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The fifth generation Toyota GR Supra is an everyday sports car that's engaging to drive on the track.

23 Aug 2019

After a hiatus of two decades since the infamous A80 Supra saw daylight, fans of the historic moniker will undoubtedly rejoice at the fact that Toyota is ready for the world to see the all new A90 Toyota Supra.

The Supra has the 'GR' moniker on its sheet metal

Technically, it's called the Toyota GR Supra now, the acronym standing for Gazoo Racing, Toyota's motorsports division and de facto performance brand. The latest Supra is also the first car to bear the 'GR' badge on its sheet metal, a crucial move to ensure that the Supra isn't considered as a mere rebodied BMW Z4 - the other sports car that resulted from Toyota's partnership with BMW.

Like the Japanese carmaker's previous collaboration with Subaru for the 86/BRZ back in 2008, the GR Supra shares similar hardware with the latest Z4, which includes the platform, engine and gearbox.

Unsurprisingly, there are also plenty of shared components on the inside such as the iDrive system, rotary knob, buttons and switches. Even the door handles appear to be similar.

Ample shared components with BMW can be seen in its cabin

Same but different

But where it differs from the Bimmer is its distinctive character. While both the BMW Z4 and the Toyota Supra sport the same 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged in-line six powerplant that's seamlessly mated to the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, the Supra feels much more of a sports car and, quite possibly, a track car than its counterpart.

Hence, it's no stretch to call the GR Supra Toyota's milestone in the dynamic development of sports cars. It being benchmarked against the Porsche Cayman - and has thus far proven to be a capable and more affordable alternative - simply goes to show that the Japanese sports car is a pure and worthy rival to peers that are well above its class.

That said, you cannot expect the razor sharp handling that's often associated with Porsche. What you'll get, though, is a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable car that's not only perfect around town, but also on the track.

Twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six powerplant sends 335bhp and 500Nm of torque to the rear wheels

Comfortable cruiser

Ride quality is superb for an outright sports car, with the sort of comfort levels that wouldn't make you feel uneasy or rigid behind the wheel in Normal mode. It rides calmly and is undistracted by bumps and ruts. Couple this with the sort of cabin familiarity and intuitiveness, and what you'll get is a car that's fantastically easy to live with every day.

And mind you, familiarity breeds confidence, and confidence is key when piloting this car around the track, which was what I did at Sportsland Sugo, one of the largest motorsports facilities in Japan.

Outright bruiser

It's doubtful that the average Supra owner will take their car to the track, but they should indeed because that's where the car feels at home.

Twin tailpipes give out nice pops and burbles in Sport mode when you lift off your right foot

With 335bhp and 500Nm of twisting force sent to the rear wheels, the car neither squirms nor struggles when you're hard on the right pedal out of tight corners. In Sport mode, grip levels are high and the steering accuracy even higher, while mid-corner bumps fail to fluster the Supra, so you can push the car harder and harder as you slam from one corner to the other confidently.

In this said mode, the exhaust note is also more exuberant, with pops and burbles blowing out of the twin tailpipes the moment you lift off.

Supplementing the track experience is the low and sporty driving position with ample adjustable side bolters support for the harsh lateral movements.

Steering proves to be highly accurate on the track

A lot of its handling capabilities has to do with the car's short wheelbase and wide tracks, which enable the GR Supra to change directions quickly, making it a joy to throw around corners with reckless abandon.

Looks as good as it drives

Visually, the GR Supra has a love-it-hate-it design. In my eyes, it looks every bit aggressive and mature as what an outright modern sports car should be, with the well thought out double-bubble on the roof a nod to the iconic 2000GT.

Such a distinctive roofline also does help a fair bit with taller occupants, allowing them to have more headroom on the inside.

The GR Supra measures 4,380mm tip to tip

What's the deal then?

The Toyota GR Supra is expected to be launched in Singapore at the end of September, with two variants - this 3.0-litre in-line six and the 2.0-litre four-cylinder - available to buyers.

Prices for both variants are estimated to hover around $220,000 and $200,000 respectively without COE.

Curious as to how the car performs on our local roads? Why not watch our review in video format below?

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