This year marks the return of one of Toyota’s most sought-after vehicles—the Supra. We last saw the flagship sports coupe on the dealer lots here in the US in 1998, powered by the holy prophet of propulsion, the 2JZ-GTE. The Supra took some time off and traveled Europe for a bit, but now it’s back, and one has found a new home here at the Mishimoto R&D facility.
Is That a SUPRA?!
Yes. Well, sort of. On paper it’s exactly the formula for the next Supra, a big 6-cylinder with a turbo hanging off the side and sending a healthy amount of power to the rear wheels. However, the cloud hanging over the Supra’s revival is the fact that it’s mostly a BMW Z4 in a different outfit. Which begs the question, what’s wrong with that? How could anyone be upset about merging the titanic force that is Toyota with the masters of the inline-six engine? Sure, this generation of the Supra might be lacking the quintessential J’s and Z’s that put the last generation on the map, but BMW’s B58 platform fills those shoes with ease. Plus, just look at it:
The tech-packed 3.0 liter and dual-vein turbo tag team utilizes those 335 horses and 369 ft./lb. of torque to shove you back in the driver’s seat with German efficiency at the helm. While sad for those of us who long for the third pedal, the quick-thinking ZF 8HP automatic transmission is so sharp and convincing that it’s able to convert even the staunchest of manual supporters. When coupled with BMW’s engine, the ZF helps the Supra rocket to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and see the end of a quarter mile in just over 12.
How is It?
It all sounds great on paper, but how is it to drive? Short answer: It’s a blast. Without the burden of practicality getting in the way, the Supra is a featherweight holding its own in the larger classes. Sliding into the driver’s seat is more like lowering yourself into a fighter jet’s cockpit. The minimalist gauges coupled with the blanket of carbon fiber and heads up display had me worried about accidentally firing heat seeking missiles. Little did I know that the Supra IS the actual missile.
In comfort mode, it’s tame, comfortable, and quiet (provided you’re driving with the windows up) with enough power to still give you whiplash from a pump of the accelerator. Otherwise, it’s a cushy left-lane cruiser with all the necessary creature comforts. There’s a lot of BMW after all, so balance is a prominent theme.
One stroke of the sport button puts the Supra into a tizzy. The throttle is much more responsive, the steering firms up for a better connection with the road, and the ZF both rockets through the gears and hangs in higher RPMs. The cherry on top is the “full AK-47 attack mode” (as our engineer put it) exhaust setting. Complete with all the crackles and bangs straight from the factory, it adds a little zest to every downshift.
The downsides? Not much really. Other than the typical two-seater sacrifices, like not being able to fit a large dog or perfecting the graceful entrance and exit roll, it’s hard to find negatives. The Infotainment screen seems like an afterthought, just stuck to the dash, and with a squirrelly rear end, there is a slight learning curve when it comes to the, well, curves.
What’s in Store?
The A90 is already a more than solid platform, but there’s still plenty of potential to expand on. We here at Mishimoto want to make sure that these cars are able to live up to that potential. With that said, we’re already started on evaluating different systems on the Supra to determine where and what can be improved. For starters, we’re examining the B58’s PCV system to help cut down on carbon buildup with a catch can kit, and we’re digging into the air-to-water and engine cooling systems to beat the heat. Make sure you stay tuned for more info as we begin peeling back the layers of our Supra.
Thanks for Reading!