Toyota’s iconic Supra sports car is back – the fifth generation of this model just launched at the North American International Motor Show in Detroit.
Toyota Gazoo Racing, now also the performance consumer car division of Toyota Motors has introduced the Supra as its first global model, the first car to bear the GR logo, the Yaris, not available in my countries including South Africa.
The new Toyota GR Supra builds on the heritage of Toyota’s past Supra generations and the 2000GT sports car with its classic layout of a front-mounted, straight-six engine driving the rear wheels.
The 3,0-litre engine benefits from a twin-scroll turbo-charger and produces 250 kW and 500 Nm of torque and is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
To be certain the car delivered on its promise, Toyota president Akio Toyoda put it to the test at the Nürburgring in his role as a master driver before giving it the final green light.
“Even though Toyota had no plans to make a new Supra, just like a lot of other diehard Supra fans around the world, I secretly wanted to make it happen,” he says. “The new GR Supra was born through testing at Nürburgring, and I can honestly say that it is a car that is fun to drive and better than ever.”
On the local front, the new Toyota GR Supra will be launched mid-2019. All vehicles will be built in Graz, Austria.
The 2000GT’s influence is evident in the long bonnet, compact body and double-bubble roof, while the distinctive look of the fourth generation Supra is captured with its rear wings and the arc of the integrated spoiler.
Supra’s design theme was first previewed in the dramatic FT-1 concept car, styled by Toyota’s Calty studio in California and revealed at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Toyota Supra chief designer Nobuo Nakamura gave his team a simple brief around the concept of ‘Condensed Extreme’, ensuring they were free to express their vision of a pure and individual sports car in a truly original design.
Nakamura’s vision for an indisputably modern design that evoked the romance of classic sports car styling resulted in a car that approached the limits of what could be manufactured in higher volume, in particular the powerful curves of the rear.
In the finished design, the theme is evident in the relationship between the Toyota GR Supra’s large-diameter tyres, short wheelbase and overall length. The wheelbase is shorter than in the 86 coupé, and the tyres are larger.
The driver’s cockpit in the new Toyota GR Supra combines traditional GT elements with ultra-modern functionality. Designed to help the driver focus entirely on the business of driving, it is directly influenced by the layout found in single-seater race cars.
A low, slim, horizontal dashboard maximises the forward view through the windscreen, helping the driver place the car with precision in high-speed driving. The principal controls are tightly grouped for quick and easy operation. The instrument panel, centre console and door trim combine in a design that gives the cockpit a strong, unified feel.
The shape of the cockpit flows down into soft, supportive knee pads in the door trim and on the side of the centre console, their shape calculated with the benefit of Toyota GAZOO Racing’s circuit racing experience.
An asymmetric centre console marks a clear division between the enveloping driver’s cockpit and the more open passenger side of the Toyota GR Supra’s cabin.
The boot space is large enough for two people’s luggage for a weekend away and can be extended with a removable panel at the back of the cabin, creating enough space for a golf bag or all the personal kit needed for a track day.
The performance heart of the new Toyota GR Supra is its 3,0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, producing up to 250 kW and 500 Nm of torque. It is fitted with a twin-scroll turbo-charger, high-precision direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve control that secure segment-leading torque performance from very low revs.
A Launch Control function enables acceleration from standstill with maximum traction, helping the car move from rest to 100 km/h in just 4,3 seconds.
An active differential that operates both when accelerating and decelerating and can adjust from zero to full, 100% lock, with instant response – will be available on GR Supra.
High structural rigidity (greater even than the Lexus LFA supercar), a centre of gravity lower than the 86 coupé and ideal 50:50 front/rear weight distribution were fundamental to achieving the dynamic goals.
This required bold engineering decisions; for example, the desired weight balance was gained by moving the engine as far as possible rearwards, which introduced new production challenges.
The new suspension design comprises double-joint spring MacPherson struts at the front and a five-link system at the rear. The front suspension sub-frame and control arm mounting points have been made extremely rigid to yield precise cornering characteristics, while the use of aluminium for the control arms and swivel bearings reduces the car’s unsprung weight, giving superior agility and efficiency.
The Toyota GR Supra’s specification extends to high-performance features and systems to help the driver enjoy the car’s full dynamic potential. These include an active differential, adaptive variable suspension, and available 19-inch forged alloy wheels with a high-performance brake package. Supra is also equipped with an extensive list of advanced safety features.