New car review: Toyota Supra GTS
Japanese sports car speaks with a distinctly German accent .
Toyota has enjoyed great success with the fun-to-drive 86 sports coupe, a joint development with Subaru, which sells its version as the BRZ.
The success of that venture appears to have encouraged the Japanese giant to investigate a further collaboration, this time with German prestige brand BMW, resulting in the return of the revered Supra badge after a 17-year hiatus.
No doubt the business case for the low-volume GR Supra sports car, and BMW’s version the Z4, was contingent on that co-development.
Unlike the Z4, which is sold exclusively as a roadster, the Supra with Toyota’s own styling is available only as a coupe, with both grades utilising the same BMW 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo inline six-cylinder petrol engine.
You need to step up to the $127,900 Z4 M40i to access this sweet-spinning engine in the Bavarian brand’s range, with lesser Z4 models making do with a still impressive 2.0-litre turbo four-pot.
Entry to the Supra family is the GT model which lists at exactly $10k cheaper than the GTS tested here.
For the extra coin the latter’s standard equipment includes leather accented and heated power sports seats, individual climate control, 8.8-inch multi-information display, carbon-fibre-look trim, keyless entry/start, satnav, 12-speaker premium JBL audio, and wireless phone charging.
Standard safety features include, AEB with pedestrian/cyclist detection, active cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, front/rear park sensors, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, seven airbags, and a rear camera.
Also included in the GT’s comprehensive fitout are adaptive LED headlights, head-up display, DAB+ radio, sports pedals, sports brakes, 19-inch forged alloys with 35-series rubber, adaptive suspension, launch control, and an electronically-controlled limited slip differential.
With its sleek, sports car looks, the Supra GT is a real a head turner, drawing plenty of admiring glances when out on the road.
There are down sides to its styling, however, including awkward entry and exit to the cabin and occasional head knocks on the low-slung roof line.
The A-pillars are also quite thick, which creates blindspots when turning, while a small rear screen compromises visibility when reversing.
Much is forgiven, if not forgotten, once inside the snug cabin, however, with its terrific sports seats that feature adjustable bolsters and four-way lumbar support.
The interior is handsomely finished, with links to BMW evident in the switch gear and iDrive style infotainment controls. Boot space at 290 litres is better than expected for a sports car, and virtually on par with a Mazda3 hatch.
Any sports car worth its salt deserves a great engine, and the BMW-derived 250kW/500Nm turbocharged straight six is definitely that.
Refined, flexible and generous in its response, the powerfully responsive engine ensures the 1495kg Supra responds with alacrity.
The benchmark 0-100km/h sprint is dispatched swiftly in a claimed 4.3 seconds.
Switching from normal to sports mode has the lusty sweet-revving six giving even more generously, the transmission holding gears longer, providing downshifts under braking with accompanying throttle blips, firming up the dampers, and giving the steering an even sportier feel.
The eight-speed auto delivers ratio changes that are lightning quick and intuitive, with manual shifts via the paddles offering no discernible benefit under most driving situations. Toyota’s engineers have, naturally, put their own stamp on the powertrain and suspension tuning.
The rear-drive Supra provides precise steering and handling, retaining that impressive chassis balance and poise that is trademark BMW and comes from a near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
It responds obediently to throttle and steering inputs. Keeping everything reassuringly in check are the efficient sports brakes fitted to GTS models.
Road noise can be intrusive, but otherwise, the Supra puts big ticks in all the boxes that count for keen drivers.You can enjoy the Supra GT now, or wait until late 2020 when a slightly updated model with some extra kilowatts, revised suspension tune, and likely a higher price tag is due to be available.
ENGINE: 3.0-litre, turbo-petrol 6 cylinder
ANCAP CRASH RATING: Not rated.
TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 177
Ticks all the boxes for keen drivers, cheaper than a BMW Z4 M40i, attention grabbing.
No spare – inflator kit only, awkward cabin access, visibility issues, intrusive road noise, limited cabin oddments storage.