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Detroit show: Toyota fine-tunes Supra in Australia

All-new Toyota Supra gets put through paces on Aussie roads ahead of Q3 2019 arrival

Toyota logo19 Dec 2018

TOYOTA’S all-new Supra sportscar is in its final stages of testing ahead of an Australian debut in the third quarter of 2019, with the reborn coupe hitting local roads to fine-tune suspension tuning and dynamics.
 
The Supra has been brought Down Under to see how its suspension and ride quality fare on Australia’s poor-quality road surfaces, with a five-day evaluation program supported by Toyota Australia’s vehicle engineering and development (VED) group.
 
Specifically, the Supra is being tested in Australia for overall performance and driveability, ride, handling, stability, brakes, seat comfort and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) insulation on rough road surfaces.
 
According to Toyota, Australian road surfaces replicate approximately 80 per cent of the world’s roads.
 
The Japanese car-maker’s engineers have taken the new sportscar to areas where they feel owners will enjoy driving the Supra, such as twisting mountain passes, sweeping country roads and the iconic Great Ocean Road in Victoria’s south west.
 
Toyota Australia VED group leader Paul Diamandis said the locations were chosen based on data from prospective Supra buyers.
 
“We’ve taken the Supra prototype across a variety of conditions including popular touring destinations because almost half the people we expect to buy a Supra list their number one hobby as holidays and travel,” he said.
 
When it does arrive locally, the Supra will not be offered with an Australia-specific suspension tune, but will instead have the same set-up as in other global markets. Toyota has confirmed the Supra will feature 50:50 front/rear weight distribution.
 
Initially, the Supra will be offered exclusively with a BMW-sourced 3.0-litre turbo-petrol inline six-cylinder producing “more than” 220kW and 450Nm, and a coupe body style.
 
While Toyota has not confirmed other engines or a convertible/targa roof, Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada told GoAuto that Toyota will update the vehicle every year and will evaluate other powertrain options during the updates. He added that the update program for next year has already begun.
 
Mr Tada said that maintaining body control on rough roads would be important for the success of the Supra, and testing in Australia allows Toyota to do that.
 
“We know your drivers tend to favour strong levels of body control and steering feel, particularly for your undulating road surfaces,” he said.
 
“It’s vital the driver feels confident during rough-road cornering and that the car is very stable under braking. Speedo accuracy is also very important.
 
“Working on aspects of handling and other details here in Australia allows us to make refinements that will result in a better car right up until production starts in the first part of next year.”
 
Mr Tada said Toyota was using Posche’s 718 Cayman as a benchmark for the Supra given its relatively small size, with the Supra sporting a shorter wheelbase than the 86 coupe.
 
When the Supra lands in Australia in the third quarter of 2019, it will be the first of many production models developed by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing (GR) performance division to be offered Down Under.
 
The Supra is set for a reveal at the Detroit motor show next month, which will reveal styling and mechanical details in full.

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