We attended one of the most anticipated launches this year last week, namely, the Toyota GR Supra which is the fifth generation of Toyota’s legendary sports car, and the first global GR model from Toyota Gazoo Racing.
The new Toyota GR Supra has been conceived as a sports car in its purest form, with no compromise that might diminish the pleasure of the driving experience. Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada has adhered to the classic form of a front-mounted, straight-six engine driving the rear wheels, building on the heritage of Toyota’s past Supra generations and original 2000GT sports car.
Driving enthusiasts can expect an exhilarating blend of power, agility and precision handling, delivered by the car’s combination of a short wheelbase and wide track, low centre of gravity as well as a lightweight and highly rigid body. We as media, can attest to this, having driven the GR Supra over two days in the Eastern Cape, on wide open roads, with a fair test of cornering and straight roads, as well as doing some timed gymkhana and track driving, albeit, with an instructor present in the car.
Toyota Gazoo Racing was instrumental in honing the new sports car’s performance, working extensively on the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife and surrounding roads in Germany to achieve the most agile, stable and rewarding handling possible. Further extensive testing was carried out on roads around the world.
To be certain that the car delivered on its promise, Toyota President Akio Toyoda put it to the test at the Nürburgring in his role as a And while it will certainly leave some die hard fans frothing at the mouth, the JV in my opinion, works very well indeed. Lets start with the exterior styling. The GR Supra looks great, being a true sports car with two seats, it has a long nose that s perfectly sculpted with the right curves and vents to be efficient at speed and also for the after-market.
The influence of the landmark 2000GT is particularly evidenced 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 – notably in the muscular rear wings and the arc of the integrated spoiler.
The resemblance is more than skin-deep, though, as the Toyota GR Supra has the same classic sports car format of a powerful, front-mounted six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive as its celebrated predecessors. The design was optimal for achieving both the best drag and lift characteristics and an ideal front/rear weight balance. For example, the double-bubble roof is not simply a heritage-inspired feature, it is effective in reducing drag by reducing the car’s frontal area, without sacrificing headroom in the cabin. Driving through the interior roads in the Eastern Cape, over knighting in Grahamstown, the GR Supra got many admiring looks. The Toyota GR Supra’s evocative styling is shown to its best effect with a choice of eight different paintwork colours, including Prominent Red, Striking Yellow, Luminous Black and Grand Blue Metallic alongside White, Prime Silver Ice Grey Metallic.
In the Cabin.
Into the snug cabin, and this is where the familiar BMW buttons make an appearance. It is a little strange seeing this look in a Toyota, but the look isn’t bad so it works. The line of the cockpit flows down into soft, supportive knee pads in the door trim and on the side of the centre console, their shape defined with the benefit of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s circuit racing experience.
The head-up display, meters and paddle shifts all sit directly in front of the driver, with additional switches located on the three-spoke steering wheel. The wheel itself is contoured for excellent grip and is wrapped in leather. 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 to the left; and infotainment and navigation information to the right. Knee pads are provided for the passenger as well.
The boot space is large enough for two people’s luggage and includes a side stowage net and floor-mounted hooks. The new Toyota GR Supra’s 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.
So into the reason that this Supra is so good. The performance heart of the new Toyota GR Supra is its 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, producing 250kW and 500Nm of torque. It is fitted with a single twin-scroll turbocharger, high-precision direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve control that secure segment-leading torque performance from very low revs. The unit is powerful, well-balanced, smooth and free-revving, with an exhilarating acceleration feel and minimal vibration. The engine is very powerful, and acceleration is phenomenal. It goes great on a straight road, but really comes into it’s own on tight mountain pass corners, or on the track.
The engine is matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission that provides lightning-fast up and downshifts, with short ratios used for the lower gears. The driver can take control of gear changes using paddle shifts on the steering wheel; they can also select Normal or Sport driving modes to suit their preference and the conditions. Sport mode is further user customisable to allow drivers to tune the suspension, steering and transmission characteristics to their preference.
A Launch Control function enables powerful acceleration from standstill with maximum traction, helping the car move from rest to 100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds. An active differential has been specified for the local market, which operates both when accelerating and decelerating and can seamlessly adjust from zero to full, 100 per cent lock, with instant response. A sports braking system is fitted as standard with red aluminium Brembo calipers – opposed four-piston at the front and floating single-piston at the rear. The ventilated discs measure 348 x 36mm at the front and 345 x 24mm at the rear. The parking brake is electric. These helped tremendendously on the track and again, in those tight mountain corners.
Safety of course would be paramount, and theseare taken care of by a Pre-Collision System with a pedestrian detection function and the ability to recognise cyclists during daytime driving; Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with steering assist; Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Automatic High Beam (AHB); Adaptive Front-light System (AFS), which adjusts the headlight illumination in line with the car’s steering angle; and Road Sign Assist.
In addition, the car is also equipped with a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Rear-end Collision Alert, and Intelligent parking sensors with automatic braking to help prevent collisions with objects or vehicles approaching from either side when reversing out of a parking space or driveway.
MODEL LINE-UP & PRICING
Toyota GR Supra Track* – R 953 000
Toyota GR Supra (Prominent Red) – R 1 072 300
Toyota GR Supra (Metallic) – R 1 082 300
Toyota GR Supra (Matte Grey) – R 1 092 300
Probably one of the more exciting cars we have driven this year, it ticked most boxes for me. It looks good, interior feels good, drives great, and provides plenty of thrills with good handling to boot. This one will be a winner.