MHH International First Look: The Toyota GR Supra
It’s great that some manufacturers can still find the space to make cars like this, against the tide of ubiquitous sports utility vehicles. Like a shark in a sea of minnows, this fabulous new low-slung two-seater has been conceived as a sports car in its purest form, with no compromise that, say the company, would diminish the pleasure of the driving experience.
Thankfully, the designers have adhered to the classic form of a front-mounted, straight-six engine (so rare these days) driving the rear wheels, building on the heritage of Toyota’s past Supra generations and original 2000GT sports car. Those amongst you who love to drive can look forward to an exhilarating blend of power, agility and precision handling, achieved thanks to the car’s combination of a short wheelbase and wide track, light weight, low centre of gravity and highly rigid body.
Under the hood is a 3.0L six-pot engine that benefits from a twin-scroll turbocharger and produces 335bhp and 500Nm of torque. Coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, it is characterised by smooth and powerful acceleration (we learn, since there is a long queue to get behind the wheel right now), with large amounts of torque available across the full spectrum of engine speeds.
Pure Sports Car Design
Even at first glance, it’s clear to see how Toyota’s sports car heritage is referenced in the design of the new GR Supra. For those who can remember the legend, the influence of the 2000GT of old in particular is evident in the long bonnet, compact body and double-bubble roof, while the distinctive look of the fourth generation Supra is captured in both the front and rear styling: Note in particular the muscular rear wings and the arc of the integrated spoiler.
The design, we are told, is meant to achieve both optimum drag and lift characteristics, and an ideal front/rear weight balance. For example, the double-bubble roof is not simply a heritage-inspired styling feature, it is effective in reducing drag by reducing the car’s frontal area, without sacrificing headroom in the cabin. On European models the GR Supra will be fitted as standard with lightweight but highly rigid 19-inch forged alloy wheels with alternating black and polished-finish slim spokes.
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 example to accommodate a golf bag.
Putting the driver at the centre of the action, the interior neatly combines traditional GT elements with ultra-modern functionality. Designed, they say, to help the driver focus entirely on the business of driving, it is directly influenced by the lay-out found in single-seater race cars. The low, slim horizontal dashboard maximises the forward view through the windscreen, helping the driver place the car with precision in high-speed driving, while the principal controls are tightly grouped for quick and easy operation. The instrument panel, centre console and door trim combine in a seamless design.
The seats have a racing-influenced design that ensures comfort at all times and excellent support, in particular if the car is being used on-track. Body-holding side bolsters are featured on the cushion and the high back, and there is an integrated head restraint.
There’s a head-up display, dials and paddle shifts all of which sit directly in front of the driver, with additional switches located on the three-spoke steering wheel. The 8.8-inch high-definition driver’s instrument display is clearly visible through the steering wheel, with the 3D-effect tachometer and shift indicator positioned in the centre; a digital speed read-out is to the left and infotainment and navigation information is to the right.
The only downside to this is that rumour has it we will have to say goodbye to the Toyota GT86 (and by association the Subaru BRZ) but these are plentiful in the used car market so don’t despair. Both models offer a great driving experience. For those with deeper pockets, the GR Supra will be available this Summer.
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