by Andy Bryenton
There’s a new legend in town — one, which is overshadowing not only the latest crop of sports coupes, but also its more prestigious stablemates and its drop-top German brother. It’s the Toyota Supra — teased and hinted over the years in the auto equivalent of the dance of seven veils, and now finally unleashed to take on its biggest rival. The old Supra it replaces.
With generation four Supras — made famous by the Fast and the Furious movie franchise — commanding huge prices of up to $50,000 and more, the new lad has a mountain to climb. A combined effort between Toyota and BMW, this Supra is light, tight and powerful, with swooping curves evoking not just the gen four, but a hint of Alfa’s 8C Competizione. It’s tight in the corners thanks to a tiny wheelbase — smaller than that of the Toyota GT86, which made the Supra’s resurgence possible with its sales success. Arguably without the fun factor of the 86, there would have been no deal with the Germans, and thus no Supra or 2019 BMW Z car.
Under the hood, the new Supra packs a replacement for the iconic 2JZ — a straight six displacing three litres and armed with dual turbos. That’s not the only thing similar about Supras old and new. The tale of the tape tells all at this weigh-in — the fabled gen four produces 326 horsepower, tops out at 155 miles an hour thanks to a limiter, and weighs 1,565 kilograms. The new model lays down 335 horses, is similarly limited to 155, and weighs 1,540 kilos. So, is this battle all about which one you like the look of? Are these two cars destined to be like the original Star Wars trilogy and the ongoing sequels — debated in the minutiae by nerds, but really, similar servings of the same pie?
Not really — because the new Supra is made of different materials, it’s more rigid than the old one, and handles, we’re told, like a surgeon’s knife. Tellingly, it also wins in terms of torque, by 50 foot-pounds.
That being said — upgrading the new Supra may prove tough, as it’s packed with computer wizardry.
The old machine could top 1,000hp with readily bolted on mods. Still, one thing is for sure.
As the auto world debates old v new Supras, it’s a great time to snap up a bargain on the similarly 2J-turbo powered Toyota Aristo — the four-door version hardly anyone knows about — or brace for the onrush of second-hand 86s.