The new Toyota Supra feels suspiciously like a BMW Z4
Car enthusiasts love to sing the praises of sports cars.
We're almost fanatical about anything built according to the principles of light-weight, big power, and sleek design.
And yet, there is a sad irony in the fact that, relatively speaking, no one's actually buying sports We wax lyrical about the [UNKNOWN] but we all end up buying the Ford escape it is no wonder then that sports cars in their purest form are going out of fashion.
And yet despite the slow decline of the sports car there are those of us who which to keep the flame arrive.
Notably Toyota with this, the fifth generation Supra.
It's a car they gave up on many years ago, but have now resurrected.
But is it the dawn of a new era or another potentially futile role of the dice?
One that without commercial success might possibly be The true pure sports cars last hurrah.
The birth of the new Toyota Supra hasn't been a particularly straight forward one.
You see to minimize the costs, and mitigate the risk of failure Toyota had to forge a technical partnership with BMW.
One that serves as the basis of this the new Toyota gr supra gr is their racing division and the new BMW said for now Toyota will of course tell you that their interpretation is unique and special and from the outside it is this is a striking car to look at especially in this shade of lightning yellow It's all big haunches, fluid lines, and raw aggression.
But inside, it feels a lot less like a technical partnership and more like Toyota borrowed BMW's homework.
All the buttons and switches are recognizable as BMW items.
This Idrive selector knob is straight out of a Beamer, even the entertainment system is lifted straight from BMW.
Hell, the key, well that's a BMW item as well.
This car is about as Japanese as Frankfurt is.
There's also plenty of borrowing where the drive train is concerned.
Toyota has avoided developing its own engine and transmission Instead, they've borrowed an engine from you know who.
In this case is the tried and trusted B58.
The three leads are straight six that you'll find in the hot version of many of BMW cars.
There's nothing too wrong with that.
After all they've stuck to the super's roots by using a straight six to drive the rear wheels.
But there are a couple of very unavoidable elephants in the room here.
First of all, that engine isn't paired with any kind of manual gear box.
No, instead what we have is above standard H-speed ZF automatic.
Yeah, sacrilege, I know.
And this particular variant of engine Only makes 335 horse power, that's only around 10 horse power more than the old Twin Turbo Supras made 20 odd years ago.
And then there's a very important fact that the engine in the BMW Z4, this cars main rival or brother Well that makes around 50 horsepower more than the Supra.
If you're one of these people that are think we're being short changed with a car that hasn't really moved on in 20 years, and one that uses less powerful knock off hand me down components, well you might have a case.
On the road the Supra doesn't immediately reveal itself to TV this barnstorming sports car, it might look like it's going to rip your face off.
But it's actually quite easy to live with.
There's not an awful lot of road noise or wind noise.
The seats are comfortable and supportive and it uses an adaptive suspension system which in the normal mode.
It's really compliant.
It's actually doing a really good job of ironing out any imperfections in the road.
I haven't done a long distance drive in this car yet but I absolutely wouldn't hesitate to do one.
It's that compliance.
I don't know whether this is a compliment or a slander But, in many ways, the Super is, well, it's very BMWish.
And you might be wondering what it is Toyota has brought to the party.
It's important to remember, however, that Toyota has a long history of producing iconic sports cars.
Many of which are more than just the sum of their parts.
Their back catalogue is less about what parts they have used and more about how these parts come together to make a whole.
How they have honed these parts, and looking past these obvious shared components how the end product makes you feel.
And for me, when I try the Supra.
I feel alive.
There's a level of fun that belies the Supra's raw numbers.
It might be down on power in comparison to the BMW Zed 4, but it actually has a quicker nought to 60 time.
It does it in 4.3 seconds, which is a tenth less.
It also has the same amount of torque, 500 newtonmeters, so every time you mash the pedal, it's an absolute event.
The Supra's handling has to be sensational if it's to be considered anything other than an unmitigated disaster, and the Supra lives up to expectations here.
Toyota claims the car's wheel base and track have a so called golden ratio of 1.55 to 1.
In other words the proportions between the width and the length are in their opinion perfect.
Perfect is a strong word, but you've gotta say they've got a strong claim for that.
People often talk about cars having a go cart like feel This doesn't.
This thing feels more like a fighter jet.It feels super precise,the balance on this car is just outstanding [SOUND]
If the BMW Z4 is a bit of a blunt instrument, this thing is very much a scalpel.
The chassis feels incredibly taut and uncompromised.
They say the body shell which is steel and aluminum is actually stuffer than the carbon shell in the LFA and that doesn't sound like an exaggeration in the slightest, there is also a feeling of lightness and agility, weirdly the new Supra isn't much more powerful than the old model, but it is actually lighter, This is almost unheard of in a world where most modern cars waste so much more than the models they replace.
It's not all perfect of course.
The brakes let this car down slightly.
They are strong enough, they get the job done.
But after a few laps of pounding around here at Jarama Circuit In Madrid.
I've noticed they have started to fade ever so slightly.
If you're thinking of tracking this thing, a break up grade might be in order.
The ZF automatic box is another disappointment.
Most of the time, it will give you exactly the gear you need.
But it is extremely clinical and does leave you feeling quite detached from the action.
When the rest of the package is this good, a manual box really would have been the icing on the cake.
Another slight concern for me is that the exhaust note, I mean, it could be better, couldn't it?
It sounds fantastic in the open top Z4, but here, With the roof is ever so slightly muted.
But again, these are things you can fix in the aftermarket.
And that's what the Supers well known for.
Toyota hasn't given much of a damn.
And about sports cars in recent times.
They've been so focused on making hybrids, profits, and improving production methods, that creating cars for fun has taken something of a backseat.
They've been just as responsible for killing the sports car as any of us.
But with the new Supra, they've made a spectacular return to form.
Questions still remain, of course.
I find myself asking why you spend fifty thousand pounds on a supra when you could have a more powerful BMW Z4 or a more practical more aggressive empty competition.
Or if you really want a driver's car, why you wouldn't just buy a car with a manual box?
But these are rational questions.
And this just isn't a rational car.
If it were rational, it probably wouldn't even exist, and that's exactly why we need to celebrate it.
The Supra isn't perfect, but then again, it never was, even in it's prime.
For me, it was always a pretty, but slightly flawed machine that really came into it's own once modified to the owner's specific taste.
And maybe, especially in light of all the BMW influence, that's also the case here.
The bottom line is that this is a very good sports car.
The kind of sports car that should remind us that as a community, we need to start putting our money where our mouths are.
Those of us that can afford to, of course.
If we don't, then the end result is obvious.
We might no longer get to enjoy them.
for two decades we've had to live in a world where a new Supra and so many cars like it don't exist.
Now it's back I for one thing, we should celebrate this return.
After all, who wants to live in a world where cars like this are yesterday's news?
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