Toyota's new Supra comes out fighting on road and track
It's been 20 years since the Toyota Supra left American shores and Toyota fans like me have been waiting ever since for it to make its return.
Well, I'm happy to say the Supra is back, and this is it.
This is the production The 2020 Toyota Supra coming to dealerships soon, at a starting price of $50 thousand.
No it's not cheap an this isn't the basic, raw sports car that I think a lot of you were hoping for, but frankly that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Let's dive into the some of the details, and then we'll take it for a spin and I'll let you know if this was all worth the wait.
The new Supra is a front engine rear drive sports car.
And that very much fits in in general template to those Supras that came before.
However, were those were two plus twos, this new one is strictly a two seater.
It's actually a much smaller car, five whole inches shorter than the old model, yet two inches wider, a recipe that should make for sweeter ham.
Believe it or not it's lighter too.
Despite having a whopping eight airbags.
Okay we're talking about 30 400 pounds versus 35 hundred but still it's not too often that a new generation car actually goes.
Goes on a diet, and that is something worth celebrating.
Power comes from a 3 litre triple charged in-line fix just like before.
But where the last Supra made 321 hp this new motor does 335.
Okay maybe not a major leap forward, but this motor will also do 31 mpg on the highway.
Which is a big step up over the twenty two in the last year in super.
Yeah I know no one's buying a super for the fuel economy but considering it was emissions that ultimately killed the super off here in the US I thought that was worth pointing out all the numbers between the new motor and the old one may line up pretty well.
This is of course a completely new engine.
Which means it drives completely differently.
Those 90s turbo charged motors will you'd put your foot to the floor you'd count to three and then the fun would start in this new one.
Pretty much just put two foot to the floor and there's an immediate rush of talk.
Three hundred and sixty five pound feet to be exact that immediate response makes this car feel very quick.
Is very quick with zero to 60 time I would just 4.1 seconds.
But if there is some fly in the ointment if there's something that makes this feel a little bit less than perfect, it's the sound.
There's a digital augmentation that's been added to make this car sound a little bit This year and I'll be honest I don't really like it very much it makes it sound like a BMW.
Did I forget to mention that this car is basically a BMW.
Yes the Mach 5 super and the BMW C for sure more than a little bit of DNA though Toyota's badge engineering here isn't quite as straightforward as it was working with Subaru to create the BRC.
In the 86.
The Supra looks quite a bit different than the Z4, but beneath that skin, the engine, the chassis, suspension, electronics, it's all BMW and it's all assembled in Austria.
Even this interior feels very German, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
But it doesn't exactly feel like a Toyota in here.
Except for the steering wheel, which is both smaller and thinner than your average BMW unit.
There's also this gauge cluster which has this kind of unique 3D effect going on with the tachometer.
It's kinda silly, kinda fun.
I think a lot of Twitter super fans were worried when they learned that BMW would be building the next car, that it wouldn't be fun.
And I'm glad to say that this car is plenty fun.
Though far heavier than the GT86 and lacking that car's flat boxer engine, the new Supra actually has a lower center of gravity.
It also has a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and rides on adaptive suspension on all four corners.
Meaning, it can go from hard to soft at the touch of a button.
And every Super has a proper electronically actuated limited slip rear differential, helping to ensure that all 335 pointies find their way to the ground through both of the 275/ 35 19 inch rear tyres.
We're starting out here on the road because, of course, most Supra owners will be driving their cars on the road.
And it is, of course, a very nice road car.
The ride quality is actually quite nice and that's despite having giant 19-inch wheels on the front and on the back.
The steering response is light but it feels good out here on the twisty roads.
The transmission is, well, it's unobtrusive.
It's doing everything it needs to do.
It's smooth, and it's giving me the cruise I want when I want to.
So on the road overall, A plus.
But I know a lot of you are wondering, what is this thing like on the tracks?
So let's make that our next step.
[SOUND] All right, let's head out on the track and see how the Supra can handle some very difficult conditions.
We are at Summit Point.
This is the Shenandoah Circuit, which is perhaps the tightest and twistiest race track I have ever been on.
This place makes Tail of the Dragon look like a Relaxed Sunday drive.
Not only that it's pretty bumpy.
A lot of surface changes, a lot of elevation changes, blind corners, off camber stuff.
Let's just say this is a really good test for the Supra.
But I'm not sure this is exactly the perfect place to be showing off Of what the Supra can do.
It's so tight and twisty, and the Supra has got a little bit of a soft suspension to it, even here in sport mode.
The car has got a fair bit of roll, which means you need to be kinda patient as you're going through these tighter, twistier bits.
It's a really great place to drive the 86 around into it is also get some of those rolling around here too.
But for a car like the super, I think we need a little bit over the latest stretches legs.
That doesn't mean however that is doing a bad job.
You're far from it.
It's actually handling things really well.
All those surface imperfections and bumps The suspension is doing a really good job of coping with those short showing [SOUND] It is actually really nicely balanced.
The lower speed stuff it's tending toward understeer but that's easy enough to correct for if you're a little bit patient again.
And of course he got all that great talk.
Coming on a really quick and really early which makes this car a lot of fun.
To drive, now what about that transmission.
Yes it's an 8 speed automatic, but it is the CFA speed which is probably the best automatic on the market right now for this kind of application anyway.
I think the best thing that I can say about the automatic is that I'm not really thinking about it.
Yeah I've got paddles here so if I want to be shifting I can be shifting.
But honestly I'm just letting the car do its thing and it's doing a pretty good job.
There are a few cases in the lawsuit interstate state corners like this where maybe I wish I were a gear higher and a couple of cases where I've had actually slow down to get around another car.
And in that case, it's again been in a gear too high and it's had to downshift for me coming out of the corner, but otherwise, it's actually doing a really nice job of anticipating my needs of holding the right gear at the right time and giving me effectively what I want without my having to try and override it.
The few times I have tried to override it with the panels, it's Been a little bit reluctant at times downshift when I want to but ultimately, as is usually the case in a modern sports car with an automatic transmission, leave it alone and it does just fine.
Now for me a big concern whenever I get in a sports car and head out to the racetrack, it's whether I have enough headroom for a helmet and I gotta say, I'm surprised It's actually plenty of headroom in here.
I've got a little bit of gap between my helmet and the headliner.
And I wouldn't have expected them looking at the car but that's all thanks to this double bubble roof which may give me good headroom here.
But actually giving in the car with a helmet on is really tricky.
I've literally been in race cars with race cage.
Which is better easier to climb into than this thing I should do some really good yoga before I could climb in here without knocking my head against the door frame.
But once I'm in here and situated the seats comfortable it's giving me good support.
Got a nice little pad here in the center bolster to keep my knee from getting too raw and.
Pretty good place to do some laps.
So, how was the Supra as a track car?
Pretty solid, actually.
I am quite impressed, especially given how good this thing is.
When it comes to the grand touring side of the equation it's responsive it's fun.
This track is maybe a little too twisty to really show off what it can do.
But ultimately I think you can have a lot of fun on a race track and the good news is if you buy one of these cars.
Toyota wants you to take it to the racetrack.
They are going to give you a free membership to NASA, and a free throw up day.
I have not heard of the manufacturer doing that since the Civil DE Rex days last time.I remember it anyway, that's actually really encouraging that Toyota wants their owners to take these things to the track.
And frankly, you should>>but we can not overlook perhaps the biggest This floor of this new Supra, the one that everyone has opined about extensively since it made its debut earlier this year.
And that's the styling.
You of course can make up your own mind here, but if you want my opinion, I actually do like the shape of the Supra.
I like it quite a bit.
It's purposeful and aggressive and that Double Bubble roof not only provides great headroom.
But also just makes the car look shrink wrapped.
It looks so much better in person than it does on internet, but, and this is a big but, even I can't get over that nose.
It looks like Toyota was trying way too hard to make this thing look like a formula one car.
The sport that toilet has had no involvement in for the past decade.
And then there are the vets.
All these black plastic scoops and ducks in the front fenders, the rear fenders, the doors, all blocked off.
Half an hour completely non-functional.
That is disappointing to say the least.
So that is the new super maybe not the bonkers sports car you were hoping for but then the mark for wasn't really like that either.
Just because every tuner from here to O'Connor gutted the things and put big silly exhaust in the back.
Doesn't mean there were anything like that when they left the showroom floor and those same tuners will find plenty to do on the new super to it is already reaching out to them to make sure they have all the data they need to start filling.
And I can't wait to see what they come up with.
And what about that fifty thousand dollar price.
Well the last super when it was sold here in the US started at forty thousand dollars in 1998.
In today's money, that's way over 60 grand.
So the new super is lighter, cheaper, faster and saver.
In other words, what's not to like?