When I heard the Toyota Supra nameplate was coming back, I was just as skeptical as everybody else about what the package would end up looking and feeling like.
So, when my name was put down to attend a prototype drive of the 2020 Toyota Supra in Madrid last year, I was excited to see what Toyota and BMW had come up with.
After driving it on the street and at the track, I was genuinely blown away at how well Toyota had mixed the BMW engine with the ZF Sachs eight-speed automatic transmission and Toyota's ride and handling tune.
While it has a BMW heart, Toyota was deeply involved in the process of getting the dimensions to where they needed to be, and then breaking off to tune the ride and handling.
Tada-san was excited to work with one of the greatest engines on the market today, and made the most of the engine and gearbox combination to come up with this final product.
When Toyota announced that it would bring 300 to Australia in the first 12 months, I thought I'd put my name down for one. Toyota's unique purchasing process involved a first-come-first-served reservation process through the Toyota website.
Buyers needed to put down a $1000 deposit, plus their licence details (to prevent people selling their spots in the queue).
The first of three reservation windows was exhausted within minutes, and I was lucky enough to snag an allocation for a Nurburg Grey (the matte colour you see here) GTS with Alcantara interior.
Once that was confirmed, I needed to pay an additional $4000 deposit to secure my spot. It was at this point I was also allocated a 'Supra Concierge' that would be my point of contact through the buying process.
After getting my slot, I decided I'd go down the path of some custom registration plates. I bought a set of Japanese-style custom registration plates from VPlates and sat them in the cupboard until the car was ready to collect.
My order was allocated to Werribee Toyota in Melbourne, and it managed the pre-delivery process and was responsible for getting the car ready for me to collect. The team there were sensational to deal with and kept me up to date along the way.
They even accommodated my request to install an offset registration plate holder – the regular centre plate holder requires drilling through the bodywork!
I picked up my car a few weeks ago and couldn't be happier with it in person.
Under the bonnet is the BMW B58 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine that produces 250kW of power and 500Nm of torque. I'd bet my bottom dollar those figures are almost entirely made up, because it feels like it has at least 300kW of power pushing it along.
Nail the throttle from a standing start and the nose lifts, while the rear digs down and commits to delivering a full serve of torque.
I'm still in the process of running it in (I've done less than 1000km), but I've given it a few stabs here and there and it's properly smile-inducing stuff. The plan is to get it onto a dyno, get it running down the drag strip, and to attend a few track days.
It's still early days, but it's currently averaging a fuel consumption of just 7.9 litres of fuel per 100km. Tyre noise is pretty evident with the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres on coarse surfaces, but the 12-speaker JBL sound system does a pretty good job of drowning the noise out.
While there are strong rumours of a manual coming, I don't know that I'd bother with it. The eight-speed automatic ZF Sachs gearbox is so good that it would only complicate ergonomics and create a tiresome drive into the office each day.
It's lightning fast – so much so that you don't notice the speed difference between it and a dual-clutch gearbox.
What about things I don't like? There are a few things that are a little annoying. The first is how dim the infotainment screen is.
There's a light sensor in the speedometer cluster that is almost always in shadow, and it causes the screen to drop to its dimmest setting.
Another thing that's annoying is a lack of a button to open the boot from the outside. You need to either push a button on the driver's door, or use the key.
The final piece of frustration is with how low the front lip is. I'm very mindful of it, and feel like a bit of a duffer having to slow to a crawl for every speed hump or even remotely steep driveway.
Motoring journalists are often criticised for offering their opinions on cars, but never actually being willing to put their money where their mouth is. I thought that I'd buck that trend and buy what is one of the most engaging cars I've driven in a while.
It's properly fun, it creates great conversation (especially with my silly custom plates), and it feels like a proper sports car should.
And the best part? My wife has no interest in driving it!
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