Team Y’s motoring expert tests a sports car with a supercar attitude, and finds it the best coupe he has driven by a country mile.
Teasers and spy shots galore, no car of this era has received as much press and speculation as this one has. It’s a sports car with a name that demands respect within the automotive community – even if it has been in incubation for more than 17 years.
Its name? The Toyota Supra.
A sports car that had the pedigree to rip to shreds the best of Italy when it was released in 1978, the car’s history is smeared with headshots of some of the biggest names; venerated as a tuner-friendly ride that rose to become a supercar-killer over the years that followed.
Its engine – the iconic 2JZ – still garners praise for pumping out four-figure power and torque figures to give even hyper-cars a run for its money.
This fifth-gen progeny promises similar results, albeit it all springs into life from a partnership to bring to life a new engine, new chassis and above all, a new image; all in the pursuit of maximum thrills.
Since the FT-1 Concept first broke waves back at Detroit in 2014, the car has matured into its new outfit. We have it on good authority that the low-slung sports car rings in all the right curves you’d expect from a modern Supra.
Every angle – from the F1-inspired nose upfront to the bold, voluptuous flares on the fenders, and even the bubble roof – boasts a sense of purpose to the car while dolling up to create a personality unlike any other Toyota we’ve seen in recent times.
Our favourite bit, however, is the rear: there’s a large diffuser taking up a huge chunk of the bottom of the posterior and a duck-lip spoiler added to aid aero and push the car down for better stability.
Those in it for the luxe needn’t worry either: the Supra comes standard with LED head and tail lamps, with seven colour options to choose from. Our favourite, however, is the ‘Ice Grey’ that our tester was finished in.
The final product is well-proportioned, stylish, and more importantly, looks like a car that could one day be on the walls in kids’ bedrooms as an exotic poster.
Perhaps all of that has to do with the boffins from ‘Gazoo Racing’ putting in their years of expertise in motorsports while adding a touch of their DNA into the mix. And even if the vents on the hood or the rear quarter of the car are faux, as per Toyota, they’re designed to be swapped out. All of them.
The one that is real, however, is upfront on the bumper. The gaping intakes are hard to miss, and is expected to cool the engine down quickly and efficiently.
The engine itself keeps with a strict Supra tradition of chucking in a straight-six turbocharged motor. So, underneath the large hood sits a B58 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine that is rated at 335hp and 500Nms of torque. Those are impressive figures for a car that barely tips the scales at 1.5 tonnes.
Completing the powertrain is an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. Toyota says the car’s good for 0-100kph time of 4.3 seconds (yes! you heard that right) – though we’re yet to put the car through its paces to find out what we can achieve.
With rigid construction, 50:50 weight distribution, and adaptive suspension thrown in, we’re certain that the car will munch up corners faster than any other modern rival sports car from Europe. Don’t forget, the Supra comes with a short wheelbase (2,470mm) on top of it all.
It’s also shout-ey car – and we mean that in a good way. The dual exhaust setup is completed by large mufflers, but don’t let the looks fool you. There’s enough trickery in the exhaust tubes (along with some help from the ECU) to help the car pull out some burps on upshifts and even louder pops and bangs on downshifts. This can be controlled by the button that activates ‘Sport’ mode that livens up the exhaust, alongside the throttle, steering, gearshifts, and suspension.
The brakes are vented and quite sizable for a car of this size; meaning, stopping power should be, erm, more than just adequate.
On to more relevant things, the Supra’s interior is a masterpiece even if it’s derived from their newfound partnership.
That said, it now comes as a strict two-seater, though it swaddles its occupants in luxury. There’s nothing minimalistic about Toyota’s approach – and we love it. All the panels are wrapped in premium leather and those that aren’t are finished-up in carbon fibre. There’s also enough tech in there to appease its younger audience.
On the forefront of it all lies an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, complete with a control knob on the center console. It’s a smooth system with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern car. There’s also a heads-up display unit to help keep your eyes on the road and away from the digital instrument cluster, and a 12-speaker JBL premium sound system if you want to hear something more than just the loud exhaust.
It’s hard to keep our hands away from the new Supra after spending a short while with it. This is as exclusive as an exotic car will ever get – and that alone hoists the Supra into unchartered territory.
The Supra’s second coming has thrown open a new segment in the motoring world – one that bridges a wide gap between sports cars and supercars. It’s the prefect expression of what a sports car must be. If the old Supra was a mechanical watch, the new one aims to be a smart watch.
In conclusion, then, the Supra is a complete… nay… the perfect coupe.
• Engine: 3.0-litre ‘turbocharged’ in-line six-cylinder
• Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
• Power: 335hp
• Torque: 500Nms
• 19-inch alloy wheels
• Digital speedometer
• Carbon-fibre trim
• Rear parking sensors
• 12-speaker JBL audio system
• 8.8-inch infotainment screen
• ‘Sport’ mode w/Paddle shifters
• Adaptive suspension
• Heads-up display
• Rear camera
• Leather-wrapped steering wheel