The Toyota Supra

The Toyota Supra

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The new 335bhp Toyota Supra has finally arrived in the UK. Co-developed with the new BMW Z4 it’s controversial, but can it live up to the legendary badge? Find out in our in-depth, on-road review. First Looks: Toyota: Chris Harris Drives: Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here. Make sure you’re subscribed to the official YouTube channel:

This is the new fifth generation
Toyota Supra or the Toyota Gazoo Racing Supra, to give it its full name
that nobody will ever use. It's the car we've been waiting for
ever since Toyota showed us the FT1 concept
of the Detroit Motor Show in 2014. And it's here at last on UK roads. I've got the key in my hand,
I've got a spring day to myself and as you can probably tell
I'm a little bit excited. Before we get to the driving bit though
some background. Whereas back in the 90s its predecessor
was an absurdly powerful thing, a match for the mid-engine Ferrari 348
of its day, the new car's output of 335 horsepower
has stayed roughly the same. That means the Supra is no longer
a supercar killer but a rival to less exotic but no less
talented stuff like the Porsche Cayman, BMW M2 and our Alpine A110. What hasn't changed
is the trusty Supra formula. So, turbocharged straight-6 engine
in the front, rear-wheel drive,
a proper sportscar chassis, and this gorgeous curvy bodywork
draped over the top. In performance terms then
this is the bigger brother to the GT86, but it's actually a shorter car
with a shorter wheelbase because the aim here is more aggression
and more agility. As a result, it's moved
to a two-seater layout but you do get a boot big enough
for your dog. Unlike its predecessors that were
designed, engineered and built in Japan and infused with that intangible
Japanese madness the new supra has been co-developed
with the BMW Z4, which is that car over here. Both of these have the same engine,
the same 8-speed automatic gearbox, the same platform, suspension, hardware,
large chunks of the interior they'll even be built on the same
production line in Austria. So, for those of you out there accusing
the poor Supra of being just a rebodied and retuned Z4, I'm looking at you Mr. Harris…
Yeah, yeah, you've got a point. The question is,
"Is that really a problem?" I'm afraid now is the time to pick a side.
My prediction is this. The diehard petrol heads and long time
Supra fans will be appalled that Toyota has accepted such enormous
chunks of BMW hardware for the return of a bad split
lies at the epicentre of Japanese performance car culture. On the flip side most will just shrug
their shoulders and thank their lucky stars that anyone
is prepared to build a car like this in this climate and just roll with it. After all, if you don't have your own
straight-6 engine who better to borrow one off
than BMW, right? Allow me point out the obvious. The Z4 and the Supra are different cars. This a soft-top roadster,
this a hardtop coupe. The BMW has a softer,
more middle-of-the-road appeal which is a nice way of saying,
a face only a mother could love. Whereas the Supra with its aggressive
front end and muscular haunches is clearly aimed more at the enthusiast. Now, maybe it's flashes of the granddaddy
itself, the 2000 GT, in that long bonnet, or bits of the old suit for the A80
in the front and rear end styling, or the utter insanity of that multi-tiered
rear end. Either way the BMW just doesn't
talk to me it, it doesn't mean anything to me. Whereas the Supra styling, well, it does. First things first and you might want to
brace yourself for this. There is quite a lot of BMW in here. The Infotainment screen,
the graphics on the Infotainment screen, the switchgear here,
the climate control system, the entire iDrive controller, the steering wheel right in front of you,
the key. Yeah, all BMW. Oh, Toyota has designed its own
rev counter right in front of you, so there is that, but here's the thing. We can get upset or we can be thankful because I'm telling you the quality
and the longevity of this cabin is a whole lot better than the plasticky
GT86. It's just, did Toyota have to be quite so
obvious about it? The engine then. It is a turbo 3-litre
straight-six, shared with the Z4 M40i, producing 369 pounds-feet of torque
and 335 horsepower between 5000
and six and a half thousand RPM, although there's not much reward
for going past 6000. The transmission is a familiar
8-speed ZF auto. UK cars have a limited slip differential
as standard and it weighs under 1500 kilos. Toyota claims 0 to 62 in 4.3 seconds
which is quicker than the M2 Competition, the Cayman GTS, and the Alpine A110,
so this is not a slow car. But there are a few things to mention. Toyota claims that it's tuned this engine
itself but it revs, it sounds, and it feels
exactly like a BMW. In fact, I bet if you blindfolded yourself
and drove this car, which I can't possibly recommend
by the way, you would think you were in a BMW. The gearbox too isn't perfect,
this 8-speed ZF Auto. A Porsche PDK, for example,
is a little bit snappier. But make no mistake, this is a powertrain
of distinction. It's smooth, it's punchy
it's sophisticated, in a way that a four-cylinder engine
just can't be. Listen to the way the engine note hardens
between five and a half and 6000 RPM. Did you hear that? Let's do it again. Oh, that is superb,
but it is strangely familiar. Look, in a world where 600 horsepower
super saloons are becoming the norm I love the way that you can use this car's
performance on roads like this. You can rev it out it's actually useable. I've even come up with a phrase for this:
This car is realistically rapid. In terms of handling it just feels
sure-footed, broad-shouldered stable on the road and plenty of other
clichés if I can think of them. Basically, this car strikes a really nice
balance between responsiveness and refinement. Toyota even says the bodyshell of this car
is stiffer than the Lexus LFA hypercar. So, it's not messing around. Basically, it will do big smoky third gear
drifts on track all day long, but there's a level of comfort here
that suggests this is a road car at heart. Unusually for electronics obsessed
modern cars, there were only two driving modes:
normal and sport. The latter sharpens the throttle map
and changes the shift pattern, adds steering weight, tweaks the diff,
firms up the dampers, and uncorks some extra noise
from the exhaust. The ESP has a middle track setting
or can be switched off completely if you're feeling a bit hanging. Now I know there are literally thousands
of tuners waiting in the wings to drop in there 2JZ engines
with a gazillion horsepower, and turn this into a tyre shredding
drift machine, but as it is on face value
this car really does hit a sweet spot of real-world performance. My heart is telling me to dislike it
for just being a BMW in drag, but my head is telling me
I quite like the costume The truth is all this unashamed
BMW part sharing is just a reality of the modern
profit driven car industry. If you can find a way to see past all that you'll find that Toyota has built
an extremely capable car with all the Supra touch points. Prices that start at, what,
just under 53 grand. Yeah, that's quite a lot of money
and the waiting list will be sizeable. But any manufacturer that can find a way
to build a small petrol-powered coupé in this climate has to be applauded,
right? Even one that's sold part of its
Japanese soul for a German one.

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