ONE of the most iconic nameplates in modern performance cars returns to Australia next year, with confirmation today that the fifth-gen Toyota Supra will arrive in local showrooms during the second half of 2019.
The Supra’s comeback will debut the relatively unknown Gazoo Racing brand in Oz, as it becomes the first vehicle sold here under the banner of Toyota’s performance-focused offshoot, which has its roots in endurance racing and is now responsible for the development of roadgoing sports models.
The Toyota GR Supra, as it will be called in Australia, will use a BMW-sourced 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine producing “more than 220kW and 450Nm” according to the official statement, and hit 100km/h from rest in “well under five seconds”. A four-cylinder variant is anticipated, though not yet locked in for Oz.
Exact specifications are still to be revealed, though some equipment is confirmed including adaptive suspension, a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, four-piston front brakes from Brembo, and an electronically controlled active differential that can apportion up to 100 percent of torque to a single rear wheel.
The underlying platform was developed jointly with BMW and is shared with the Z4, though unique tuning by Toyota engineers under the lead of Tetsuya Tada – the man behind the 86 – has focused on “extreme handling performance” for the Supra.
Its wheelbase is shorter, and its centre of gravity even lower than that of the boxer-engined Toyota 86. Rigidity of its aluminium and steel composite body is even greater than that of the legendary carbonfibre Lexus LFA supercar, and its dynamic credentials are bolstered by perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
Toyota says 90 percent of the development program to date was carried out on public roads, rather than racetracks, in keeping with its ‘go where the customer goes’ philosophy. A revitalised agenda within Toyota that prioritises driving enjoyment has governed the Japanese brand’s recent product roll-out, something the Supra will spearhead as its flagship road-going performance car.
“Supra points to a new-generation of driver-focused vehicles that will offer dynamic styling and faithful handling,” says Sean Hanley of Toyota Australia.
“These inherent qualities will also flow into our regular production models, enhancing Toyota’s DNA as a company committed to bringing the freedom, adventure and excitement of driving to everyone.”
Existing Supra enthusiasts were front of mind during development of the fifth-gen model (and key to the collaboration with BMW), something hinted at in today’s announcement.
“Supra’s fun-to-drive nature was also built into the way it performs power slides and doughnuts, confirmed by testing in strictly controlled areas to guarantee the new car’s pure driving pleasure,” the statement reads.
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A full reveal of the production Supra is scheduled for early 2019, around the same time manufacturing will begin at Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria.
Development of the fifth-gen (A90) Supra began in 2012. Its introduction to Australia comes more than two decades after the third-gen (A70) Supra was phased out by Toyota Australia at the end of its production in the early ‘90s. The idolised fourth-gen (A80) Supra was never officially imported Down Under.