The All-New Toyota GR Supra
The Toyota Supra is back. Over 20 years since the last UK models were sold. Toyota has brought back the iconic Supra. The Supra was a car, young kids idolised due to its striking sporty looks and the limitless upgrades available for it. It was a 'tuners' delight and a show stopper at many custom events around the world. It was fast, it was edgy, and it felt ahead of its time.
The All-new Toyota GR Supra has been in design for seven years. The Supra is so iconic throughout the world, especially Japan that no stone could be left unturned when designing this new thoroughbred sports car. The Supra sits at the top alongside the Nissan GTR and Honda NSX as Japans most famous and desirable cars.
Rather than building the all-new Supra from scratch, Toyota decided to partner up with BMW. They designed and built the Supra along with the new BMW Z4. This is not the first time Toyota has teamed up with another manufacturer. When creating the brilliant GT86, they joined forces with Subaru, who created their Subaru BRZ, another great car.
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Toyota has used the basic 3-litre, turbocharged, straight-six from BMW along with its eight-speed, automatic transmission, along with many aspects of the cockpit. The engine has been tuned by their in house performance team 'Gazoo Racing' (GR) along with the transmission. By using the BMW sourced engine and transmission, Toyota also needed to use a lot of BMW's technology, like the iDrive system.
The GR tuned engine produces 335hp and 500Nm torque, meaning 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. The eight-speed automatic transmission comes with flappy paddles for super-fast gear changes. Toyota has also fitted an Active Differential (exclusive to the European market) and adaptive suspension as standard and two driving modes; Normal and Sport. There is also launch control and a unique 'track' setting, which reduces the involvement of the vehicle stability system.
The Supra comes with perfect 50:50 weight distribution front to rear. A lightweight but highly rigid frame. Along with a lower centre of gravity than its smaller sibling, the GT86, offering excellent handling, stability and comfort. Toyota Gazoo Racing, have used all their motorsport experience, to develop the Supra's body to improve the aerodynamics. Following similar styling from the popular GT86, the Supra comes with Toyota's famous 'double-bubble' roof and distinctive ducktail wing at the rear. An aggressive and muscular front end and body make the Supra a real head-turner. Plus it's sitting on 19-inch wheels with bespoke Michelin tyres.
The new Supra has not yet been safety tested by Euro NCAP. Each model comes with the Toyota Safety Plus package, including; Pre-collision System, Adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, Blindspot monitor and road sign assist. Coupled with Adaptive LED lights and a rearview camera, you can expect great results with such high-quality safety features as standard.
The cockpit of the Supra has taken inspiration from single-seater race cars and designed with the drivers' experience in mind. Much of the interior comes from BMW, although there are some differences between the switchgear. The three-spoke leather steering wheel and 8.8-inch digital instrument, remain Toyota specific. Standard features include; 8.8-inch colour touchscreen display, sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and 10-speaker audio system. There is also heated Black Alcantara racing seats, with lumbar support. These can be adjusted electronically.
For an extra £1300, you can get the GR Supra Pro. For this you get black leather sports seats, a stunning 12-speaker JBL premium sound system, head-up display and a wireless smartphone charging pad. For me, this is an excellent option as its a relatively small fee, but you get top-quality equipment. I wouldn't be surprised if the GR Supra Pro is not the most popular option amongst prospective buyers.
The Supra provides an excellent driving position, and you get a generous amount of room to feel comfortable. The boot comes in at 290-litres and will fit a couple of reasonably sized bags, however a set of golf clubs maybe not.
Is the Toyota GR Supra an out and out sports car to rival the Porsche Cayman or the agile Alpine A110? No, not really. Although the Supra handles and performs well, the Porsche and Alpine are just one step ahead. The Supra is bigger and heavier than both its rivals, and this does show when pushing hard into corners. Both the Cayman and the Alpine are mid-engined, whereas the Supra is front-engined, which impacts its overall intuitive and responsive handling performance.
The Supra, however, is probably the better all-round car, offering sports car performance with everyday usability. It is fun and exciting to drive, with plenty of thrills and spills to be had. The Supra is not cheap coming in at £52,695 for the base model. However, it comes with a much higher basic spec level than its rivals, which makes it great value for money in this class. Add into the mix that there will only be 300 sold in the UK in 2019, and this will be a scarce and desirable car. There is no doubt that further down the line, more powerful versions will be available to satisfy racers everywhere.
If you were thinking of buying a Porsche or Alpine, I would urge you to pause, and take a test drive in the all-new Toyota GR Supra. You will not be disappointed, it could change your mind with its surprisingly good handling, performance and stunning good looks.