What is it?
More than anything, this Toyota Supra is remarkable for the fact it exists. The imperative that it make money meant Toyota could not do the car by itself, but the joint venture with BMW that created it and the Z4 has been so fraught that Tetsuya Tada, its refreshingly honest chief engineer, told me "there were many times when I believed it simply would not happen".
So you might fear some unsatisfactory compromise between Toyota’s craving for a balls-to-the-wall Porsche Cayman rival and BMW’s no less strong but more commercially-motivated desire to build a broadly defined sporting GT. If so, you’re not alone: Toyota did too. Which is why once the hard points had been agreed – platform, powertrain, wheelbase and so on – the two projects became separate entities, to the extent that Tada-san has driven a Z4 just once and has no idea how his car differs from theirs in terms of settings for suspension, steering and electronically controlled differential. "If you’re going to compare the Supra to another car, compare it to the Cayman," he said. Some might call that fighting talk.
It’s an intriguing car even before you’ve fired up BMW’s 335bhp twin-scroll, single-turbo straight six. Remember too it’s the first car developed from scratch by Toyota’s in-house Gazoo Racing high performance division, hence its full title of Toyota GR Supra. I think it looks great, save some fussiness around the tail, but the hybrid BMW/Toyota interior takes acclimatisation. I don’t suppose too many Toyota customers will be outraged by the clear and effective iDrive interface and the bespoke instrument pack is informative and attractive. But the BMW switchgear looks odd in here, at least to me.
Of the two transmissions you might expect to find in a Cayman rival – a manual or double-clutch gearbox – there is no sign. Instead ZF’s ubiquitous 8HP 51 auto directs the power to the rear wheels via a multi-link rear axle. There are struts up front. The driving position is excellent and while the glass house is quite small, visibility all round is good enough by two-door coupé standards.