The reincarnation of a legend
17 years after the last model, the Toyota Supra is back! In 20 years, it’s had time to evolve. The more so as this model has been developed by Gazoo Racing, the motorsport/performance brand of Toyota, with one clear objective: to compete with the European sports compacts
The first generation of the Supra was launched in 1978. But while it is well known to car enthusiasts today, this is more particularly thanks to its repeated appearances in the Fast & Furious movies and in video games in the 1990s. So it is in this continuity that the public has discovered this new Supra. In the Gran Turismo game, players got to drive a futuristic car, the Toyota FT-1 Vision GT, with striking curved lines.
From virtual to reality
There were fears that the name Supra might disappear for ever from circulation. This new generation has been a long time coming, but to judge from its profile, it was worth the wait! The long front nose, wavy roof, bulging haunches and ducktail rear spoiler give the Supra an unusual profile. Typically for a Japanese car, there are eight air inlets, most of them fake unfortunately. Under the bonnet (US hood) is a three-litre, six-cylinder 340 hp in-line engine. With its front engine and rear-wheel drive the Supra has a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution. Even so, this little sports car is skittish, and it requires a degree of finesse to stay in command of the vehicle. The driving sensation so characteristic of Japanese sports cars is much in evidence with this nimble and spritely car, not to forget the great driving position with widthways adjustability to keep you well ensconced in the bucket seats. The steering is remarkable, as is the engine with its great response thanks to undeniable torque. The suspension is hard, which can be very pleasant on dry roads. But it’s a different story in the rain. In changing conditions the Supra becomes rather delicate to drive. Due to its stiff suspension and big tyres – 255 front, 275 rear –, the car doesn’t handle very well in changing weather conditions.
A German impostor
The Supra draws looks, but in reality under the coachwork is a BMW Z4. It’s in the cockpit that you notice it most. For drivers used to the Bavarian brand, the interior of the Supra will seem familiar; a touch-screen with a navigation button, and all the ergonomics are straight from BMW. It’s a pity, because the Supra loses identity and character, the more so as the design is not the greatest. Compared with what’s currently on the market, the interior seems a little bit passé.
The Supra is a car with an atypical design, with precise steering and very good torque. Its throaty roar is a delight to hear. On the other hand its weight and its big tyres slightly spoil the fun. The rear tends to get away from you rather quickly, but in a weird way that’s kind of what makes the charm of Japanese cars.
Watch the test video (in French)