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With its gorgeous sheet metal and sharp driving dynamics, the new Toyota Supra still manages to set itself apart and be something special.

11 Oct 2019


Ah yes, the new Toyota Supra. If you know anything about this car, you must also know the 'controversy' around it - namely that it shares many of its underpinnings with the BMW Z4.

The two models were co-developed by BMW and Toyota, and the logic of it is simple enough. In this current day and age, the market demand for a two-seater coupe or convertible just isn't sufficient to justify developing a brand new car. However, both models are key to each brand's cultural identity, so sharing resources to jointly develop these two cars makes sense.

The 'Supra' name is held in high reverence alongside other halo Japanese models like the Honda NSX and the Nissan GT-R

So, the Toyota Supra, then. Toyota's halo car. A car that, over four generations, has developed a cult following, helped along with appearances in shows like Initial D and The Fast and the Furious franchise.

This new fifth generation model certainly has a lot to live up to…

The new Supra is undoubtedly arresting to look at, and turns heads anywhere you go

Turning heads

Let's get the good stuff out of the way first. The Supra undoubtedly looks fantastic - squatting low to the ground, and with flowing lines and aggressive exterior shapes, the Supra is an instant head turner. Its visual presence and distinction alone is pretty damn special.

Slide inside the car, and it instantly transforms into a BMW, barring the Toyota badge on the steering wheel, and the digital instrument cluster. Everything else, literally everything you can touch, is taken from a BMW. Hell, the car even smells like a BMW. Oh, and the key? Yup, also a BMW key (badge swapped out for a Toyota one, of course).

Every button you see here comes straight from a BMW

The BMW-ness of the Supra also translates to its drivetrain. Exhaust sound? BMW. Engine character and power delivery? BMW. Throttle response? BMW. Steering feel? BMW. To be fair, that's not necessarily a bad thing - if you need to source for an in-line six engine, we're not sure there's anyone better to source from than BMW. 

Secret sauce

But, does this mean this is just a Z4 with a hardtop? No, far from it. The Toyota boffins have fiddled around with the car's chassis, and this has a fundamental influence to the way the Supra feels.

Toyota engineers have tweaked the chassis such that the Supra tackles corners with great accuracy and delicacy

It's much more alert, responsive and aggressive. The steering is sharp and instinctive, and nicely weighted especially in 'Sport'. The front end is eager to turn in, and thus the car is easy to place through corners. Hoof it hard and it'll squirm around, the rear wheels always eager to break traction. 

The Supra also feels light. It's not quite Alpine A110 light and deft, but it's a whole 115kg lighter than the Z4. In fact, it actually feels lighter than its 1,495kg kerb weight. This, combined with its short wheelbase, results in a fantastic handling sports car - the Supra dances across the tarmac gracefully and delightfully.

The 3.0-litre engine pumps out 335bhp 500Nm of torque

It's also really, really quick. 335bhp and 500Nm of torque from the 3.0-litre engine means 0-100km/h takes just 4.3 seconds (it honestly feels faster). 

Additionally, the Supra also rides well. The suspension is extremely forgiving, even in the 'Sport' setting - it's much more supple than the Z4. 

Look, the comparisons between the Supra and the Z4 are always going to be inevitable. But in some ways, that's a pity. Both cars are different and distinct in their characters. The Supra is a much more focused and capable sports car, while still being easy to live with and use everyday. And simply put, we much prefer the Supra.

A special place

So, what do we make of this not-so-Japanese Toyota Supra? I'll be honest - I was initially extremely sceptical and hesitant. "It's just a re-bodied BMW" was a phrase I uttered at least five times.

But having spent some time with it, I come to wonder - is that really such a bad thing?

There's a passable amount of daily practicality with its 290-litre boot

After all, over decades and model upon model, BMW has consistently built cars that deliver sharp and engaging driving dynamics, all while being premium, high-quality automobiles. Is it such a bad idea to take a thing or two (or 200 in the Supra's case) from them? I hardly think so.

And in fact, I think the Supra is better off for it. You get a car that feels premium and high-quality. You get modern, sophisticated technology and equipment. You get a lovely engine that pours out plenty of power. All that, packaged in a car that's beautiful, comfortable but also really fun to drive.

Yes, it may look and feel undoubtedly German, but that also means you are getting German technology, quality and precision

Good feelings

For die-hard purists, the BMW-ness of this new Supra will likely be too off-putting. But, I am willing to bet that nine out of 10 people will be glad for it - the car is just, better.

Is it as magical as the old cars? Maybe not. But don't forget, the 'magic' and 'wonder' of these old cars are also crafted through lore and history books. It's easy for us to romanticise about such cars while staring at posters and reading about them, but do you really want to deal with a heavy clutch, squeaky steering wheel and just general creakiness and rust that comes with everyday use?

Delightful to drive and gorgeous to admire, the new Supra definitely still feels like a special car

This new Supra, in this moment, absolutely works. And it also feels like it will age well. Better Toyota have BMW built this car rather than itself doing a half-baked job on its halo model.

I will admit, this part-German, part-Japanese Supra struggles a little when it comes to its pure individual charisma, but there's no denying that it's a cleverly-developed and well-built sports car that absolutely delivers when it comes to driving fun.

Quite simply, the new Supra is just a bloody good sports car

No matter what you think about its BMW bones, there's no getting around the simple fact that the Supra is engaging, exciting, and just a great sports car. 

And most importantly, it is because of this collaboration that this new Supra even exists. And its mere existence is special enough. That must be celebrated, no matter what you think about the smattering of BMW parts both outside and inside the car.

It is thanks to the collaboration between BMW and Toyota that this new Supra even exists, and that alone deserves to be celebrated

Sitting behind the wheel of the Supra, you cannot help but feel rather special. It's a freakin Supra, man! Here in the flesh! And, that feeling is enhanced when you see everyone staring at you when you drive past. And really, when it comes to a halo model like this, that feeling is all that truly matters. It feels special.

Touch your heart, you still want one. I do.
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Car Information

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Toyota GR Supra 3.0 (A)
Rate it

Price

: POA

Engine Type

:

6-cylinder in-line 24-valve DOHC Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

2998cc

Horsepower

:

250kW (335 bhp) / 6500 rpm

Torque

:

500 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.3sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

13 km/L

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toyota  toyota supra  supra  toyota gr supra  gr supra  bmw  z4