As all the time on PH, the feedback on Toyota’s launch of the 2.0-litre Supra had been fascinating – and never somewhat entertaining. Maybe probably the most fascinating tangent of debate, nevertheless, was the one seldom talked about: the not insignificant matter of a sports activities automobile nameplate boasting many years of six-cylinder heritage, now provided with 4 cylinders. There have been some dissenting voices, however not many. Definitely to not the extent of shock that the Porsche Cayman when it adopted a flat-four (albeit totally on the expense of the six) or when the brand new entry level to the F-Type range subtracted two from the cylinder rely.

Which, given how a lot of the Supra mystique is constructed on a straight-six, is one thing of a end result for Toyota. As a result of if the outdated 2JZ did not reply to tuning in addition to it did, would anybody care fairly a lot concerning the Supra? It is why when the A90 launched, Toyota claimed to have delivered a sports activities automobile “devoted to Supra’s heritage and Tada’s mission – a coupe powered by a front-mounted 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels.” As a result of a Supra has a straight six like a Massive Mac has beef. 4 cylinders ought to have the Supraphiles up in arms. However seemingly not but.

Potential furore averted, what you get with the two.Zero is basically the GR Supra we’re now aware of – albeit driving on one-inch smaller wheels and with ever so barely completely different exhausts. All of the drama of the Supra form has transferred to the four-cylinder; that is no frumpy entry-level various. Similar goes for inside: the motive force sits low and comfortable, enveloped by an inside and with bonnet cascading towards the horizon. The Supra works properly as a driving atmosphere, making you are feeling an integral a part of the automobile earlier than shifting wherever. As for the heavy affect of its construct companion, it arguably issues even much less now than it did in 2019; not least as a result of the older BMW dashboard is extra likeable than the newer model – which supplies it an odd kind of enchantment in 2021.

Elsewhere, there has absolutely by no means been four- and six-cylinder derivatives of the identical automobile as carefully associated as the 2 GR Supras. As a part of BMW’s modular household of engines (the six is the B58, this 2.0-litre 4 is the B48 and the 1.5-litre three-cylinder is the B38) each engine makes use of the identical 500cc-per-cylinder design, with further ones added because the set up calls for. A degree the on-paper stats bear out: peak energy within the 3.Zero is made out of 5,000-6,500pm, which is strictly the identical for the two.0. The bigger engine’s 369lb ft most is from 1,600-4,500rpm; the 295lb ft of this automobile is produced from 1,550-4,400rpm.

On the street meaning very comparable traits to these discovered within the flagship. It is an efficient reasonably than a memorable powerplant, a long-stroke slugger preferring to commerce on its mid-range than chase each final rev. Say what you’ll a few Porsche 718’s soundtrack, however its comparable 2.Zero is an efficient deal spritelier, a marked enchancment by way of throttle response, lack of inertia and willingness to rev. A extra beneficial comparability might be discovered within the F-Sort’s own modular 2.0-litre unit: the Supra additionally makes use of quick ratios to intensify the sense of acceleration, and affords a equally inoffensive growl from the exhaust. Induction noise is notable by its absence.

Whether or not the cheaper mannequin is quick sufficient is a tough query. That is as a result of, on the street, its efficiency feels spot on, fast sufficient to excite and entertain with out being so accelerative it is a risk. Hassle is the spec sheet argument is more durable to make, as a result of it is a 258hp, 1,395kg automobile that prices £46,000. Hand on coronary heart, a Yaris GR feels somewhat sooner. Which suggests a equally priced Alpine or Porsche would, too. And the M135i with which the Supra shares a powertrain. Automobiles must be purchased on the expertise, sports activities automobiles particularly; it is onerous to think about many 2.0-litre prospects being disenchanted by the velocity on provide right here – however spec sheet bragging rights are definitely not its forte.

What consumers ought to be capable to shout about, although, is a reinvigorated driving expertise – and from this check, that is completely what they will be doing. The three.0-litre Supra wasn’t unhealthy to drive, by any means, it is simply that this one looks like an enchancment throughout the board. The explanations are usually not onerous to fathom: much less mass means much less work for every part to do, this Supra driving with much less rigidity (smaller wheels most likely assist) and steering extra urgently, its tangible discount in inertia benefitting each state of affairs. The automobile is fitted with equivalent brakes to its six-cylinder sibling, too; with 100kg much less to haul down (and they’re Toyota’s official UK figures, with 1,395kg taking part in 1,495kg with out driver), it stops higher than earlier than, too.

Level is, the discount in weight makes for a way more rewarding Supra to drive, the extra poise and agility imbuing extra of a ‘sports activities automobile’ character to the expertise. It feels genuinely mild (it is truly solely 30kg greater than a 718 Cayman PDK), flowing with the floor and darting in direction of bends in a lovely style; the usual (excellent) lively differential lends precision and composure that the comparable F-Sort does not provide, too, as a result of a locking diff is not an choice.

Furthermore, there are some very nice touches that enhance the expertise. Sport mode does not spoil the Supra, with the damping tightened up properly, the mid-way setting for the traction management strikes an excellent stability between grip and slip and the handbook mode is simply that – it does not kick down or change up it doesn’t matter what. Which is good.

Which makes the unhealthy bits all of the extra irksome. Although configurable, the usual Sport mode, largely welcome for damping, steering and gearbox, turns the throttle pedal right into a change; all of the efficiency apparently proper on the high of the pedal. Which isn’t superb, however particularly not when the brake journey is a tad lengthy as nicely. Given the gearbox is broadly very nicely achieved, with snappier downshifts than the three.0-litre, it is a disgrace to not really feel a bit extra linked to the expertise – each gearlever and paddles may provide extra resistance. Similar for the steering: you study to belief the immediacy off centre and the acquisition of the chunky 255-section entrance Michelin Tremendous Sports activities, nevertheless it does not come from the marginally glassy steering response. Sat up to now again within the chassis, confidence is vital, and there is not a shortfall of it right here.

Nonetheless, it is a actually first rate chassis – succesful and entertaining in the most effective front-engined, rear-drive custom, and is the most effective Supra to drive Toyota has but made. Whether or not that sweeter expertise is adequate to efficiently market the two.0-litre mannequin stays to be seen. As a result of everyone knows that stats promote automobiles much more successfully than the subjective stuff; £7k extra buys the three.0-litre and 340hp, which is a major achieve. And people centered on outright dealing with in four-cylinder sports activities automobiles are nonetheless higher served by the 718 Cayman and Alpine A110. Though the Supra definitely feels a extra enticing proposition than a four-cylinder F-Sort, for what that is price.

Will that be sufficient? Let’s examine. As a result of the Supra’s imperfections – the plain allure deficit of six cylinders towards 4, a drive that may’t fairly reside as much as the section’s greatest – should not unfairly detract from its general enchantment. The brand new entry-level mannequin is a rather well sorted sports activities automobile, in addition to a good-looking, well-built, refined two-door coupe. In isolation it is spectacular and actually reasonably likeable, scoring greater on each counts than you’d have initially thought potential. Whether or not it is going to nonetheless appear that manner when measured towards a direct rival, we goal to seek out out in brief order…

SPECIFICATION | TOYOTA GR SUPRA 2.0

Engine: 1,998cc, four-cyl turbo
Gearbox: Eight-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Energy (hp): [email protected],000-6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],600-4,500rpm
0-62mph: 5.2 secs
Prime velocity: 155mph (restricted)
Weight: 1,395kg (with out driver)
MPG: 38.7
CO2: 167g/km
Value: £45,995

Picture credit score | Harry Rudd