Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) premiered its much-anticipated all-new Supra overnight at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The new Supra is the first global model of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s GR sports car series. Ever since first competing in Germany’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race in 2007, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has been aiming through its motorsports activities to develop its cars and people, with the goal of “making ever-better cars.”
The knowledge and know-how it has built up over the years have been funnelled into bringing the Supra back to life in the form of the “GR Supra”, as a car that people the world over will find fun to drive.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda, who is also a master driver, said: “Back in the day, I spent countless hours driving an old Supra at Nurburgring to become a master driver. Supra is like an old friend that holds a special place in my heart. While other manufacturers were putting their beautiful new prototypes which they were going to introduce through the paces, I was driving an old Supra that was no longer in production. So even though Toyota had no plans to make a new Supra, just like a lot of other die-hard Supra fans around the world, I secretly wanted to make it happen. The new GR Supra was born through testing at Nurburgring, and I can honestly say that it is a car that is fun to drive and better than ever.”
“The revitalisation of the iconic Supra name and spirit is very exciting for Toyota as a brand,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Product Planning and New Vehicles.
“It shows the potential for a car that can deliver high performance both on the road and track.”
“As the halo model for Toyota sports cars, Supra points to a new generation of driver-focused vehicles that will offer dynamic styling and faithful handling, even at the limits of its performance.”
The all-new fifth-generation Supra marks the end of a 17-year hiatus since the conclusion of production of the previous generation in 2002. Ever since the Supra’s inception in 1978, all generations have been front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicles powered by an inline six-cylinder engine. The latest rendition is no exception. This time around, extensive attention has also been paid to the three fundamental elements of wheelbase, tread, and centre of gravity, thus achieving handling performance befitting a pure sports car.
Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada, who headed development, said: “We set out to create a pure sports car that would attain the ultimate in the fun of driving. Rather than only working toward specs such as horsepower and circuit lap times, we emphasized sensitivity performance, such as the degree to which driving could be felt to be fun, with car and driver becoming one.”
“These performance credentials of the GR Supra, will ultimately flow into our regular product models, enhancing Toyota’s DNA as a company committed to bringing the excitement of driving to everyone.” said Mr. Lala.
“Without a doubt, this will be a must have collector’s sports car, and we are receiving serious interest from customers already.”
“This has been a highly anticipated vehicle in the Toyota line-up and we can’t wait to see it when it launches here later on this year.”
Key features of the new Supra
- Packaging in pursuit of the fundamental origins of a pure sports car
- To achieve excellent handling and a stable cornering stance, the three elements of wheelbase, tread, and centre of gravity were positioned as the most important factors in pursuing the ideal conception of a pure sports car.
- Being straightforward about the model being a two-seater, at 2,470 mm, its wheelbase is 100 mm shorter than that of the 86.
- The relatively short wheelbase results in a wheelbase-to-tread ratio of 1.55, one of the smallest ratios among mass-production sports cars, contributing to excellent turning performance.
- All-out efforts were made to lower the centre of gravity, resulting in a lower centre of gravity than in the 86, which features a horizontally opposed engine.
- An ideal 50/50 distribution in front/rear weight balance, which is one of the crucial elements in determining cornering performance, was achieved.
2. Styling that fully leverages sports car packaging and layout characteristics
- The styling is based on the concept of “Condensed Extreme L6 FR ‘TOYOTA’ Sports.”
- Side-view packaging that emphasizes the presence of the wheels and tires, thanks to a short wheelbase and large-diameter wheels
- A two-seater-appropriate, close-fitting cabin and a super-wide stance born of a wide tread
- The long-nose, short-cabin silhouette of an inline-6, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car
- Interior highlights
- The space of a quintessential front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car created by a vertically slim instrument panel and a high, wide console
- A driver’s seat-oriented, close-fitting, new-generation cockpit layout resulting from a shift-by-wire gearshift, an 8.8-inch TFT gauge display, and a large, full-colour head-up display
- By fully leveraging the sports car packaging and layout characteristics described above, efforts were made to achieve sports styling suitable for the first global model of the GR series.
- The styling inherits the traditional features of Toyota sports cars, such as a “double bubble” roof, which contributes to reduced air friction (found in the Toyota 2000GT), and an approach for creating a condensed body design by positioning vehicle exterior lamps more inward from the sides of the vehicle to make the fenders appear more voluminous (found in the Toyota 2000GT and fourth-generation Supra).
3. A high-rigidity body for a higher state of driving performance
- With a skeletal structure that employs both aluminium and steel, and by pursuing ways to increase bonding strength among materials of differing composition, body rigidity up to 2.5 times higher than that of the 86 was achieved. Rigidity is even higher than that of the Lexus LFA, which features a cabin constructed of carbon fibre-reinforced plastics.
4. An inline-6 turbo that carries on tradition and an inline-4 turbo to easily enjoy sporty driving
- The tradition of an inline, six-cylinder engine found in successive generations of the Supra is carried on in the form of a 3.0 litre, inline-6, twin-scroll turbocharged engine. Maximum torque of 500 Nm is produced at a low engine revolution of 1,600 rpm, allowing exhilaration from acceleration that perfectly matches expectations in line with accelerator-pedal operation.
5. A suspension that enables precise vehicle control
- A newly designed suspension (front: double-joint spring strut; rear: multi-link) is characterized by reduced unsprung weight, high-rigidity assembly, and minute movability.
- Certain grades feature the Adaptive Variable Suspension system, which provides a high level of both drivability and riding comfort by optimally controlling such elements as the selected driving mode and the damping force of each wheel’s shock absorber depending on the conditions of the road surface.
6. An active differential for heightened turning performance and stability
- While coordinating with the Vehicle Stability Control system, an active differential optimally controls the locking ratio between the rear left and right wheels in a stepless range of zero to 100 by way of an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch.
- When entering a corner, the differential selects the locking ratio for a high level of balance between turning performance and stability. When coming out of a turn with the driver pressing on the accelerator pedal, the locking ratio is increased for optimal traction performance.
7. Manoeuvrability honed on the roads of the world
- With importance placed on the environments in which customers drive in the real world, proving runs were thoroughly and repeatedly conducted on regular roads during various stages of development. Such runs naturally included racing-speed drives at Nürburgring. But numerous tests were also held on a wide range of roads throughout the world, such as country roads in Europe, the Autobahn in Germany, snow-covered and ice-covered roads in Northern Europe, highways in the United States, and winding roads in Japan. The result is tuning aimed at enabling drivers to experience the joy of driving the new Supra even in everyday situations.