Toyota's Supra is Mad and Bad But Better Than a BMW Z4

By Rob Clymo on at

Toyota’s wild and wonderful Supra is the fifth generation of this much-loved sports car and it’s also one of the maddest incarnations the Japanese carmaker has produced. However, while it’s definitely a lot more interesting to look at than it’s direct counterpart, the BMW Z4, there’s no escaping the fact that it does actually feature rather a lot of BMW in it.

Now, lots of people have spent plenty of time moaning and groaning about how the Supra has been tainted due to the fact that it is, in part, a BMW. Anoraks get a bit funny like that. But, if you like sports cars then, to be honest, instead of moaning it’s probably better to spend your time celebrating the fact that Toyota and BMW are still producing cars like this at all.

The Supra certainly isn’t as sober and sensible as the BMW Z4 and that’s definitely a good thing. If you’ve got a thing for the madcap aspect of Japan then it’ll hit the spot perfectly. Lots of things in Japan are a little bit ‘out there’, and the Supra is one of those things. It’s baaaad, which makes it good. Gizmodo got to try one recently and it’s everything the old models used to be but, save for the huge wing on the 90s fourth edition, it’s got much more head-turning potential too.

Tech comes in spades, especially within the snug confines of the low-slung interior. Body-hugging leather seats in our GR Pro model give you a good indication that the car is more than up for it. Fire up the Supra though and the 3-litre straight six, turbocharged engine confirms your suspicions. Meantime, once you’ve familiarised yourself with its capabilities, select Sport mode and you unleash an even throatier experience that turns you into Supraman for the day.

As we mentioned, while there’s lots of tempting power on tap, the interior is also home to a raft of top tech. Most of the action revolves around the central 8.8-inch multimedia control screen, which lets you drill down into a series of menus to configure your Supra just how you like it. We loved the head-up display, which can be adjusted to suit your height and seating position so you can keep closer tabs on your speed (handy) and general direction (even handier). It’s all displayed right there on the windscreen in front of you.

Actually, the graphics contained within the multimedia screen are pretty cool if you like silly stuff. Well, we say silly but being able to see your individual tyre pressures and temperatures, along with the amount of oil in your engine, all presented in a slick series of graphics is pretty practical too.

Sticking with the practical theme, the Toyota Supra Safety+ bundle makes sense if you’re less confident with the punchiness of the car. There’s a pre-collision system, lane departure alert with steering assist and road sign assist for the hopeless. Automatic highbeam was pretty smart, but adaptive cruise control was never used by us as we were having too much fun working that engine most of the time.

As you’d expect from a premium sports car the JBL 12-speaker audio system was ballsy, particularly thanks to the woofers behind the seats. Apple Car Play, Bluetooth, a USB port plus a wireless charging tray rounded out the cool kit pile very nicely indeed. That said, the ‘basic’ non-GR Pro model omits the head-up display, wireless charging and you get a mere 10 speaker sound system instead, so probably best to stump up for the premium edition in that case.

Needless to say, the Toyota Supra GR Pro goes like the clappers, with that turbo boost propelling you from 0 to 60mph in 4.3 seconds. The sound it makes while you're doing that is hugely impressive, especially if you're in the aforementioned Sport mode, which can be accessed via a big button in the middle of the carbon-fibre-looking centre console. Slowing down the Supra can happen in similarly swift fashion if you need it to thanks to enormous brake discs and show-off red calipers all round.

Even more impressive is the fuel consumption. Of course, this car isn’t as frugal as a Toyota Yaris or a Corolla and you wouldn't expect it to be. But, given that the engine is 2,998cc, has a turbo and goes like a rocket whether you’re using the eight gears or sticking with automatic mode, it delivers fuel consumption into the 30mpg bracket. Depending on how you're driving it that is. Ahem. Those with a lead right foot might find it doing considerably less.

The future might most likely be electric and there are exciting battery-powered cars available to buy right now, but for a blast of petrol-powered craziness then the Supra is tops. Mind you, don't bargain on honking your horn at anyone while you’re driving this fine sports car as the toot that emerges from under the bonnet sounds more like something you’d get on a clown car. What happened there Toyota? Perhaps aftermarket air-horns are the way forwards if you can still buy those things in these sensible, BMW-dominated times?

You’ll need to part with £54,000 to get this mad, bad GR version but if you’re after thrills and like turning heads then it’s gonna be the car for you. Just don’t use that horn.