Voilà. We managed to test the important topic, the one almost every car enthusiast is curious about or has something to say about. While some told us it is a rebadged BMW, others are doubtful yet on the reserve. However, all of them have one thing in common: they talk about it because this name is biblical. Supra, a Latin word meaning super, above. It took a while for Toyota actually to make it the truth. Sure, the A60 Toyota Celica (Carina) Supra is a great car, but it was not above the others. Text: Luca W. © Images: Luca W. © Special thanks to M R. and J-B R.

15 years after the first Celica Supra (A50), the first Supra was born. The 1993 A80 Toyota Supra (Mk. IV), considered the ultimate Japanese sports car, was the greatest, genuine Supra representation. This is a generation legend by its aesthetics and powertrain. 2JZ-GTE. What other engine is more famous than this one? None. It is considering the population of its believers, the A8A80,0 as above. Nowadays, it is still Supra.

The Toyota Supra pre-sequel

The Toyota Supra Mk. V (J29/DB) has a big job to do: make the world forget about the A80. Trust us. Not even Elon Musk would try that. The Fast and Furious films saga (and 70+ other movies and shows) and multiple video games rock star is very hard to let slip in people’s minds, as a whole generation grew up with this car by its side. The Mark V is co-developed with BMW, but is careful: the project wasn’t planned to be the successor of the A80. Toyota had other plans for this cooperation and didn’t know where to go either with this project.

A small deviation

To the Demendors that say out loud, “It is a rebadged BMW”, : they’re all wrong. Yes, both brands’ engineers worked on the chassis. So if you were hanging around the Nürburgring between 2017 and 2019, you could see both camouflaged cars driving around together. But, of course, Toyota not having a 3-litre 6-inline turbocharged engine, the costs of development would have been nonsensical, especially when the development partner has a new one: the BMW B58 engine.

“What about the gearbox? BMW, right?” Not really. The gearbox completes the transmission on the BMW Z4 too. Just like the Lamborghini Urus or the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Even the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Does it mean the Toyota Supra is a rebadged Lamborghini? The gearbox is developed and built by ZF, a famous car part maker, who also took part in Porsche PDK transmission development to know what they’re doing.

The new Toyota Supra is theoretically the best mixture of German rigor, sportiveness, Japanese reliability, and passion. But, before driving it, we had to pull away all those prejudices and… push it.

A retro-futuristic design

Before driving it, we wanted to take some time to focus on our first impressions. Seeing the finished product for the first time is all about perception and we tried to capture the first seconds of our feelings. The whole point of this process is that, after those few seconds, the brain starts comparing with what you know. So it is just polluting your first impression.

First impression: “Proportions look good, but what a mess. It’s overdesigned!”. Grills, scoops, diffuser, “dive planes”, fake side blends: the Toyota Supra design is heavily loaded. There’s a lot of information to process, and my eyes were dead frozen because my brain didn’t know where to point them at. However, after several looks around, a sense of calm part in my body, indeed after the cortisol secretion. There is harmony in this design, as every one of those numerous elements perfectly fits each other. With time, it is so pleasing to the eye that your brain eventually would secret oxytocin, the pleasure hormone.

Those headlights, rims, big fenders, colossal hood, double bubble roof and lines are very pure for a modern car. So it is a reminder of the Mk. IV modernised.

Despite its beauty, the new Toyota Supra design is truculent (thanks to Toyota Gazoo Racing) with the archuous rear wing, front splitter and bumper and other aerodynamic elements. Combined with low guard clearance, 19″ rims and big exhaust pipes, it is impossible to drive it in town without giving some torticles to pedestrians. Because… it’s a Supra. People don’t spill their ice cream by seeing a BMW Z4.

As you may have noticed, the only exterior differences between the 2-litre and 3-litre are the body paints and the exhaust pipes’ size. Otherwise, both cars look similar.

The interior, or the turning point

Inside, there’s no need to debate, as almost every button, ventilator and multimedia system is from BMW, but who cares? Seats are comfortable and provide good keeping. The two-seater Toyota Supra, slanting A-pillards, feels like being in a small cocoon, just like a cockpit. It reminds us of the inside of an Aston Martin, with a very deep dashboard. And boy, it’s enjoyable.

Why two Toyota Supra?

Toyota decided to put on public roads two engines: the B58 and B48. Both engines are from BMW, yet very different. On the one hand, the B48 is a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a power output of 258 hp and 350 Nm of torque (EU Spec). On the other hand, the B58 is a 3.0-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder engine, delivering 340hp and 500 Nm. Way more powerful, you don’t say.

Driving the Toyota Supra

Before tackling both cars, they have many things in common, excluding aesthetics, of course. Contrary to the BMW Z4, the Toyota Supra is more comfortable to drive, making it a better Grand Tourer than the Bavarian. Surprisingly, this high-levelled comfort (for a sports car) doesn’t demean handling, which is also better than the BMW. Electronically controlled suspension and the stiffer power steering make the job and perfectly round off the chassis. Hard cornering is more accessible and way more predictable than a BMW, a thoroughbred that is less accessible for some drivers. Don’t get it wrong, though: the Supra is way above the Z4 in terms of sportiveness.

Regrettably, brakes tend to fade away in sporty driving and the front axle is way too alive. The Toyota Supra is a bit hard to understand upon attacking corners, both in braking zones and cornering. However, it can easily be caught up because of its predictiveness and accuracy. Like every car, it’s understeering. Just turn it to oversteer and a good drift is undemanding, even with driving assists off. The chassis, suspensions and tyres’ setup is so on point that it’s non-viable to put the Supra at fault.

Another incredible piece of technology: the gearbox. What a job did ZF do! Gear ratios are on point for both Grand Touring and sporty driving. However, something is surprising: at 30 kph (18 mph), the 5th gear is selected, thanks to those torquey engines. Still, selecting the Sport mode completely changes the gearbox mapping. Gear shifting is almost instant, soaking up jerk cut and building a colossal smile whatever the engine.

Yet, there are some distinctions between those Toyota Supra.

Toyota Supra GR 2.0 Fuji Speedway Edition

A 4-cylinder engine in a Toyota Supra isn’t pleasing to hear, forcing me to admit it. Yet, it sounds interesting to approach the Supra this way for the first contact. You don’t ride a horse before a poney, right?

How wrong can this sentence possibly be? How could we be this wrong? The 2-litre Supra is brilliant and joyful to drive. It feels light and so alive! Unlike the concurrence turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, this one has some personality, rooted by torque and turbo lag. The power output is more than enough for daily driving and even for the weekend. Numbers confirm our analysis: 258hp for 1’500kg is sufficient to have some fun, right?

You’re probably wondering why Toyota suggests a 4 cylinder engine, as everyone dreams of the 6 headed beasts? Historically speaking, every Toyota Supra was also sold in a “lower” spec, so why not? It’s 10’000€ cheaper (20%) and this engine is more than capable. We know some tuners that can get 300hp and 450 Nm of torque! BMW, you guys are geniuses. And Toyota, too, for choosing this engine!

Don’t be mistaken about the 2.0 Supra, because it’s kind of a wild animal, set up to please many people.

Toyota Supra 3.0

Getting inside the 3.0 litre isn’t intimidating, as there’s no key difference to the 2.0. Well, before pushing the Start button, of course. The B58 roars up, waking up every form of life around and here we are, finally sitting in THE Supra. We would be lying to tell there’s no difference driving it: the 340hp and 500Nm engine, combined with the ZF8 gearbox, is miles away from the 2.0. It’s a rocket. I have to admit, my daily is fitted with a B58, but with a manual gearbox and bloody hell, the ZF8 is a gamechanger. It feels like being in the body of OBJ, never stopping. Merged with the engine noise, it’s simply bright.

The front axle feels lazier than the 2.0 (due to the engine weight), making the steering stiffer and roll less important. That is still a good point because it is how the chassis was set up for and the difference is easily perceivable through the aliveness of the 2.0-litre. In terms of handling, the 3.0 is more accurate, undoubtabely. However, it is less confortable for a daily use.

Should you buy a Toyota Supra?

The Toyota Supra has a significant market position, as it is a competent car in every aspect and even a talented one. However, there’s a big issue: they have missed the comeback, as the new Supra feels like it’s doesn’t know who it is. Sure, it is better than a BMW in every aspect, but I think it has no DNA, unlike the Alpine, the M2 or an Exige. The Supra could be yours for those who want a good, beautiful and reliable car, and you won’t be disappointed. If you can, go for the 3.0. For those of you (just like us) geeks/nerds, buy an A80 or an Alpine.


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