Our critiques of Toyota’s four- and six-cylinder 2021 Supras are approaching 5/13, till then we determined to look again at the place the Supra began. Here is our highway take a look at of the fourth-generation Supra Turbo.
From the March 1993 concern of Automotive and Driver.
Toyota’s first Supra was a bastard: the 110-horsepower progeny of the plain-Jane and little-loved Celica. We anticipated it to be orphaned rapidly, describing it in 1979 as “a make-believe Monte Carlo” with “vapid steering and doughy suspension.”
A lot has modified.
Since 1979, the Supra has established its personal, respectable household tree. And now we’ve got a fourth-generation Supra—one which rushes to 160 mph fairly than 110, and one which shares as many components with a Celica as a Tappan oven shares with a Ferrari F40.
Which is apt, truly, as a result of the 1993 Supra Turbo positively cooks, and it steals various F40 styling cues—the form of its grille, its trapezoidal headlamp lenses, and its colossal brake scoops. To not point out the plagiarized rear wing, which seems to have been unfastened from one thing manufactured by Aerospatiale however is, reward the Pharaohs, solely an possibility. (As Joseph Campbell as soon as stated, “Not one shred of proof exists that life is critical.”)
The 1993 Supra shares its 3.0-liter inline six with the Lexus SC300 and GS300. The naturally aspirated iteration produces 220 horsepower at 5800 rpm. However with two turbos strapped to the iron block’s starboard flank, it musters a further 100 horsepower, in addition to a pot-walloping 315 pound-feet of torque—32 pound-feet greater than a twin-turbo Nissan 300ZX can summon.
The Supra’s turbos are sequential. The smaller one spools as much as full increase at round 2500 rpm. Its large brother crashes the social gathering with a bottle rocket of thrust at 4500 rpm, kicking in with all of the subtlety of a Holyfield uppercut. As soon as this engine is force-fed by way of each turbos, you may need to look at whether or not the switchable traction management is on responsibility. The Supra Turbo has no hassle portray spectacular black stripes as its huge rear Bridgestone 255/40ZR-17s spin freely exiting second-gear corners on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s difficult roadcourse. Loads of throttle-induced oversteer, right here, however when you run shy of braveness, merely carry, even at mid-turn. The tail tucks in, and the drama subsides, except, like us, you enter Flip Three at 140 mph and the compression on the banking reduces suspension journey to the size of a Q-Tip.
The Supra and the Supra Turbo share a modified model of the Lexus SC300’s platform, surgically shortened by 5.5 inches, with particular geometry and coil-over shocks at every nook. In total size, the brand new Supra is 4.2 inches stubbier than final 12 months’s automotive. Aside from the Turbo’s distinctive 17-inch Potenza RE020s mounted on 9.5-inch-wide rear wheels, there are not any particular badges, bulges, or zoomy giveaways to distinguish the Supra from the Supra Turbo. So, except you order the Turbo’s enormous rear wing as a result of, for instance, your latest mind surgical procedure went fairly badly, the man subsequent to you on Woodward Avenue has no method of figuring out that your humble little Supra which, in 1979, required 11.2 seconds to achieve 60 mph—would possibly simply catapult itself to that very same pace within the subsequent 4.6 seconds.
That is fast.
Faster than an Acura NSX, a Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo, and a Porsche 928GT—a trio of automobiles that deal with 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. It is faster, in reality, than stellar strip artists just like the Mazda RX-7, the Corvette LT1, and the Nissan 300ZX Turbo, all three of which carry out the identical trick in 5 flat.
Though the Supra’s success will likely be measured by America’s response to it, the styling was wholly conceived in Japan. From the entrance, as we talked about, the automotive is F40-ish, though, when you get down on palms and knees, you’ll depend ten lights on the snout. Very Christmasy. From the facet, the greenhouse and C-pillars mimic the brand new Honda Prelude’s. The hatchback is paying homage to a Celica’s. And from the rear, the brand new Supra is, ah, simply plain spooky. The ducktail and deep bumper lend the automotive a flabby fanny to which your eye is already drawn for all its litter: eight baseball-size taillights, a Toyota steer-brand brand, the Toyota name, a CHMSL with an odd white lens, and a script Supra decal. Equally jarring are the horizontal cutlines in entrance of the rear wheel wells, simply above the purposeful rear brake scoops.
The 2 new Supras will likely be in presentrooms in June. Proper now, the marketeers predict the naturally aspirated model will go for about $36,000 and the Turbo for $40,000. A heap o’ beans, however no less than aggressive with different warp-speed starships, such because the RX-7, the 300ZX, the Corvette, and the twin-turbo Dodge Stealth and Mitsubishi 3000.
For all that cash, you do get brakes sufficiently big to cease a Clinton marketing campaign bus and as efficient as these on present Corvettes. Coming into a 90-degree flip at 120 mph 3 times in a row, we did not elicit brake fade. The Turbo’s entrance rotors, with distinctive spiral, Cuisinart-style air-sucking fins, are 12.7 inches in diameter. And the rears, at 12.Eight inches, are larger than a Corvette ZR-1’s. What’s unusual is that the naturally aspirated mannequin’s rotors are additionally two totally different sizes—that means there are 4 distinctive rotors for this Supra. Explains chief engineer Isao Tsuzuki, “With totally different [size] wheels and totally different unsprung weights, we carried out a balancing act to get the dealing with excellent on each variations.” Right here we’ve got an organization that actually does sweat the main points.
This similar engineering conscientiousness was utilized to the automotive’s heft, down 124 kilos from the earlier Supra sumo. The sushi-and-soda food regimen was expensive, admits Tsuzuki. It required 950 meetings during which engineers sedulously hacked at cellulite. To shed lard, adjustable shocks had been forsaken. A telescoping steering wheel was canned. Twin exhaust ideas, which appeared ultracool however did not add horsepower, obtained deep-sixed, saving 30 kilos. Aluminum hood, roof, and bumper helps helped, as did a plastic gasoline tank. To save lots of a number of kilos, hole anti-roll bars had been fitted. To save lots of a number of grams, hollow-fiber carpet was put in, and hollow-head bolts had been specified wherever they weren’t greedy an merchandise extra substantial than, say, an engine.
With this food regimen got here a bonus: the Supra’s heart of gravity fell an inch. That, mixed with the macho coil-over shocks, improved anti-dive by some 20 % and diminished physique roll drastically, even below max-lat Gurney laps round Atlanta Motor Speedway, the place the automotive is extra steady above 100 mph than an RX-7. This can be a remarkably well-planted platform, as flex-free as a granite tombstone. Try the skidpad grip: an incredible 0.95 g.
The usual gearbox within the naturally aspirated Supra is a five-speed handbook, whereas a Getrag six-speed is a part of the Turbo package deal. Predictably, sixth is for Scotsmen. It chugs alongside at a thrifty 2200 pm at 60 mph, effectively shy of usable increase.
Shift throws have been shortened to the size of a Bic lighter, and the lever itself is the peak and width of the dowel in a roll of bathroom paper. Mixed with a light-weight clutch, the result’s gear choice nearly as slick and speedy as that in a Miata. Our two gripes: a handbrake too near the shift lever, and a giant ratio hole between second and third gears, the place it’s too simple to fall off increase.
From inside, visibility is pretty much as good as something within the Supra’s class, even with the non-compulsory wing, which is so tall that it frames the backlight like a halo, fairly than bifurcating it. The brand new instrument cluster’s centerpiece is an enormous tach, redlined at 6800 rpm. The speedometer, to the appropriate, registers to 180 mph, a pace Tsuzuki says—with out smiling—was attained by an early ungoverned mule.
The Supra’s new entrance seats, like these in a Porsche 911, provide slender cushions and seatbacks, with surprisingly conservative bolsters. Raymond Burr needn’t apply. As within the 911, nonetheless, the seats are major-league comfy and helpive. We favor the material, fairly than the non-compulsory leather-based facings. The material breathes higher and is grippier. Additionally, the black and tan cowskins have a naugahyde look about them.
The brake and throttle pedals are aligned satisfactorily for heel-and-toeing, and there is a terrific useless pedal for bracing your left leg. If solely the radio had been as intentionally positioned. It is low on the sprint, which is a disgrace: there’s an ideal spot for it up excessive, the place a vent and a big digital clock presently reside. One other mistake: a digital odometer that occupies its personal panel, eliminated a long way from the speedometer. Gratuitous litter.
Alas, the brand new Supra needs to be considered a two-seater. Joe Pesci would possibly wedge himself into considered one of these rear seats however solely after barking 4 or 5 unprintable oaths. Furthermore, the passenger’s footwell is clogged with an enormous tumor on the facet of the transmission hump. And the cargo space below the hatch, even with the rear seat folded flat, is disappointingly shallow. What’s extra, we do not discover the Supra’s inside sufficiently luxurious for $36,000.
The Supra was once a sporty touring coupe, an Asian counterpart to, say, the Thunderbird SC. Now it’s focused at purchaseers—admittedly valuable few of them—who loiter in Nissan showrooms subsequent to the 300ZXs. After our one-day drive (on a racetrack solely), we wonder if the brand new Supra faces an identification disaster. It’s quick, however it isn’t a pure sports activities automotive just like the RX-7. And it affords neither the styling, the luxurious, nor the status of the 300ZX.
Alternatively, additionally it is true that the manual-box Lexus SC300 and this new Supra are nearly fraternal twins in dimension, form, drivetrain, and worth. The Lexus is refined, opulent, and a styling imperium. The Toyota is stiff-riding, with extra direct steering, and is as obscenely fast as Clyde Drexler on a quick break. Every strategy has its adherents; Toyota solely half-jokingly defines them as being both north or south of their 40th birthdays. Though a number of C/D editors have but to endure the large 4-O, we nonetheless discover it simpler to think about a long-term romance with the infant Lexus coupe, from which the Supra is now so aristocratically descended. In any occasion, nobody calls the Supra a bastard anymore. Aside from possibly some Corvette salesmen.