Toyota’s Ferrari-like flyer
My Grandfather drove a Ferrari 275 GTB when I was a kid. Many agree with me that the 275 GTB was probably the finest Ferrari ever and quite clearly that car had — and always will have a profound effect on my love for cars. So when a car reminds me of a Ferrari 275 GTB, it has to be pretty special.
My first impression of this light silver GR Supra was, ‘damn, this car reminds me of Gigi’s 275!’ The more time I spent with it, the more I drove it; the more it reminded me of that great Ferrari. Suppose the biggest surprise is, believe it or not, it’s a Toyota that reminds me of Gigi's glorious GTB.
The real beauty is that Supra is clearly not trying to be a Ferrari — I suppose those voluptuous Coke bottle hips, that soft silver hue and the V12 qualities of its six-pot soundtrack press those emotional old buttons, but this Gazoo Racing Toyota is rather borne out of its own great Supra legend and it is just circumstance that it gets my 275 GTB goat. Or is it?
GR Supra is a tribute to Toyota scion Akido Toyoda Gazoo dream. A race driver and a fastidious engineer, Toyoda was born to build cars and he knows what he wants, but there's an elephant in the room. Supra stalwarts cry that the new one has a BMW engine and not Toyota’s own legendary turbo straight-six 2JZ (say that too-jayzee), an old school lump that can be tuned to monster power, but no longer meets showroom emissions targets.
Some Supra diehards even ripped that Bavarian lump out of their new GRs and replaced it with a 2JZ within a week of it hitting the road, but this BMW six is also hugely tuneable if you want more, so it really is a moot point. GR Supra delivers 250kW and 500Nm to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic trannie and at under four seconds, it matches a BMW M4 in among the quickest rear-wheel drive zero to 100s we've ever achieved on our drag strip.
Supra is a splendid all-round package and it wears its Nurburgring-tuned rear-wheel drive, short wheelbase and wide track very well. A low centre of gravity and rigid lightweight body further contribute to nimble road-holding, handling to thrill and the ability to drift and burn rubber on command — light up the rear end and Supra makes you the drift master. Besides a reluctance to downshift, the autobox is slick and it stops very well too, courtesy of Brembo clamps.
In my opinion, the Toyota GR Supra shouldn't be compared to its great forebears — it matches them well enough to move the legend on. There is also very little BMW about the Supra on the face of it and beyond the look of the infotainment screen, traditional touches like the hard steering wheel, a very different atmosphere keep it true to its own significant legend.
I’d say GR Supra should rather be rated against its German cousin than its ancestor. I prefer the Toyota — to me the Z4 is a girl’s car, while the Supra is very much a boy’s car. This Gazoo Racing Toyota is a fine tribute to that Supra legend — the last one was a Toyota on top of that insane 2JZ heart, but this one is good enough to remind a true tifosi of a truly great Ferrari. Go figure! - Michele Lupini
Images - Dylan McKay
ROAD TESTED: Toyota GR Supra 3.0T
Engine: 250kW 500Nm 2998cc turbo petrol I6
Drive: 8-speed automatic RWD
0-60km/h: 1.95 sec
0-100km/h: 3.97 sec
0-160km/h: 9.57 sec
400m: 12.4 sec @ 183km/h
80-120km/h: 2.78 sec
120-160km/h: 3.72 sec
Fuel: 7.7 l/100km
CO2: 177 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/4 service 80Kkm
LIST PRICE: R1.07M