Voilà. We managed to test the major topic, the one almost every car enthusiast is curious 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 to actually make it truth. Sure, the A60 Toyota Celica (Carina) Supra is a great car but 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 to many like 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. Considering the population of its believers, the A80 was above. Nowadays, it is still Supra.

The Toyota Supra pre-sequel

The Toyota Supra Mk.V (J29/DB) has in fact 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 rockstar is very hard to let slip in people’s mind, as a whole generation grew up with this car by its side. The Mark V is in fact co-developped with BMW but be careful: the project wasn’t planned to be the successor of the A80. Toyota had other plans for this cooperation and didn’t really 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. If you were hanging around the Nürburgring between 2017 and 2019, you could see both camouflaged cars driving around together. 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 just has a new one: the BMW B58 engine.

“What about the gearbox? BMW, right?” Not really. The gearbox in fact 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 partmaker, that also took part in Porsche PDK transmission development, so they know what they’re doing.

The new Toyota Supra is theorically the best mixture out of the German rigor, sportiveness, Japanese reliability and passion. Before driving it, we had to pull away all those predujices and… drive 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 very 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 blents: 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. After several look arounds, a sense of calm part in my body, surely after the cortisol secretion. There is kind of a harmony in this design, as every one of those numerous element perfectly fit with 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, huge hood, double bubble roof and lines are very pure for a modern car. In fact, it is kind of a reminder of the Mk. IV, modernised obviously.

Despite its beauty, the new Toyota Supra design is tuculent (thanks 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 its icecream 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 torning point

Inside, there’s no need to debate, as almost every button, ventilator and multimedia system is from BMW, but who cares really? Seats are confortable and provide a good keeping. The Toyota Supra being a two seater, with slanting A-pillards, it feels like being in a small cocoon, just as a cockpit. In fact, it kind of reminds us 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 one hand, the B48 is a 2.0 litre turbocharged 4-cylindre engine that has 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-cylindre 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. In contrary to the BMW Z4, the Toyota Supra is more confortable to drive, making it a better Grand Tourer than the Bavarian. Suprisingly, this high-leveled confort (for a sports car) doesn’t demean handling, which is also better than the BMW. Electronically controlled suspension and the stiffer power steering clearly make the job and perfectly round off the chassis. Hard cornering is easier 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 catched up because of its predictiveness and accuracy. Like everycar, it’s understeery. 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 make! Gear ratios are on point for both Grand Touring and sporty driving. There is still something that is surpsrising: 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 huge smile whatever the engine.

Yet, there are some distinctions between those Toyota Supra.

Toyota Supra GR 2.0 Fuji Speedway Edition

A 4-cylindre engine in a Toyota Supra isn’t pleasing to hear, forcing to admit it. Yet, it sounds interesting to approach the Supra this way, for a 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-cylindre engines, this one has some personnality, rooted by torque and turbolag. The power output is more than enough for daily driving and even for the week-end. Numbers confirm our analysis: 258hp for 1’500kg is sufficient to have some fun, right?

You’re probably wondering why Toyota suggests a 4 cylindre engine, as everyone dreams of the 6 headed beast? 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 at all 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 great market position, as it is a very capable 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 personally think it has no DNA, unlike the Alpine, the M2 or an Exige. For those of you who really want a good, beautiful and reliable car, the Supra could be yours 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.

Toyota Supra gallery