Developer Polyphony Digital released a new update for Gran Turismo 7 this morning, bringing the game to version 1.15. It’s not a particularly substantial patch outside of adding three new cars and events; we’re still waiting for the ability to change tracks within multiplayer lobbies and sell cars, after all. One of the new vehicles, however, is an unexpected delight: the Suzuki Vision Gran Turismo.
The Vision Gran Turismo initiative has been going for almost a decade now, motivating automakers all over the world to design fictional (and sometimes real) performance-minded concepts for the sim racing franchise. Lots of brands have participated already, so the program has slowed somewhat in recent years. Porsche was the latest in December, contributing a car that’s present on the cover of GT7. Now Suzuki has joined the ranks with a compact two-seat, open-top roadster.
The idea of a convertible sports car from Suzuki, makers of the Jimny, might seem left-field. But fans know Suzuki isn’t totally out of its depth here, given the existence of the Cappuccino. The Suzuki VGT follows in that tradition, but is more closely aligned with another curiosity from the Japanese auto and motorcycle maker’s past: the GSX-R/4.
The GSX-R/4 was a concept Suzuki brought to the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, formulated on a very simple and attractive premise. It was a mid-engined roadster powered by the 1.3-liter four-cylinder out of a GSX-1300R Hayabusa. It also looked like a Braun electric shaver, but in a cool way. Suzuki never mass-produced the thing obviously, but its numbers impressed: 173 horsepower at 9,800 rpm, all in a package that tipped the scales at a smidge over 1,400 pounds. It also had a sequential manual gearbox and arguably the best digital dash in the history of the industry:
So what does this newer, intangible Suzuki roadster share with its predecessor? Well, theoretically it also packs a Hayabusa engine, this time mounted between the driver and front axle. In this implementation however, the 1,340-cc mill is supplemented by three electric motors — two in the front driving each wheel, and one in the back. They combine for 426 HP and 448 lb-ft of torque. This VGT would be considerably heavier than the GSX-R/4, though — 2,138 pounds, for an increase of 738 pounds over that 20-year-old concept.
Stylistically it’s nice enough, though not particularly novel. This is no Misano concept and is more a reflection of Suzuki’s present passenger car design, but it still cleans up.
If there’s an upside to that, though, it makes this fictional car more believable. There’s nothing outlandishly fantastical about this VGT, unlike some of the others that Suzuki’s peers have imagined. That makes it cool, because attainable is cool.
I took it for a quick test drive around Streets of Willow Springs before writing this, and while it understeers a bit owing to its all-wheel-drive layout, it’s still playful and very predictable at the limit. The Hayabusa motor absolutely howls too, which you can hear especially well at the end of the reveal video embedded above. Polyphony says a Gr. 3 racing version will eventually follow in a future update, so look forward to campaigning that in Sport Mode races.
In fact, the least believable thing about this roadster is that Suzuki would have the cash to actually manufacture it at scale. The brand’s affinity for open-air motoring clearly extends past the two-wheel domain. If Suzuki could find a way to translate that ambition into a product enthusiasts could actually buy, I reckon it’d hit it out of the park. For now, though, I suppose Gran Turismo will have to do.