Supra Natural: The Return of the Vaunted Toyota Sports Car

toyota supra

Summer is the season for reboots, remakes, and sequels. This month, Toyota embraces that Hollywood idea with a new version of the Supra—a sports car with a familiar name. And it makes sense. The Supra is kind of a silver screen star: The swoopy, rear-winged, readily modified coupe became a pop culture phenomenon when it co-starred in 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. That was three years after Toyota stopped selling the Supra in the U.S.: Seems that supporting the high-volume, less-fun Corolla and Camry offered a clearer path to owning the market.

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But now, Toyota wants its halo back—even class dominance can get boring. So to defray the costs of a pricey Supra redevelopment program, Toyota teamed with BMW. The two automakers outlined a platform that split into two vehicles: BMW’s Z4 roadster and this fifth-generation Supra. The cars share engines and some architecture and hardware, but they are dramatically different beasts—the Z4 is a grand-touring convertible, the Supra a track-tuned coupe.

Get past the over-the-top-ness of the car’s array of inlets and outlets, and you find a machine that is pretty subtle. In an era of excess, the Supra’s inline six-cylinder makes 335 horsepower—plenty for real-world driving scenarios.

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Practicality aside, the Supra is still fun from behind the wheel. It’s weighted 50/50 front to rear, so on the track it flicks around corners, changing course like a water strider. That’s the result of Toyota going with a shorter wheelbase and wider track than any production sports car, and a body that’s even lighter than the last Supra. It feels like the car’s aerodynamics, rather than its computer interventions, help you keep things straight while you’re dancing on the edge. This is an increasingly rare quality. Vintage, you might say.

The Supra is equally delectable on back roads: Gun it in Sport mode and the exhaust roars, crackles, and pops as the chassis hangs tight in the curves. You find yourself cursing double-yellow no-pass zones and relishing blind corners. We’re in an era when nuance doesn’t sell, yet this car has it. We hope it survives. Toyota: Just get one in Vin Diesel’s garage—whatever it takes.

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The Details

  • Horsepower: 335
  • Zero to 60: 4.1 sec.
  • MSRP from $49,990

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