This is it – this is the big one. The test that’s been seven years in the making, during which we’ve endured all the teaser images, the grainy spy shots, the carefully managed prototype drives, the international launch and then brief blasts in the UK. But now, finally, the Toyota Supra is out in the wild, free of its minders and ready to do battle.
Those early outings hinted at a car that had the potential to be the real deal, but we needed more than a few miles on a carefully choreographed route to deliver the definitive verdict on one of Toyota’s most eagerly awaited offerings in years, especially one that has painted big red targets on the back of some of the biggest hitters in the sports car firmament.
Of course, the Supra’s arrival hasn’t been without controversy, its relationship to its dizygotic BMW Z4 twin proving more obvious (on the inside, at least) than many had hoped. Yet while Bavaria provides the 335bhp turbo straight six, eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and electronic slippy diff, plus the electrical architecture and switchgear, Toyota claims the Supra’s wide track and short wheelbase – the perfect combination for the intended acrobatic agility – are Japanese to its steel and aluminium core.
So how serious a sports car is the Supra? Well, there’s only one way to find out, which is why we’ve headed for some of South Wales’ most testing Tarmac in close convoy with a pair of formidable foes.
Supra Mk4: It was never actually a huge seller here and hasn’t been officially seen in the UK since 1996, but the purposeful Mk4 Supra has now attained semi-iconic status. It was shorter, lower and wider than the outgoing model, and much lighter too. It came in 3.0-litre straightsix naturally aspirated form or sequential twin-turbo, but only the blown version made it to the UK, and those buyers could then opt for a six-speed manual or four-speed auto ’box. Performance? 0-60mph in just 4.6sec and the top speed reined in to a ‘mere’ 155mph.