What is it?
The fifth-generation Toyota Supra – the cult Japanese sports car that had twenty-four all-but unbroken years of continuous production history until disappearing from the scene in 2002 and staying away for almost as long as it had existed previously.
It gave us a lot to admire a couple of weeks ago when driven in Spain. But it also left us with a lingering whiff of unrealised potential; of a car that’s more exciting for what it might yet become than for what it already delivers. Time to find out if it’s a similar story on UK roads.
The car’s return is the result of two things: Toyota boss Akio Toyoda’s well-publicised effort to bring the fun factor back to the showrooms that oh-so-nearly bear his name, and a joint venture development project with BMW, signed not long after the launch of the GT86 sports car in 2012, which has twinned this car with the equally new ‘G29’-generation BMW Z4 roadster. In that respect, it might even have been the evident and, at the time, quite unlikely commitment that Toyota showed to sports car making with the GT86 that lead to the opportunity to show it all over again.
The new ‘A90’-generation Supra is the first to be built both under contract and outside of Japan, sharing a production line as well as a BMW-derived model platform with the Z4 and being assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria. It’s been developed for the global market by Toyota’s in-house motorsport division, Gazoo Racing – hence the ‘GR’ in the model name – and as such sets the template that all Toyota sports cars and performance derivatives will adopt.
Power for the car comes from a BMW-sourced 3.0-litre turbo straight six of 335bhp and 369lb ft. And since such an inline engine was considered by all alike a vital component of any Supra replacement, that it’s BMW with the most experience in making such engines, and that it’s also unlikely that even Toyota would have funded a sports car project like this all on its own – you might say the Supra that we’ve got is really the only one that the modern motor industry was ever likely to give us.