Pros - Rakish. Fast. Docile. Sharp handling. Supple ride. Well-equipped.
Cons - Low entry. Rather tight interior. Slightly touchy brakes. No spare tire.
Bottom Line - Generally outstanding and reasonably priced.
The long-awaited fifth generation _Toyota Supra has arrived after many years. It comes as a clever mix of-surprise!-Toyota and BMW Z4 components.
What initially grabs most is the swoopy styling with the very low (50.0-inch high) car's long hood, short overhang, sweeping rear end, double bubble roof for extra headroom, cocktail spoiler and oversized dual exhaust outlets. My GR Supra 3.0 Premium model test car's Renaissance Red paint dramatically brought out its lines. Most body vents are phony but look good.
Rear visibility of this rear-drive two-door hatchback initially may seem poor, but a fairly large window in the rear hatch and large outside mirrors provide pretty good visibility. The nicely shaped 10.2 cubic foot storage area under the heavy hatch, opened via smooth struts, is decent for a 97.2-inch wheelbase car that's 172.5 inches long. The Supra's fairly wide width of 73 inches helps cargo room. So does the absence of a spare tire; you get just a tire inflation kit.
The cabin is snug, although headroom is good, thanks partly to the "double bubble" roof feature found on tiny early racing Fiats. There are supportive power bucket seats, an 8.8-inch color LCD gauge cluster, 10-speaker sound system and easily used controls, with lots of secondary small manual controls if you don't want to use the large touchscreen display mounted halfway atop the dashboard.
The digital speedometer is handy but a large blank space next to the large tachometer makes it seem like Toyota left out a gauge that should have occupied that space.
There's little cabin storage capacity, and sliding in calls for extra-good agility because the car is about as low as the super-low classic 1953 Austin-Healey sports car. At least, unlike that ground-scraping Healey, the Supra has good ground clearance, despite a low front end.
Powering the Supra is a 3-liter BMW twin-scroll turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine with 335 horsepower and 356 lb./ft. of torque. That may not seem like much because some high-performance street cars have 500 or more horsepower. But the Supra is hundreds of pounds lighter at 3,997 pounds and thus more than fast enough to pretty much keep up with the competition.
Other BMW Z4 (some modified) features include an efficient 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual control, front strut and rear multi-link suspension, dampers and steering rack. Sorry, no manual transmission.
A console switch lets a driver select "Normal" or "Sport" modes. Sport stiffens the steering, holds engine revs longer and is fine for, say, very aggressive driving. Use Sport mode and the exhaust snaps, crackles and pops, and one might suspect this mode will cause the ride to be overly firm. Not at all. The Supra has a supple ride in either Normal or Sport modes, although Normal mode is naturally the best suited for regular driving.
Cornering is flat in either mode, although I encountered a bit more sway than I expected while storming through curves, although the car quickly took a firm set and held on fine. However, it took some time to get used to the brakes because they were little touchy and bit early-although they were very effective.
Safety features include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Options include adaptive cruise control and rear cross-traffic alert.
The new Supra is very fast off the line. The 0-60 time officially is 4.1 seconds, but the car feels much faster. I punched it at 65 m.p.h. and was dong 100 in almost no time, and the engine urged me to just keep going. Power delivery is impressively linear and strong, but, after all, BMW's reputation with six-cylinder engines is legendary. The Supra is said to top out at approximately 150 m.p.h.
Why a BMW engine? Because it would cost Toyota a small fortune to develop its own six-cylinder. So what bother? Welcome to the new age of auto component sharing.
Premium fuel is needed to fill the 13.7-gallon tank, but fuel economy is pretty good at an estimated 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on highways.
There are three trim levels: $49.90 3.0, $53,990 3.0 Premium and $55,250 Launch Edition, which has drag-race feature I suppose is good for a try or two without feeling like a 16-year-old tire squealer. I never tried it. The bottom line price of my test GR Supra 3.0 Premium was $56,195. The car didn't come with a Monroney label that listed all the charges.
The new Supra, especially the Premium model, is actually a bargain, costing less than rivals but delivering lots of pizzaz and performance.