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Detroit show: Toyota’s Supra finally emerges

Australian supplies of hotly anticipated Toyota Supra limited to 300 units in first year

Toyota logo15 Jan 2019

AFTER years of hype, concepts, teasers and leaks, Toyota has this week officially pulled the covers off its long-awaited fifth-generation Gazoo Racing (GR) Supra sportscar at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. 
 
With a Down Under debut earmarked for later this year, Toyota Australia has only managed to secure a first-year allocation of 300 units, all of which will be built in Graz, Austria, alongside the Supra’s platform-sharing BMW Z4 sibling.
 
At launch, all Australian-spec Supras will be powered by a twin-scroll-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine – dubbed RZ in Japan – that produces 250kW and 500Nm of torque and sends drive to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.
 
However, the Supra will accelerate from zero to 100km/h in just 4.3 seconds – 0.3s quicker than its top-spec BMW Z4 M40i counterpart that shares the same engine configuration, output and driveline.
 
International markets will also have access to two lower grades, SZ-R and SZ, powered by turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines outputting 190kW/400Nm and 145kW/320Nm respectively. 
 
As a result, 0-100km/h times drop to 5.2s in the SZ-R and 6.5s in the SZ.
 
Toyota Australia has not ruled out the lower-tier Supras for local market consumption, but said its focus is on launching the six-cylinder version first.
 
Pricing is still an unknown for the reborn Supra, which could line up against the 253kW/371Nm Nissan 370Z Nismo (priced from $61,490 plus on-road costs), 224kW/441Nm Ford Mustang EcoBoost (from $49,990) or even the 177kW/350Nm Alfa Romeo 4C (from $89,000) and 221kW/400Nm Jaguar 2.0-litre F-Type (from $107,012).
 
For reference, in the US, the six-cylinder Supra will launch mid-2019 starting from $US49,990 ($A69,368). 
 
Underneath the bodywork, the Supra rides on double-joint spring MacPherson struts at the front and a five-link set-up in the rear, with adaptive dampers equipped to Australian-spec vehicles as standard.
 
Also fitted at no extra cost to the Aussie Supra will be an active differential that operates via a dedicated electronic control unit and monitors inputs such as steering angle, throttle application, engine speed and yaw rate for improved grip.
 
Measuring 4380mm long and 1865mm wide, the new Supra is both 140mm longer and 90mm wider than its 86 sportscar sibling.
 
Crucially however, the Supra’s 2470mm wheelbase is 100mm shorter than its stablemate, while its front and rear tracks are also wider at 1594mm and 1589mm in six-pot and SZ-R form.
 
Curiously, the track width in the base SZ grade is a wider 1609mm front and 1616mm rear.
 
All forms of the fifth-generation Supra will also be lower than the 86 with the former pegged at 1295mm tall (1290mm in four-cylinder versions) and the latter at 1320mm.
 
Targeted towards the enthusiast driver, the born-again Supra is said to have more structural rigidity than the Lexus LFA supercar and a lower centre of gravity than its 86 sportscar stablemate.
 
A perfect 50:50 front/rear weight balance also features, while 19-inch wheels, high-performance brakes and “an extensive list of advanced safety features” will also be on offer.
 
According to Toyota, the six-pot Supra will tip the scales at 1520kg, while the four-cylinder versions will weigh in at 1450kg (SZ-R) and 1410kg (SZ).
 
Two drive modes are available, Normal and Sport, with the latter tweaking engine sound and response, transmission tuning, and damper, steering and active differential settings.
 
Traction can also be toggled into a “track” setting for increased slip.
 
Despite the wind being knocked out of Toyota’s sails late last week as leaked images circulated the internet, the reborn Supra still manages to stun thanks to its striking, almost ‘un-Toyota-like’ bodywork.
 
Characterised by a long bonnet, compact cabin and short overhangs, the new-generation Supra not only pays homage to its forebears, but also Toyota’s landmark 2000GT of the late 1960s.
 
Up front sits a prominent grille flanked by large side air intakes and sleek headlights, while the blacked-out A-pillars blend with the glasshouse and black-coloured side mirror mouldings to give the windscreen a helmet visor-like look.
 
In profile, the Supra provides a glimpse of the front fender vents as well as the muscular rear haunches that flow into the bootlid spoiler and slender tail-lights.
 
Inside, it appears Toyota has lifted most of BMW’s in-cabin aesthetic, including a floating-style central infotainment screen, simplified switchgear, rotary control knob, indicator stalks and shifter.
 
However, the Supra does have its own Toyota-branded steering wheel, unique cupholder/armrest arrangement and sports seats designed for “excellent support” and “comfort at all times”, according to the Japanese car-maker.
 
Toyota is yet to detail storage specification for its new two-seater, but says “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”.
 
Toyota president Akio Toyoda said the brand’s new flagship sportscar came about due to customer demand.
 
“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 said.
 
“The new GR Supra was born through testing at Nurburgring, and I can honestly say that it is a car that is fun to drive and better than ever.”

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