When Toyota introduced the resurgence of the Supra nameplate, JDM fanatics might barely comprise their pleasure. After years of presuming these JDM legends—the Mazda RX-7, Nissan GT-R, and, after all, the Supra—had been largely lifeless, the likes of Nineties Japanese efficiency icons had been formally resurrected.
Preliminary ideas and spy pictures confirmed a silhouette that matched the unique curvy coupe styling, in addition to the front-engine, rear-wheel-drive design. And Toyota, with some sudden assist from BMW, did in truth ship an homage to its previous within the type of a turbocharged sports activities coupe.
Since then, the BMW elements bin mannequin has misplaced a few of its panache after a important preliminary response. It didn’t come out fairly proper, a minimum of within the eyes of a crowd who hoped for a big-turbo efficiency beast, just like the closely modified one they noticed on a YouTube avenue racing video from 2009.
With a 2.0-liter four-cylinder base mannequin and the flagship 3.0 inline-six, Supra homeowners acquired both 255 hp or 382 hp from the manufacturing facility, making for a mediocre horsepower-to-dollar ratio. And just a few thousand have bought every year, with 4952 US items bought in 2022.
The Toyota GR Supra has confronted lukewarm evaluations since its first drive, and particularly as soon as the brand new Nissan Z was launched. It’s been accused of being too unfastened and keen to slip and kick its rear finish over bumps—a bug of the automotive’s multi-link rear suspension design and damping that we discovered to be true on a night run by Harriman State Park.
The 8-speed ZF computerized transmission has been labeled as a enjoyable inhibitor, taking away from the analog handbook driving expertise and never replicating the lightning-quick shift speeds discovered on trendy efficiency dual-clutch transmissions. This too was noticeable throughout my week-long take a look at with a four-cylinder Supra, because the gear choice felt jumpy and arbitrary at low speeds and a bit laggy at a full clip.
Different complaints levied towards the mannequin embody its considerably difficult BMW-derived infotainment setup, cramped cabin, and poor visibility. The experience is harsh and I needed to crane my neck to see about half of the poorly positioned NYC site visitors alerts. Even at a mere 5-foot-8, my head rested near the slanted roof.
Are fanatic consumers prone to complain about that kind of stuff? Most likely not—it’s a sports activities automotive in spite of everything—however that doesn’t absolve Toyota of its accountability to get it proper. In comparison with vehicles just like the modern-day Ford Mustang GT or Porsche Cayman, the $54,095 six-cylinder Supra 3.0 appears like a compromise on both finish of the spectrum.
For $39,720, you could possibly get a basic American muscle automotive with a 450-hp, 5.0-liter American-made V8. Or you could possibly pay a premium for the $64,850 Porsche Cayman and obtain one of many sharpest dealing with, track-ready vehicles in the marketplace.
And that is precisely why I feel the four-cylinder Supra 2.0 makes the case for itself in worth, efficiency, and nostalgia. At $44,040, make no mistake, the Supra 2.0 continues to be a fairly penny, particularly at a time when loans are dear and seller markups are in every single place. However vehicles priced at $44,000 and $55,000 sit in numerous lessons of affordability. You purchase what you’ll be able to afford.
These clients particularly need a Supra and certain aren’t cross-shopping a BMW M240i, Toyota’s personal GR86, or a hot-hatch, or perhaps a Mustang. To many consumers, it’s a slice of JDM historical past in a contemporary, performance-oriented bundle.
It’s additionally the proper automotive for these wanting a little bit of every thing from the efficiency world, with out the very best of something. Stab the throttle, in Sport mode ideally, and the two.0-liter turbocharged I4 will rush 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, transporting you and a passenger shortly and undramatically on top of things. In comparison with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4 from generations previous, it’s shockingly fast and uber-responsive.
The engine isn’t a feat of sonic perfection, however the compelled induction system makes all the appropriate whooshing and spooling noises. The dual-tip exhaust even burbles and crackles from the manufacturing facility.
Bringing it again to actuality takes a lightweight push on the extraordinarily delicate brake pedal, forcing the single-piston aluminum floating entrance calipers to do it time and time once more with solely a slight fade. Not solely that, the Supra seems to be the half too, with bodacious curves and an aggressive entrance finish.
For higher or worse, a majority of those Supras will most likely spend their life doing simply that: freeway pulls and brake stomps to keep away from a state trooper’s wrath. However these venturing into the mountains, or canyons for winding roads will nonetheless take pleasure in themselves a lot. The mixture of a unfastened rear finish and an exceedingly fast 15:1 steering ratio means the Supra is downright twitchy.
From the attitude of a driving fanatic, nonetheless, the nervous perspective and four-cylinder energy supply could make for good observe habits due to the additional effort wanted to drive actually quick.
This not solely retains drivers on their toes and studying the boundaries of the 255/40 entrance and 275/40 rear tires and quick wheelbase chassis however makes it really feel such as you’re actually working behind the wheel. And, sure, should you shut off all of the digital nannies, it’ll slide to your coronary heart’s content material. Beware although, it’s nonetheless nostril heavy, so keep in mind that you solely have a lot steering lock.
Toyota might have jumped the gun on the Supra, presenting it to us half-baked with an computerized transmission and (underwhelming on paper) four-cylinder energy, however that doesn’t make it an unworthy automotive.
In actual fact, the Supra 2.0 is a chief instance of why vehicles of its class—the in-between variations—ought to exist.
It stays playful and iconic even when it’s not good, and it’d simply be the one efficiency automotive somebody with $45,000 actually needs (or can afford).
And now you will get one with a handbook.
What efficiency coupe would you spend $45,000 on? Share your selection within the feedback under.