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Why Dismissing the New Toyota Supra Without Trying It Could Be a Mistake



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Toyota’s Supra has attained something of a cult status over the years, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 17 years after the last Supra ended production that Toyota would revive the nameplate. That the new car was developed in partnership with a German luxury car brand has split opinions, but we think it’s worth approaching with an open mind. Find out why in this independent and unbiased car review for Singapore motorists.

Good:

  • Ride & handling
  • Steering
  • Engine

Less good:

  • Tire noise
  • Tight cockpit


What is the Singapore Toyota Supra?

The GR Supra is a small, relatively light, two-seat, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe, developed in conjunction with BMW, and manufactured in Austria by Magna Steyr.

The German and Austrian connection has created some ructions with afficionados, particularly since the last Supra has developed something of a cult following. Whether that’s because of the Fast & Furious film franchise or the fact the car was very popular with tuners isn’t clear, but we think dismissing the new Supra without trying it is something of a mistake.

Under the bonnet there’s the choice of turbocharged 2.0-litre four, or 3.0-litre BMW six-cylinder engines, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

That should appease the critics in itself – there are very few front-engine, rear-drive sports coupes available in Singapore at all, let alone in the approximately $250,000 (excluding COE) price bracket.

There is an option of six-speed manual transmission, which may be slightly less quick than the automatic, but which we think gives the car an even nicer driver focus. Unfortunately, here it is only available on an indent basis, and you may have to wait 12 months before collecting the keys.

Styling-wise the Supra looks good, with some cues to the previous model, but with a modern feel. Our 3.0-litre test car came in white, which wouldn’t be our pick given the range of colours available, but it still looks good.

Safety features include eight airbags, traction control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, and dynamic cruise control.

How does the Singapore Toyota Supra drive?

We’ll get the BMW bits out of the way first: The test car’s 3.0-litre, turbocharged inline-six engine and eight-speed automatic transmission is one of the world’s best engine/gearbox pairings.

The Singapore 3.0-litre Supras produce 250kW (335hp) and 500Nm of torque. The test car had a slightly more powerful 285kW version of the same engine but with the same torque figure. While the test car dispatches the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.1 seconds, the local version manages the same in 4.3, which is fast in anyone’s books.

The transmission response is excellent, and while technically a dual-clutch automated gearbox may be faster, the difference is moot.

It’s a very sophisticated engine. There is some engine noise at higher revs, as you’d expect of a sports car, but it is never overwhelming like it is in a lot of other sports-oriented cars.

You can also go more gently on the throttle and get a more refined GT feel.

Toyota – or we should say Gazoo Racing, that’s the GR in the name – is responsible for the ride and handling, and we are happy about that. Both ride and handling are excellent.

The suspension works very well, as long as the road is smooth. On bumpy Malaysian back roads, the suspension, particularly at the rear, may be a bit too firm. The tyres do make some noise over coarse surfaces as well.

That said, the wide stance means the Supra has astonishing amounts of mechanical grip from its sports-focused tyres. With the right road conditions, you can commit to corners at surprising speeds, and it feels secure and tied to the tarmac.

It is balanced, and poised, and it steers beautifully too. It just makes you want to find the sorts of roads that allow you to exploit all this.

What’s the cabin like?

It is strictly a two-seat car, and the cabin is snug. The pedal box is narrow, your knees are up against the center console and doors.

There are clearly BMW parts in the cabin, including the climate controls, iDrive rotary control, steering wheel layout, seat controls, doorhandles and the infotainment system.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing – BMW is the best in the business at this stuff – but it does tend to make you think you’re in a BMW, rather than a Toyota.

Still, the interior is good. It’s tight but it does feel focused.

Conclusion

We think that if you want to dismiss the new Supra because it is not a pure Toyota, that’s up to you – don’t buy one.

You might be missing out though. It has a phenomenal engine, a great gearbox, an active limited-slip differential, huge amounts of grip from the chassis and the tyres, nice sharp steering…everything you want from a sports coupe. It even looks good.

That it is available for what is a reasonable price for a car with this specification is the icing on the Supra cake.

The video is produced by ChasingCars, partner of our sister company Budget Direct Australia. Some features or options in the car build may not be applicable to the Singapore market (including the availability of car parts). Note that all prices quoted in the video are in AUD. Remember to check with your local dealer for details.

Written by motoring journalist, Tony Tan

Hello, fellow car enthusiasts! We're not currently insuring the car model featured in this article. But, if you fancy a chat about your car insurance needs, leave your details here and one of our friendly Customer Care team members will be able to assist you! Happy driving!



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