Front-engined, rear-drive, and low-slung – the Supra is the traditional sports car layout, and Toyota claims the centre of gravity is low too. Throw in a decent hit of power to the rear wheels and you have the makings of an entertaining driver’s car, and to a degree that’s exactly what you get.
If the drivetrain feels BMW-like, then there’s definitely a different character to the chassis. It starts with the steering, which is lighter than that of equivalent BMWs, with less of that ‘gloopy’ feeling that pervades many of the German brand’s cars.
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The response is good too and there’s fairly natural weighting as you wind on lock, but one thing missing, at least at road-going speeds, is any real information. This improves on a circuit – it’s clearly a steering set-up that responds well when there’s some load going through it – but does leave the Supra’s front end feeling slightly aloof on the road.
You won’t have to worry too much as it’s not a car short of front-end bite. You can occasionally feel the car’s weight, usually when a quick direction change is required, but there’s plenty of grip to exploit and good mid-corner balance. On dry roads at least the Supra feels progressive on the throttle, though the BMW six’s rapid build-up of torque means on greasy or wetter surfaces it’s not difficult to break traction, something the steering is quick enough to deal with.
One of the more surprising aspects of the Supra’s dynamics is its mature ride quality, which takes the edge off sharper bumps but offers plenty of control over larger undulations. The structure feels particularly stiff too, so (not unlike recent BMWs) there’s a real sense of integrity to the car, and supportive, comfortable seats and a cabin relatively well-insulated from road and wind noise makes the Supra an adept cruiser as well as an accomplished handler.
All we’d really ask for is that extra element of interaction missing from more talkative steering and a more engaging power plant and transmission. In a class with offerings as strong as the BMW M2 Competition, Alpine A110 and Porsche 718 Cayman, those elements really matter.