Modern reincarnation of Toyota Supra lands for testing
THE Toyota Supra's regeneration is almost complete.
Production of the long-awaited sequel of the iconic nameplate is due to start in the first half of next year.
But before it lands in showrooms the brand's Australian engineering team and the car's creator - Tetsuya Tada - are in Australia fine-tuning the prototype sporty coupe in local conditions.
The group has spent a week in Victoria driving about the Yarra Valley, Mount Buller, Bendigo and along the Great Ocean Road to assess the vehicle on Australian roads.
Toyota Australia's vehicle engineering and development team is led by Paul Diamandis who says the testing is focusing on "driveability, seat comfort and brakes."
The vehicle's urban agility, rough cornering stability and ultra high speed agility is also on the agenda.
"Working on aspects of handling and other details here in Australia allows us to make refinements that will result in a better car right up until production starts in the first part of next year," says Tada.
Toyota Australia marketing and sales boss Sean Hanley added: "Supra is the halo model for Toyota sports cars and our new GAZOO Racing (GR) brand, heralding a new generation of stylish driver-focused cars with enhanced dynamics and performance."
Chief engineer Tada says the coupe will accommodate all kinds of drivers and will have a special focus on cornering and driver excitement.
"For Supra I haven't thought about any fuel consumption, everything is just a sports car, the feeling is focused on excitement.
"All stages of turning there is a neutrality, you can feel with this car - there is nothing to compare," he says.
Tada says that the Supra is a much more serious sports car than the 86, citing the car's 50-50 weight distribution, track focus and a wheelbase that is shorter than the 86's. But affordability is one key element that all Toyota sports cars must have.
It has been a long road getting the Supra to the later stages of production. Tada says that working with BMW presented more challenges than working with Subaru.
"The direction of ideas, the cars are different, and because we are using BMW parts and then you have to develop the Toyota-taste car using the BMW parts. So that was the first stage that we found difficult. It took one and a half year to agree to that point," says Tada.
Tada for the moment is still focusing on Supra rather than the company's next sports car saying that "every year you have to update or customers will leave."
Tada mooted that there would be special editions further down the line.
The production version of the Supra is due to be revealed at the 2019 Detroit motor show in January.