Duck, Duck, GAZOO

by Petrol Mum

Back when I was a starry-eyed teenager I would flick through car classifieds ogling the Mk 4 Supra grey imports with their crazy rear wings and big exhausts. It has been 17 years since the Mk 4 ceased production and the long awaited return of the Toyota Supra is over, thanks to a co-production with BMW on the Z4, and I finally get to drive a Supra!

There are two Supra models available in Australia, the GT and the GTS; the GTS can be distinguished from the GT by the 19″ forged alloy wheels and Sports Brake package with red calipers. Both Supra models are powered by a BMW 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo-charged in-line six-cylinder engine and produce 250kW and 500Nm and the claimed acceleration is 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds, but I felt the Supra needed a few more kW to get me interested. The official combined fuel consumption is 7.7 L/100km and I used 11.2L/100km, which is less than I used driving the 2.0-litre powered BMW Z4.

The Supra GTS has two drive modes for you to choose from, Normal or Sport, and you can individualise Sport mode if desired by switching Damping, Steering, Engine and Transmission between either Sport or Normal mode. Select Sport mode, give the Supra a bit and there really isn’t much engine noise under hard acceleration, you can hear some turbo whistle if you have the window down. Even in Sport mode the suspension is not harsh and the rear wheel drive Supra will wag the tail a bit, but otherwise it’s very stable to drive. Put the 8-speed quick-shifting sports tuned automatic transmission into ‘manual’ mode and use the wheel-mounted paddle shifters for quick up and downshifts and you get some pops and bangs on downshift, but overall the exhaust noise is quite conservative.

I drove the Mk 4 Supra pictured below, which has been significantly modified but still retains the original 2JZ engine block, and it was completely the opposite to the modern Supra with more power than I could handle and a back-end very keen to step out on me even in a straight line. On the inside the other thing lacking in the Mk 5 is rear seats, even though the seats in the Mk 4 are basically unusable the original Supra was a 2+2 configuration.

Bringing the two generations of the Toyota Supra together highlighted the styling cues that Toyota has brought to the latest generation Supra. The duck bill front end and duck tale on the boot of the Mk 5 don’t actually look as bad in real life as they do in photos and the Supra does have the crazy Japanese styling look about it, which I enjoy. One thing about the external styling that I didn’t like was all of the fake vents that the Supra has, on the bonnet, in the front spoiler and at the rear of the door.

The slope of the Mk 5 roof means you have to concentrate when getting into the Supra, if not you will hit your head on the sill. But once you are in the Supra there is a lot of head and leg room, it’s a sports car for the tall person thanks to the double bump in the roof and ample leg room. The other thing I noticed was that even when I was doing my best not to I was kicking the bottom of the door when I stepped out of the car.

I didn’t like that there was no wall between the cabin and the boot; it meant the boot was an echo chamber and you get a lot of tyre noise in the cabin from behind your head. I felt it was potentially dangerous with things flying forward in the event of a heavy braking incident or being hit from behind by another vehicle. The boot is small and low and you can’t open the boot from the outside of the car, you either need to use the key or the button in the cabin.

There is no partition between the boot and the cabin in the Supra.

I found the optional black Alcantara seats to be a little too cushy, but they do have lumbar and side bolster adjustment, with two memory potions on the driver’s side and one on the passenger’s side. The seats are heated, not that I need to use them on this occasion. The steering wheel could be a bit fatter for my liking and I didn’t like the blank black area at the bottom of the wheel, it should have a ‘GR’ on there for GAZOO Racing.

There is a lack of storage cubbies in the cabin; even the glovebox in the Supra is small. The cubby in the doors is only big enough for a sunglasses case and behind the two drink holders in the centre console there is only a smallish open cubby. At the front of the carbon fibre centre console there is a flat storage area that has wireless phone charging for compatible devices and you have one USB port and one 12V outlet here for wired charging..

The GTS comes with a 12-speaker JBL audio system and media options include DAB+, AM/FM, on-board storage, USB and Bluetoothed phones. Voice control works OK for making phone calls and setting a destination on the sat nav and the head up display can be adjusted for brightness, height, rotation and contents. The Supra is currently not compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. This is currently available only in the US and Europe, Toyota are looking into introducing this at the next possible opportunity, along with a number of other markets, as soon as they can, but cannot confirm timing at this stage.

The Toyota Supra has a standard reversing camera with 360o sensors and seven airbags, but no ANCAP safety rating. Other safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, front collision warning and lane departure warning with or without steering assistance. You access these features via the ‘Safety System’ button on the centre console or via the main menu on the infotainment system.

All new Toyota vehicles are protected by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, but be aware that the Toyota Australia warranty does generally not cover any track day, race or competition usage of our vehicles; however any faults have to be assessed on a case by case basis. Servicing for the Supra is done every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first and has a capped price of $385 per service and Toyota 24/7 roadside assistance can be purchased from $89 per year.

Compared to the lesser powered Toyota 86 GTS that I drove twelve months ago, the Supra left me feeling a little flat. Don’t get me wrong the Supra is a good sports car but for me it lacks some Toyota spirit and needs more of an injection from GAZOO Racing to really give it some added zing.

The Supra GTS starts at $94,900 and as tested with Alcantara Seats in Prominence Red paint my Supra was $97,400 plus on-road costs. Supras can only be purchased online via Reservation Windows on a strictly ‘first come first served’ basis and currently there are no windows open, but there is a small amount of demo stock and cancelled orders, available in dealers. So Toyota’s recommendation for anyone who is keen to get their hands on one is to contact their local dealer and see what is available. Toyota is also working on making more vehicles available in 2020, which they will announce once confirmed. 

Pros Cons
A sports car for the taller individual Limited availability
The exterior styling The Supra needs more GAZOO
Both models get the same engine The boot is open to the cabin

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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