What are you driving?
If the data is correct, you're looking at the only example of the new Toyota Supra (the fifth generation, codenamed A90) registered in Ireland to date. Actually, its official title has 'GR' (for Gazoo Racing) ahead of the Supra name, as that has become the high-performance road car division of Toyota, following on from its 'skunkworks' inception by Akio Toyoda (current president of Toyota) and subsequent motorsport activities. The Irish car is, in fact, one of only 90 examples of the limited 'GR Supra A90 Launch Edition' produced, so kudos to Toyota Ireland for getting its order in early, as they're all already accounted for.
The A90 Launch Edition upgrades are cosmetic, extending to the stunning Matte Storm Grey paint, matte black 19-inch wheels red-and-black leather for the interior.
Irish buyers can choose between the standard GR model at €81,850 and the GR Premium (which adds €3,100 to the price, leather upholstery, an upgraded sound system by JBL Audio, head-up display, a wireless phone charger and some extra storage details). In fairness, the standard car isn't short of toys, with Alcantara upholstery, heated seats with electric adjustment for the driver, an 8.8-inch infotainment system with satnav, 19-inch forged alloys, adaptive damping, auto-folding door mirrors and keyless entry and start.
Both versions sold here use the same BMW-sourced drivetrain, with a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine up front, driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and electronically controlled locking differential. This is, in simple terms, a Toyota-designed take on the BMW Z4, specifically the range-topping M40i variant.
Name its best bits
Hey, I'm just happy this car exists; everything else is a bonus. Now, I know a lot has been said about the partnership with BMW, and not everyone approves, but its six-cylinder engine and automatic transmission pairing is hard to fault. Sure, a manual gearbox would be more engaging again, but this auto is better than most at letting the driver get involved. And that engine makes all the right noises, befitting a sports coupe.
In general, I love the looks of the new Supra, too. Its rear end in particular is full of aggression and intent, with its wider high-performance tyres, big aerodynamic diffuser, outrageously shaped lights (scroll through the gallery to see what I mean) and the F1-inspired, centrally mounted reversing light. The shape of the front bumper is also designed to invoke the raised nose of a modern Formula One racer and the Supra unquestionably has presence.
I approve of the driving experience too, even if the Supra is far from perfect. It feels taut (though not taut enough for regular track work, curiously) and responsive, perhaps a little more so than the Z4 M40i it shares so much with. Some have likened it to a GT car rather than a sports coupe, but I reckon its suspension setup is closer to the latter. Saying that, in its default driving mode, it's acceptably comfortable to spend many hours at the wheel. You'll be aware of the direct steering and the road noise from the big tyres, but the suspension copes well with average road surfaces. The Sport setting for the damping makes it a lot less comfortable for an increase in body control. I found myself sticking to the standard mode most of the time, though the sharper throttle response and gearbox calibration are reasons enough to press the big 'Sport' button on the centre console.
Not that the engine's output is ever anything less than 'ample' for public road use. Despite that, I managed to average no worse than 10.0 litres/100km. A few laps around the track at Mondello confirmed that the Supra can be huge fun driven to its limits, if not as scalpel-sharp as its looks suggest. There's a lot of grip from the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, though that can be overcome on the exit of corners with judicious use of the accelerator. Do that and you'll discover a very playful side to the Supra. It's certainly a car to drive for the sake of driving.
Anything that bugs you?
On the styling front, the Supra can look strange from some angles, but I'll forgive it that. Nonetheless, I really dislike the plastic detail at the rear of each side of the massive bonnet. It appears to be a heat vent, but isn't.
The interior isn't the Supra's best side, either. Yes, the seats are great, and the BMW bits are of high quality, but the steering wheel could be more attractive to look at (it feels good to hold, thankfully), and some of the plastics are below par for an eighty-grand car. Lastly, it's a little odd that there's unhindered access to the boot from the cabin.
And why have you given it this rating?
To be honest, Toyota had me at 'Supra'. It's a car to celebrate for its existence alone, and one that begs to be driven. Flawless, it is not. Based on a BMW, it is. But none of that takes from the fact that this is a powerful rear-drive Toyota sports car that's very special indeed.
What do the rest of the team think?
Everything about this Supra should be wrong. It's based on a BMW. It's pricey. It only has two seats (historically, the Supra was a 2+2) and 'only' 340hp. Yet out of that fanboy-baiting mix comes a car of talent and superlative enjoyment. It's not perfect (the roll-centre is a touch high, and the constant reminder that the cabin is made of upcycled BMW parts irritates), but the Supra is fast (very fast in fact), sounds wonderful and has a fantastic chassis that artfully blends precision and comfort. It may not be the Supra we wanted, but in many ways it's the Supra we deserve.
Neil Briscoe - Editor-at-large
There's plenty to like about the Toyota Supra, and I'm not one of those purists that like to put it down for various BMW-related reasons. On track it's quick, precise and in the right hands can provide for lots of fun. Personally, I found it even more engaging on the road, where the chassis setup provides ample feedback even for those more experienced drivers. Toyota deserve full praise for making a new Supra.
Dave Humphreys - Road Test Editor