S, so its GT-nature seems to be its best trait, managing to combine speed with a more compliant overall drive. At the limit, it too is unnerved by any conditions that are not ideal. Application of power out of corners is good as is a usable band of power through a well sorted transmission, but in the braking zones, it falls short because of a real disconnect between the car’s behaviour, steering feel and driver feedback.
BMW M3 Competition
At almost R100k more than the E53 AMG Coupe, the BMW M3 Competition enters the fray. All except Avon have made peace with the snout and we’re evaluating the first M-benchmark in the group. In typical M3 swag, it’s so at home on the track where its near-perfect steering comes to the fore. Where the E63 S is involving to drive for the wrong reasons, the M3 is involving for all the right ones. It’s a car that dances its way around the circuit, always shifting its hips as you guide that very pointy front-end around each bend. The M3 is a top drawer contender as far as driver feel and communication goes. It’s fantastic on the brakes and displays a confident overall balance. On-road, its speed and rear-wheel-driven nature enlivens the driver and on track, in its most dynamic setup, this is even more evident. This is why M3’s continue to command attention. Even the most deft of drivers need to rise to the occasion in order to exploit the M3’s lofty dynamic standards. Nobody is complaining about the M3. Its lap times prove our general overall consensus. The M3 is good – but something else is just that much better.
Audi RS7 Sportback
Audi’s RS7 Sportback is a show-stopper of note. Most of the testers have confirmed it to be the best-looking in the group of five-door super saloons. Its paper credentials look equally impressive as a technologically-superior performance machine. It is the only one of the sub-group with four-wheel steering and whilst it isn’t as powerful as the two other mad hat Germans, we’re talking very small differences. The Audi, in road-trip character, is magnificent. It’s graceful and understated, yet up to the task of keeping up with everything else on the road. The Audi’s initial red flags seem to lie in its transmission which displays the most lag in determining a decision. Whether it's in-gear or even off the line, there’s a general hiccup before it responds in a burst of speed.
It is also the heaviest of the saloons here and it was an inevitable assumption that it would struggle the most around the twisty Phakisa. You’d be wrong if you made that assumption too – the RS7 was the most surprising contender of all when called in to find its edge. Its weight is managed by smart chassis electronics, rear-wheel steering and a high degree of mechanical grip. Philip Kekana, our professional racing driver, heaped praise on the RS7 for the above reasons, but also for how it was able to power out of corners so strongly. Every tester can attest to our collective surprise as we watched the large Audi rotate into the final turn onto the main straight and then blast towards the corner exit in a mighty, hip-twisting acceleration at the hands of race-ace Philip. What a sight it was, only to be upstaged by a damned-near-perfect BMW M5 Competition.
BMW M5 Competition
Oh yes, the mighty BMW M5 is yet another performance heritage benchmark. Even in this company, from the road trip to just a few laps of the track, there was a clear case of ‘what the heck?’ happening in the pits. The M5 Competition is the executive saloon’s poster child. Like its arch enemy the E63 S, it boasts an impressive equipment and technology list coupled with classy ergonomics, ample space and everyday usability. Unlike the E or the RS7, though, the M5’s on-road class is only a foretaste of the car’s immense breadth of ability.
Despite a seriously commendable showing from the Audi RS7 and even the smaller M3, the M5 was a class above the rest in all disciplines. A view of its tremendous lap time is only a small view of the car’s performance reach. The M5 is the gift that keeps on giving. Push it hard and it responds favourably. Take it easy and it is equally willing. Its chassis is supreme in its ability to change according to the environment. Out of all the cars at Speed Week 2021, including some less powerful and lighter cars, the M5 was the car that inspired the most confidence throughout the entire lap, including the infamous Turn three. And that is before its mind-bending speed. It accelerates faster than anything on the bill except the McLaren 720S, and that alone speaks huge volumes considering the sports car spread. The M5 was the centre of many arguments – not because there were contentions around its performance, but rather because everyone wanted to drive it as much as possible, and this frenzy continued unabated to the last day. Its searing lap time is enough to capture the attention of absolutely everyone. How does that one car achieve such an immense lap, despite having a large boot and space for one’s entire family? The M5 is mega. And look at that price tag for what you get.
FREAKS & FIREWORKS
Super looks. Super technical. Super performance. That is what our headline performers have brought to our inaugural performance car of the year event – Speed Week in TopGear SA parlance.
TopGear SA Speed week needs some pomp and ceremony and what better way to create much fanfare than bringing theatrics in the form of sportscars? Indeed, much like a delectable birthday cake, the sports cars are like the proverbial icing, adding another layer of sweetness to an already great tasting cocktail mix. These are the poster cars in this field and, unsurprisingly, brought the most throngs of people who wanted to take selfies either standing next to or, indeed, perched behind the wheel.
Audi R8 V10 Coupe Performance
Being the megastar of this trio, thanks to its cameo appearance in the Iron Man movie sequel, the Audi R8 V10, particularly in Coupe guise, looks every bit like a supercar thanks to its low-slung silhouette and mid-engine, atmospheric 5.2-litre V10 – good for 449 kW and 560 Nm – and its ability to push the car to its 330 km/h top speed. Being the only normally aspirated engine here, it is unarguably the best-sounding of the lot. One day, we will look back at this era of cars as they remain on the endangered list as the advent EV tide continues to sweep through the motoring industry.
That said, the R8 continues to be a genuine everyday supercar that does the daily trudge with ease, but also has a dynamic streak when pushed hard that will reward the enthusiast. Yes, it might not be the most engaging when handled by the scruff of the neck, but it is rapid enough in a straight line and has prodigious cornering ability. What it lacks in engagement, though, it more than makes up for in theatrics.
The howling V10 lays on the charm in thick lashings and it is perhaps the model’s most enchanting aspect. Around the Phakisa Freeway circuit, it exhibited a neutral character with very predictable handling characteristics and was superb under braking, even on the bumpiest sections of the track. The 7-speed automatic gearbox's dexterity is superb, it responds judiciously to driver inputs, possibly one of the better dual-clutch boxes in the game. An enjoyable car that can be grabbed by the scruff of the neck from the get-go, makes it a universally appealing proposition.
McLaren 720 S Spider
When the 720 S Coupe launched locally in 2018, it rewrote the rulebooks of what was deemed to be the quickest in the segment. It was the first car we drove that dipped well below 3 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and was for the most part as quick as its P1 Hypercar sibling in the acceleration arena. That is properly insane considering the power and pricing difference between the two. The 720 S Spider variant we have here is equally as fast, with face-morphing ability and, thanks to a hard-top folding roof, adds a layer of even more desirability. Thanks to McLaren’s carbon fibre tub, it continues to be one of the lightest in its segment, coming in at 1,468 kg and only 45 kg heavier than its Coupe counterpart. Arguably the raciest feeling of the lot, thanks to Alcantara usage throughout the cabin and exposed carbon fibre on the A-pillar and door sill, add to this racy mix.
Nestling mid-ship in V8 configuration is a 4.0-litre, Ricardo designed twin-turbo engine that puts out 530 kW and 770 Nm via a 7-speed, dual-clutch gearbox driving the rear wheels. Performance is immense, as you can imagine, and the 720 S punches ever so hard as the revs rise with maximum power peaking at 7 500 r/min, requiring the driver to wind the engine out. It is confidence-inspiring once you wrap your head around its searing performance and start leaning on its handling prowess, which is quite impressive.
On the track, the 720 S exhibits fleeting changes in direction from the hydraulic assisted steering wheel, while the trick suspension ensures it corners flat, adding to the stability and surefootedness. Little wonder, then, that it managed to lap the track the fastest on the day. What an impressive machine!
Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS
The newest car in this segment, this particular model, came straight from the national media launch and straight into the TopGear SA pit lane. The most understated in this company, one would assume that the 911 would be upstaged on every front, but a few things become apparent once you get behind the wheel. Yes, it might share a 3.0-litre, flat-six engine capacity with the rest of the Carrera range, but it has been given just enough oomph to place some air between it and its lesser-endowed siblings. For starters, the engine’s wick has been turned up to 353 kW and 570 Nm and paired to the slick 7-speed PDK gearbox that drives all four corners.
Borrowing components from the Turbo S, such as the suspension, brakes and wheels, the GTS is by all intents and purposes, a junior Turbo S. In typical 911 fashion, the GTS left all members of the team stupefied by its breadth of talent, considering it is the mid-range 911 and arguably the sweet spot at the moment. On the road, it managed to keep up with pretty much everything in this company and was at no point out of its depth. The cabin is mostly festooned with high-quality leather and Alcantara, and on the architectural front, arguably the most impressive here.
Its on-track ability was impressive, but the front-end did tend to move around a bit upon turn in, something we pinned down to the tyre pressures, which we requested the OEM to be pumped up to top-speed specification as it were. Even so, the GTS remained composed and could possibly have gone another second quicker had we dropped the tyre pressures slightly, but each car had to perform in the exact specification it did from the road trip to the track. We do concede, however, that the 911 Turbo S would probably have been the more suited model to duke it out on the track, but the GTS still held its own. In fact, when one considers the price sticker, it essentially goes up against the likes of the BMW M4 Competition, giving it that much more reverence in our books.
HOT HATCH EXPO
Often referred to as pocket rockets, the hot hatch stable has seen some elegant days, especially in South Africa where they are deemed trendsetters. Plug them into our annual Speed Week instalment and they usher you into a world of fun in so many ways. Guess that’s what makes them ‘hot’…
Even driving the band of speedy hatches en route to the twisty Phakisa raceway, we were tempted every which way to unleash their full might, and while we eventually did, for the normal milk-run, on normal days it’s not exactly advisable… you know insurance risks and legal red tape…
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI
In the real world, on these normal runs, the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI is sure to put a smile on your face as soon as you catch a flash of it, especially in the dark shade worn by the Speed Week contender with its Black Style package. Yes, serious attention to detail was paid from whichever angle you choose to look at it and we can confidently say that it’s now better than the 7. Though many drivers bemoaned the subdued ‘vrrrpha’ sound, it is the comfortable drive down to Phakisa that was very relaxed once you saddle comfortably into the driver’s seat. But all changes when you point it out on the track and it transforms into an opulent missile. That’s what a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 180 kW and 370 Nm is capable of. Just look at the timing sheet if you don’t believe us.
TOYOTA GR YARIS
Then there is the Japanese offering in the form of the Toyota GR Yaris. It makes for a complete package that (nearly) does it all. Whether it’s performance, handling or that quick run to the shop. Infused with expertise from the Gazoo Racing division, the GR Yaris only shares a name with the pedestrian version and that, in our books, makes it very special. Also its lapping ability but we’ll get to that in a sec. Aside from knowing what it is, unlike some early doubters saying it’s “just a Yaris,” it surprised us no end. Also the doubters. Unleashed it on the twisty bits of Phakisa and it truly shines and this shows in its mighty impressive lap times. Its all-wheel-drive setup worked to its major advantage while its three-cylinder engine enjoyed being revved. Add to that the confident-shifting 6-speed manual gearbox and it’s a hoot to pilot. Apart from its firm ride quality, the GR Yaris drives like a regular hatch under normal driving prowess but upset it, and it is perilously quick and will shock you in the corners. Also, don’t expect to carry much luggage with you.
As direct rival situations go, the BMW 128ti enters the stable with the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI in its sight and it has the necessary fighting equipment to do so. Suffice to say, it is the battle of the Germans. We’re talking about a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that delivers the same 180 kW and a slightly higher torque figure of 380 Nm. On paper, it completes the sprint to 100 km/h in a marginally faster 6.3 seconds compared to the 6.4-second GTI – or so it says on paper. The BMW 128ti is a strong participant with all the right thrills and has proved its abilities on and off the track. Besides displaying only a modest handling balance on the track, the 128ti dashes off the line with drama emanating from the front wheels as it battles to find grip on the tarmac. Even with that, the BMW 128ti is a capable hot hatch with some brilliant tech, decent handling as well as arresting looks. As far as lap times go, though, it fell a bit short…
RENAULT MEGANE R.S. 300 TROPHY
Despite being lauded by the drivers for its unmatched track abilities, the Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy is also one special car with very limited units brought into the country. If its rarity isn’t proof enough to be awarded the ‘special’ name tag, its superb handling around Phakisa should be, thanks to the impressive motorsport expertise that went into formulating its DNA – all under the Renault Sport banner. As a halo model for those wanting to have a playful day at the track, the Renault Megane R.S 300 Trophy is also quite capable as an everyday car. This was evident during the stint to Welkom, thanks to its comfortable (for a performance car) cruising ability. The engine response is sharp, even in Comfort mode, with the Sport mode altering everything for a hardcore sensory thrill accompanied by a snap-crackle-pop cacophony at the back. In a nutshell, the 1.8-litre turbo-petrol engine with 221 kW and 400 Nm matched with a Torsen LSD, plus a fast-paced four-wheel steering system, really translates to a hyperactive drive around the track.
AUDI S3 SPORTBACK
Audi has been delivering some form of magic in the hot hatch stable with its S3, complete with a quattro all-wheel-drive system and youthful composure. The latest generation of the Audi S3 is an impressive all-around vehicle, looks the part and feels alive from the get-go. Its handling characteristics are agile except for the minimal turbo lag in Comfort mode. It’s a different story dialled into Dynamic mode, though, as the hatch comes alive whilst it eagerly awaits your command to devour its rivals. You can chuck the Audi S3 into a bend and it will eagerly cling onto the tarmac thanks to the quattro system that lets you explore the car’s limits without any fights. Accelerating out of the corner, however, you can’t help but get the idea that the torque distribution is as eager and considering this is where time is won or lost, we can’t help but think it could have gone marginally quicker ‘round Phakisa. Besides being on the track, the Audi S3 manages to soak up road imperfections without breaking a sweat. This inspires quite a bit of confidence to really enjoy what it has to offer.
TGSA PERFORMANCE CAR OF THE YEAR 2021
As you will have read, we have managed to whittle down our list from 13 to just 5 cars, not a mean feat in such an esteemed company of cars. The thing is, each and every car that we brought to our inaugural Speed Week, has left an indelible mark in our hearts. This was apparent when we had these cars on review and, bringing them together in such a setting, has further cemented our initial sentiments.
Our top 5 is testament to what we love about cars, as such, picking these was a rather arduous task, but the decision was unanimous. These are the cars that scored the most points over the week of testing, as they delivered not just on the performance front, but also on the emotional front. You see, no matter how you slice it, we are drawn to cars first and foremost by emotion - how these cars make us feel. Then comes the sticker price, then the cost of ownership.
For us at TopGear SA Magazine, we vehemently search for a car that not only delivers where it matters most, but also what it represents in its segment in general and the performance realm in particular. The McLaren 720 S Spider continues to be the beacon of design and performance and should continue to be celebrated to no end.
Porsche’s 911 GTS represents, once again, the sweet spot in the 911 lineup. Quick, comfortable, and practical enough to be driven daily, yet sufficiently special to be an aspirational model in the range. Little wonder the 911 continues to be the benchmark sportscar.
BMW’s M5 Competition is, unequivocally so, the king of super saloons leaving no room to be misconstrued. The Renault Megane RS Trophy 300 may be an outlier in the hot-hatch segment and outsold by its counterparts by quite some margin. However, as a well-sorted hot hatch with an incredible chassis and body control, this one is right up there with the most resolved sportscars.
This brings us firmly to the Toyota GR Yaris. No performance hatch launched this year has garnered so much attention and reverence. From a manufacturer that builds sound if characterless cars, the GR Yaris simply rewrites the rulebooks of what we have come to expect of a hot-hatch. It has a paltry 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that punches out an exemplary 198kW and 360Nm that is allied to a six-speed manual gearbox, one of a few manual performance hot-hatches still around, thereby pitched at the purist who still enjoys an analogue driving experience. Granted, R726 300 is a great deal of money for a B segment based hot hatch, but it would be foolhardy to box it in that category, in spite of its name suffix.
What the GR Yaris represents is a rally car for the road, built solely for homologation purposes in order to go racing. It can be spoken of in the same vein as legendary rally cars such as the Audi Sport Quattro; the inimitable Lancia Delta Integrale and even the Ford Escort Cosworth - all esteemed cars of their respective eras and highly revered among motorsport and car enthusiasts alike. The GR Yaris, then, is a car that has moved the game on in our books and delivers a highly concentrated driving experience in a compact package. All the hype and praises that have been heaped on this car are well warranted - it needs to be driven to be truly appreciated. Thus, and unequivocally so, the Toyota GR Yaris garners our inaugural 2021 TopGear SA Magazine Speed Week Performance Car of the Year accolade!