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October 18, 2021

GR Supra – are four cylinders enough?

Most versions of Toyota's Gazoo Racing Supra come with a straight-six engine but BMW also supplies a four-cylinder alternative. Is the 2.0-litre a nearly-as-good option?

By Glenn Brooks

Most new sports cars surf a wave of success in the their first year. Then typically, sales numbers are becalmed as novelty is no longer enough. Somehow, Toyota hasn’t experienced that with the Gazoo Racing Supra .

A Toyota made in Austria

The US is where Magna Steyr , the manufacturer, sends most examples of this car. During the year to 30 September, 5,825 were exported there from Graz. The Austrian factory also makes the Supra ‘s Z4 brother, the BMW being a roadster and the Toyota a fastback.

The separation of body styles is presumed to be part of TMC and BMW ‘s agreement. So far it seems to be working well too, the partners looking as though they have learned how to make money out of such vehicles, shared costs being key to the project’s viability.

Fuji Speedway edition

There’s a fairly large space in pricing between the two four-cylinder cars and the GBP54,365 straight-six. The one I’ve been driving this week is the GBP47,410 Fuji Speedway Edition which costs GBP1,400 more than the base 2.0-litre.

As with the two other available variants, the white-with-red-painted-mirror-covers Fuji has an interior that feels very BMW . That even extends to the key, which, apart from a Toyota logo, is all but identical to what the German firm specifies for its own cars.

Along with the exterior colour contrasts, there’s some changes on the inside, including carbon fibre trim and a two-tone look for the steering wheel and upholstery. The seats are very grippy and positioned low, the pedals are exactly where you want them and there’s just the right amount of space (i.e. it can be a tight fit for some).

Four cylinders or six?

The four-cylinder cars benefit from an engine which doesn’t extend as far over the front axle as the straight six, another difference being a 100 kg weight advantage (1,395 kg).

The bad news about the 2.0-litre turbo is the loss of 60 kilowatts and 100 newton metres compared to the 3.0-litre: 190 kW (258 PS) and 400 Nm versus 250 kW (340 PS) and 500 Nm.

Down on power it might be yet the four-cylinder Supra is still very fast. Zero to 62 mph takes only 5.2 seconds but the turbo ‘six gets there in a searing 4.3. Top speed is a limited 155 mph for both. The 2.0-litre also doesn’t have that fantastic BMW six-cylinder sound though.

The driver can select either Normal or SPORT modes and in either one, the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox feels like the perfect match for the high-revving engine. In SPORT , the already direct steering is even more precise, the suspension slightly firmer and the transmission stays in the lower ratios a little longer.

There aren’t many examples of this model on British roads and for that reason, plus the still unusual appearance of the A90 series shape, the Supra attracts a lot of attention. The headlights have a distinctive shape, the bonnet is long, the wheelbase short and at the rear there’s a cluster of dot-LEDs in the centre of the lower bumper which can be both a fog lamp or single reversing light. No other car looks like this one.

Alternatives

Audi will soon leave the Z4 and Supra ‘s segment, the TT having no planned replacement. Others, such as Nissan with the new Z, will give the Toyota a fresh opponent when it lands next year. In the meantime, there’s also the Ford Mustang along with the four-cylinder Jaguar F-Type and the Alpine A110 although it could be argued that each of these are unlikely to be seriously considered by anyone who’s attracted to the Supra .

Conclusion

For a car which so much in common with the G29 Z4, the 2.0-litre Supra , BMW engine and all, has a character of its own. Acceleration is thrilling, balance is sublime thanks to superbly tuned steering and springing, leaving only the question of whether or not the 3.0-litre version is worth the extra thousands.

Pricing starts at GBP46,010 for the 2.0-litre Pro, rising to GBP47,410 for the Fuji Edition and reaching GBP54,365 for the 3.0-litre Pro. CO2 averages are 167, 167 and 188 g/km. Average consumption for the Fuji is 38.7 mpg.

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