By Clive Funizwe
My first recollection of a Toyota Supra (MK IV) was in the first Fast’n Furious where Paul Walker demolishes a Ferrari F355. If your stretch far back to the 90’s the Supra of those days had similar power compared to a mid-sized Ferrari 348. This meant that Supra’s offered very good value from a sports car point of view. Have things changed since then? I can already hear some of you saying yes and already pulling out the Z4 card and this is obviously the case. To address the Zupra Siamese twins’ situation – we have a separate review comparing the two in this joint venture development… but for now… let’s focus on the Supra.
Japanese sports car…
The formula has stayed the same – big turbo charged engine in front, rear wheel drive and sports car chassis. Looks? We love them. As we previously mentioned. You have not seen this car at all until you see it in the mental. The muscular haunches, double-bubble roof, F1-Style Rear fog light and integrated rear spoiler and multi-tiered rear end, are just some of the touches that add to the sportiness of the car.
The interior oozes quality and minimalism. We love the centre rev-counter that separates the speedo and NAV. Borrowed from the best, the infotainment system is very good and remains as intuitive as it is known to be. One thing we were not sure about is the JBL sound system. This is not to say that it is not good – but in comparison to other upgraded sound systems (i.e. Dynaudio in VW’s and B&W’s in Volvo’s), this is slightly underwhelming.
A worthy successor
So does the car stack up to the hype? Yes, it does – but it may not be in the way that you think though. Responsiveness and refinement are words that describe this cars character. The car is rapid but in a sensible way. You can take corners and bends at alarming speeds but yet be as comfortable as you can be in a medium sized luxury sedan. The 3.0L turbo charged straight six pushes out 250 kW and 495 Nm and can remain pretty frugal when you cruising along but insanely rapid when you give it the beans. This is one balanced car that remains planted around corners. I did however notice the balance to be slightly upset and jittery when downshifting in sport-mode at speed. Either than that one small issue, everything else, like the steering is well weighted from its on centre feel, and remains precise on turn in both from a steering feel and front end grip point of view.
The overall body control of the car is extremely communicative and progressively lets you know what is happening as you enthusiastically pilot it. Toyota says that the body shell is stiffer than that of the Lexus LFA hyper car yet the comfort of the car rides with great refinement. It is both solid around corners and well damped for everyday use.
One big issue that I had with the Supra is the buffeting when you drive with all the windows down. It is highly noticeable from around 80/90km/h. This is a serious negative for people who prefers this over using the A/C.
Value for money
For R1,072,300 this is very good value for a buyer that seeks a sports car that won’t remind you of its sporty nature every time you hit a bump on the road that is preceded by an appointment with a chiropractor. Toyota has really thrown a hand-grenade in this sector. In our Z4 review we stated that we do not have hands-on experience with a Porsche Boxter (or Cayman in the Supra’s case) but the Supra proposition is a very compelling one when you consider its ownership in the long term.
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