A big brother to the Toyota 86. If you’ve got the dosh, the Toyota Supra is the answer to your performance prayers.
Like the 86, which ride shares with the Subaru BRZ, the Supra shares a chassis and mechanicals with the BMW Z4 sports car.
With a 3.0-litre, twin scroll turbo straight six, the two-seat sports car goes hard indeed, together with a taught, focused ride and handling package that will whip round corners quicker than your passenger can yell — let me out of here!
What’s it cost?
There’s two models, GT and GTS, priced from $84,900 and $94,900 respectively.
Not sure what the GTS brings to the equation, but it probably includes additional weight.
A comprehensive suite of driver assistance features includes active cruise control (ACC), front collision warning with brake function and daytime pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, lane departure alert, speed limit info (SLI) and active speed limiter.
Additional safety features include seven airbags, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, rear view camera, front and rear parking sensors with rear end collision warning (RECW) plus tyre pressure monitoring.
Standard kit includes dual zone climate air, keyless entry and start, heated, eight-way power adjust leather-accented sports seats, LED head and tail lights, auto high beam, auto lights and wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror,
It’s capped off by 10-speaker infotainment with Bluetooth, AM/FM/DAB+ radio, satellite navigation and voice recognition — plus wireless phone charger.
For those that want the lot, we’re informed the GTS adds larger 19 inch wheels, head-up windscreen display and premium JBL audio (standard system is not too shabby).
GTS owners can also access two exclusive options: Alcantara interior trim and upholstery and matte grey paint — each $2500.
What’s it go like?
The 3.0-litre BMW straight six, with twin scroll turbocharger and variable valve control, pumps out a healthy 250kW of power and 500Nm of torque — the latter between a very accessible 1600 and 4500 revs.
Drive is to the rear wheels through a quick-shifting, sports-tuned 8-speed ZF auto with Normal and Sport modes.
With launch control the car can catapult the car from rest to 100km/h in a rapid-fire 4.3 seconds.
Underpinning this performance is an active, limited slip diff and adaptive suspension.
The GT sits rides on 18-inch wheels and Michelin rubber, with 255/40ZR18 at the front and 275/40ZR18 rear.
It sits extremely low, with a wide stance, low centre of gravity and perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
They’re the stats. In reality the Supra is quick and aggressive.
But before we start waxing on about the performance, please note that it requires a degree of agility and flexibility to get in and out of the thing.
So be sure to familiarise yourself with the process before making any decisions, or the relationship could be short-lived.
On the other hand, upwardly mobile, rubbery thirty-somethings, should have no problems whatsoever.
Once inside it’s quite roomy and even reasonably comfortable, but this is tempered by an overly harsh ride and cabin that is noisy at times, on all but the smoothest surfaces.
The noise problem is exacerbated by the open luggage space with push through access that acts as a kind of sound resonator.
There’s not much in the way of stowage space in the cabin, with provision for the keys, your phone and a couple of drink holders.
But the small, slim door pockets are virtually useless — even your wallet could wind up living in the boot.
The output figures of 250kW/500Nm, are plenty of mumbo for a car of this size and weight at 1495kg.
Push the start button to get going, shift the transmission into Drive and release the electric handbrake.
The latter incidentally does not engage or disengage automatically.
You can choose between Sport and Normal drive modes, with Sport accentuating engine response, delaying gear changes, firming up the dampers and adding some weight to the steering.
It also adds some snack, crackle and pop to the exhaust, particularly on throttle overrun.
These settings can be dialled in or out individually through the setup menu — so you can have the engine sound with the softer ride option.
Interestingly, we didn’t find ourselves reaching for the gear change paddles right away, as the car is extremely responsive — even in D.
On a wet, winding mountain road, however, snapping gears with the paddle shifts is more desirable, with engine braking providing reassurance and helping to maintain control.
Steering is pin sharp, responding to the slightest touch, while the brakes bite deep and hard into corners, with the occasional twitch from the rear end.
But, annoyingly, the edge of my right foot clipped the brake pedal several times in the process of searching for the accelerator.
It’s obviously set up for heel and toe.
My passenger, I might add, is provided with nothing to hold onto — even the door handle does not lend itself to the job.
With a 52-litre tank, the car takes premium 95 unleaded with fuel consumption a claimed 7.7L/100km.
We were getting 8.2L/100km after close to 900km — an excellent result considering.
At the end of the day, meandering home after an afternoon of fun, I began to wonder whether Supra is in fact a Toyota or a BMW, courtesy of all that BMW hardware?
More to the point, does it really matter?
Perhaps a better question and the only one that needs an answer — is the modern Supra exciting to drive?
Jawohl mein Kommandant!
What we like?
Exciting to drive
Pin sharp steering, braking and handling
Digital speed and speed limit notification
Entertaining snack, crackle and pop from the exhaust in sport mode
What we don’t like?
$85K car, $8.50 instrument panel
Left-hand blinker stalk (thanks BMW)
Ultra low, non driveway-friendly front spoiler
No warnings for speed cameras
Nothing for passenger to hang on to
The bottom line?
Arresting looks. Superior performance. Overly harsh ride but impressive steering, braking and handling.
They all make for an aspirational and relatively affordable high performance sports car. But dare we say the Toyota Supra is not for everyone. Then again, you don’t want your neighbour driving one anyway.
Be sure to audition the gymnastics required to get in and out of this low slung beast otherwise it could be a short-lived relationship.