GT2 Grand Touring Car Comparison:
Mazda Eunos Cosmo VS Toyota Soarer
by Matej from GTP
This review includes the Mazda Eunos Cosmo Type-E ‘94 and Toyota Soarer GT-T ’95, two cars which
are fairly equal in status (used cars). Other models may appear if comparison is necessary, in which case they will be
By definition, The term grand tourer derives from Gran Turismo, an Italian phrase, and I
assure you it doesn’t have anything to do with our popular video game series. Grand Tourer represents a luxury
performance car capable of traveling long distances in a high-speed manner, while simultaneously offering a significant
amount of comfort. This could be disputed to a degree if we consider that the original game of the series incorporated
plenty of grand tourers on the cream of the crop level.
Basically, we could say that grand tourers have been meat and potatoes of the entire franchise. If that
is the ball we want to keep rolling from now on, then we should remember the following: grand tourers are not high-performance
cars. Certainly they do have some capabilities, as they successfully compete on the motorsport scene, but pure
speed is not something the concept began with. Sure, over past few years several cars have managed to beat this premise (Supra,
Skyline) while some were close (300 ZX, DB7), but the general image has remained the same: luxury and comfort at slightly
increased pace. That is what being a grand tourer is all about. With that image in mind, we are going to test two
famous grand tourers, Mazda Eunos Cosmo and Toyota Soarer. Iron your suit and polish your shoes as we are entering VIP area.
No frivolous activities allowed!
People may disagree with me, but grand tourers indicate a life of prosperity and happiness –
at least for the owners themselves. Japanese representatives may not be as expensive as famous European four-wheel role models,
but if you can afford one of them, your pockets obviously aren’t empty.
The Mazda Cosmo provides a good example. It was quite expensive back in its days, and still
is by today’s standards. Massive fuel consumption and big power implies a necessity of owning vast amount of funds
in your bank account, in order to cover for all the subsequent expenses that may (and will) show up eventually. A well-paid
surgeon or a manager of a private company shouldn’t have any problem with that, but the rest of us may.
That is where Gran Turismo comes into play. Since money can be obtained in no time, only few button clicks
separates peasants from nobles. In other words, if you claim there is a glimpse of injustice surrounding your life, a video
game that nourishes realism like Gran Turismo should balance that and give you the chance to experience something you always
Assuming you have nothing against second-hand cars, the Soarer can be yours for 20 to 30 grand. I have seen
the price dropping even below that range, so pay attention to what the dealership has in offer; you may just be lucky enough
and buy a decent model for a really miserable price.
The situation above also counts for the base ’95 Soarer GT-T (Toyota) model
though. The only other models in GT2 within the Soarer's price range are to be found in mint condition from
this GT2's new car lot, but they also have a price tag to deal with. For that matter, you’ll have to single out
more than 30 grand for either entry naturally-aspirated SC300 (Lexus) or turbo-charged ’96 GT-T VVT-i (Toyota) model
whereas the V8-powered SC400 (Lexus) will negotiate almost 60 thousand units of your wallet. Quite expensive in relation to
a Supra or Skyline, but if we consider that the Aston Martin DB7 lineup requests alarmingly more, and their performance is
below expected average, I believe there should be no room for objections.
With only two models on offer, the Cosmo lineup doesn’t add that much confusion or diversity.
Either entry, the Type-S, or top of the line Type-E are available. Interesting fact: the Type-S (turbo-charged)
model uses one rotor less than the Type E, to bring 230 ponies. There are no naturally-aspirated models that commonly
precede 276 hp units. These two cars are too old to be part of the new car dealership, yet they are usually more expensive
than the ’95 Soarer GT-T. Therefore, if you find one below the second-hand price range above it is likely going to be
the Type-S model, so look carefully.
At this point you may have realized how a grand tourer won’t be a part of a cost-benefit analysis.
But a wealthy businessman doesn’t care about that as much as he does about image, and that is exactly what you get with
a grand tourer. Now I dare you to open a dictionary and come up with all kinds of adjectives, as these two can initiate some
really ground-breaking emotions, and thus words.
In my early days, while I was actively playing the original Gran Turismo, no other car managed to
attract so much of my attention as the Cosmo did. It certainly had that factor I couldn’t
find on anything else, particularly as it was hard to deduce to which manufacturer it belongs, just by looking at it (!).
Seriously, strip down the badge and name and ask around; I wonder how many people would guess that we are talking about Mazda.
Yes, Mazda, that peculiar manufacturer that always
manages to raise question marks, hardly any conviction. Your knowledge about their history wouldn’t help here, as I
believe they managed to outmatch even themselves. The most prestigious model of the house in its exterior department
has nothing in relation to it. The Cosmo's sleek rounded rear end and extended taillights are details commonly seen on
American cars, hardly Japanese. That is a bit ironic given that the Cosmo was officially never sold outside its original borders.
Nevertheless, the idea was certainly reasonable, if
designers had wanted to introduce the Cosmo to American market in its early stages of development. We also shouldn’t
forget that the earlier Japanese industry was heavily influenced by American, so there is a chance that the Cosmo paid homage
a bit longer than necessary. As a result, the Cosmo is an unusual, one of a kind model that serves as a benchmark to
car designers. Unusual in this case is good, because it carries great amount of personality that identifies you from anything
else you can find on the road. With that said, I just don’t understand why it has been absent from the GT series for
quite some time now, it deserves much better treatment.
On the other hand, there is the Soarer, a sleek grand
tourer built by Toyota (rebadged as Lexus in America) which doesn't look nearly as glamorous as the Cosmo, yet it managed
to achieve impressive sale results, particularly in America. Quite a paradox, isn't it ? To be honest, I’ve never been
a fan of Toyota’s organic design policy. At times they would come up with something interesting, but lack of true identity
was always the main reason why I would end up being indifferent. I also found it difficult to appreciate their work,
given the vast amount of similar models they have in production. They do have my sympathy though, it must be really hard to
keep being creative that way.
The Soarer was designed in Toyota’s North
American CALTY studio, and according to various web sources, the idea was to reach the American buyers through emotions
and feelings that allegedly had been the main template for the final design. Hm, seriously ? I’m not sure what average
buyers would think about it, but if I were responsible for initial drawings, I would use eraser more often. A car that reminds
me of a vessel can’t invoke any affection in person, don’t you agree ? I honestly hope that this isn’t
the case with the car's handling.
Both cars have
several colors to paint their bodies. The Cosmo looks important in silver and red, while the Soarer will impress crème of
the party with beige. Racing modifications are optional, but I recommend them as you’ll need a lot of downforce to move
those two around corners.
----- ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN ----
Every grand tourer should feature a reasonably powerful engine. These cars have
plenty of gadgets inside to keep our stock brokers and engineers entertained, so there must be some power to keep the car
moving in a spirited manner. The two don’t disappoint in that area, but I have to say that better results could have
been achieved in both cases. Let’s see where.
Cosmo features twin-turbocharged, 3-rotor engine that squeezes out 276 ponies off the hood.
This is the only Mazda ever built by such solution. Other models used either 2 or 4-rotor configuration, opening a space for
Cosmo to hope and tuck in. This unique technology is mated to a 4-speed automatic gearbox. Surprisingly, Mazda never offered
manual transmission on any of the two Cosmo models, even though this should be standard equipment on a sports coupe.
Luckily, the initial ratio is moderately wide, which
is why the car can effectively use the massive amount of torque the engine produces. From 2000 to 5000 rpm, the maximum
punch is being offered, so make sure you fasten your seatbelt as the Cosmo is prone to aggression. The gearbox is well optimized
for high-speed runs, but it lacks swiftness during gear changes. I strongly recommend buying the Close-ratio gearbox, as not
only you will get the response and extra gear to play with, but the ratio will be slightly shortened, enough to make sure
that the engine never falls below value 5000, the limit below which the car’s power is not that useful anymore.
The Soarer, on the other hand, features a 2.5 litre turbocharged
engine. It is supported by 5-speed manual gearbox which provides more pep in shifting sequences, but the general
ratio is overly short. This is especially noticeable in first gear, during which the car can’t productively use its
own torque. This is the exact reason why the acceleration results, as provided in the table below the review, are disappointing.
The same bug tortures other models in range, so if you want to effectively use their power and thus even up with
the Cosmo, a launch in second gear is strongly recommended.
The Soarer's peak
power aims for the high rpm range, and since its power chart is steeper, you have much less room to navigate with available
power. Unfortunately, the only solution is upgrading your drivetrain with a Fully Customizable Gearbox. The gearbox of
the car is obviously built with sports driving in mind, but it is far from being optimized for it.
is nothing much to say about the Soarer's torque. Unlike the Cosmo, the Soarer produces peak values from 3000 to 5000
rpm. If you want more punch at lower range you should consider the ’96 VVT-i model. Its torque distribution covers
a range from 2000 to 5000 rpm, and its more linear output should allow for accurate acceleration dosage. Speaking of
the other models, let’s mention the Lexus SC400, whose popular V8 unit doesn’t need to worry about the turbo
lag which can be of benefit if you plan to race with default gearbox.
power is also a place where the two separate. The Soarer's max of 420 ponies the is not worthy of any
applause, especially when compared to the Cosmo, which can produce 620 ponies at best. I should mention
that the SC300 can produce 520 ponies when tuned to the maximum level possible, despite being at first the weakest model in
In the sound department, neither car stands
out. The Cosmo sounds like a mature MX-5, while the Soarer reminds me on a silencer of a gun. However, things drastically
improve once you install some of the muffler attachments. With a Semi-racing kit, the Cosmo incorporates rotary whistling.
With the Racing attachment, the Cosmo gets a frightening, loud sound that perfectly matches with its character. The Soarer
has two good tunes on disposal (Semi-racing and Racing) and both of them invoke traditional TRD connotations. With either
choice, a little identity can be found. In both cases, I would recommend installing ditto mufflers as soon as possible, to
increase your joy of the drive.
----- CHASSIS & HANDLNG -----
Now it is time to see how well these two premium members can perform under racing conditions.
I entered the Grand Touring Event
at Red Rock Valley Speedway. Usually considered to be an easy race for an average driver, now this track presents a real
challenge for a car like the Cosmo. Its soft suspension configuration is not suitable for high-speed cornering, which is particularly
noticeable on corner entries where the car exhibits understeer. It is mandatory to have patience while waiting for the springs
to rebound to an acceptable position, at which the weight of the car can be easily manipulated without sliding around the
track. Of course, this goofing affects average cornering speed, which doesn’t allow for spectacular lap times. I probably
don’t have to mention that I lost the entire race.
the sharp corners of Laguna Seca or Seattle, the situation is much more promising. Due to lower average cornering
speed, it is possible to use the maximum potential of the car and its soft suspension configuration, even though the negative
handling traits are still there, keen for sending you off the track. The Cosmo's high ride height (150 mm) allows for plenty
of weight pushing its on tires, and because speed isn’t high, the suspension can take it, permitting the Cosmo
to run at a decent pace. On these tracks the Cosmo would clear some corners in very fast and agile manner, particularly
if you manage to keep the understeer under control. Unfortunately, these circuits vary in their corners, so you’re likely
going to be surprised during some, and disappointed during others.
I have no objections on this car's rear-end stability. Massive torque injection won’t disrupt traction
of the rear tires that easily. On corner entry braking, drift occurs smoothly and progressively, with plenty of time to react.
But more importantly, I’m glad it remains controllable when acceleration is applied on exits.
Overall, the Cosmo is too gracious to operate in aggressive circumstances.
In order to perform at least respectably, installing a suspension kit provides an initially stiffer spring ratio, which is
necessary, although weight reduction is likely going to be the best starting option. This chap requires the soft, premium
hands of a wealthy pencil-pusher, not rustic slapping.
I hope you haven’t placed all your bets on Mazda’s unusual handicraft yet, as its handling is exactly the place
where the Soarer turns the table on the Cosmo.
first thing I noticed was a strange ratio of front to rear springs. Majority of cars have the bias set towards front end,
but 7.4 against rear’s 3.4 on the Soarer is a bit disturbing. Surprisingly, that doesn’t affect amount of understeer
that the car may produce, although the front end occasionally does feel stiff when entering a corner, which is a side effect
I’m not really fond of either. The first two non-adjustable suspension kits only make it worse (I recall ratio
around 13 against rear’s 7 with Semi-racing kit), so the only solution is buying the expensive Full customizable suspension
kit. Ah, whatever.
Another problem that may catch your
attention is the lack of traction on the inside rear tire when pulling away from a corner. Allegedly, all Soarer models feature
Torsen torque-sensing differential. I’m not sure how the device works, but in Gran Turismo 2 the Soarer acts as a car
with no LSD of any kind, so mark those words and fit one by yourself. Let’s hope your wallet is not empty yet, plenty
of gadgets are required!
On the other hand, the car
is supported by very responsive steering, and a fairly rigid chassis. Its shorter wheelbase affects the speed of weight
transfer, so it becomes possible to induce oversteer just by letting off the acceleration pedal at the right moment,
which is not an easy task on the Cosmo. The general extent of understeer is much friendlier, and doesn’t require polished
skills to be tamed. Actually, the difference between the two’s handling is sometimes apparent as night and day. Once
you balance the ratio of its springs, the Soarer may even become completely invincible – at least as far as these
two rivals are concerned of course.
Based on my experience
with Soarer in other video games, the car is considered to be quite agile, with little if none disturbance occurring at its
front axle. I have to say that GT2 replicated this paradigm good enough.
And that is about it! If you care about lap times, the sports-oriented Soarer will provide you with some sweet, competitive
numbers. It requires several expensive parts to be fully prepared, but the result afterwards is rewarding. The Cosmo is a
more of a collector’s item than a true sports car. Oddities can be found all over the place, and the Soarer just can’t
match such personality. Not surprising, given that the Soarer is just another Toyota, another surrogate of Supra that shares
too many already seen elements from models like Chaser, Aristo, etc. The Cosmo is unique in the class and that is something
lap times or sale results can’t explain.
Toyota Soarer ‘95
L6 DOHC, 2491 ccm
270 hp at 6100 rpm
37.1 kg/m at 4500 rpm
225/55 R 16