It is an open secret that the brand new Toyota Supra shares its platform and powertrain with the newest BMW Z4. But the Japanese automobile is a coupe, whereas the German is a roadster.
And based on Toyota, its exterior shares solely three pairs of things with the Z4 – windscreen wipers, door mirrors and door handles.
The Supra, code-named A90, remains to be a camouflaged prototype at this stage, about 4 months away from its official debut, whereas the BMW Z4 has already been revealed.
Despite the camouflage utilized to the bodywork of the prototype, I may discern the automobile’s form. It seems to have curves in the suitable locations, together with a “double-bubble” on the roof and a protruding “duck-tail” behind the trailing fringe of the rear windscreen.
The slinky tail-lights and “ice cube” headlights look good and the dual exhaust tailpipes are of an acceptable measurement for a high-performance automobile. Those pipes produce a tasty burble as I drive off – and straight into downtown Madrid’s Monday morning rush hour.
The engine is just a bit louder than the exhaust notice at these low speeds of 20kmh to 40kmh, restricted by the heavy site visitors.
Visibility from behind the wheel is great for such a low-slung coupe. The automobile can also be straightforward to place on the highway and manoeuvre amid different automobiles.
Much of the inside has been shrouded for this media test-drive. Only the driving-related controls and devices are uncovered.
The gear lever and its surrounding switches appear to be BMW components, as do adjusters for the driving force’s seat. The seat itself helps the torso and shoulders higher than the thighs, however affords good total consolation throughout cruising.
The Supra’s instrument cluster integrates a digital show with bodily rev-counter numerals. I have by no means seen the same cluster design in some other cockpit earlier than.
And I have by no means heard as a lot highway noise inside a Toyota earlier than. Not even within the boisterous 86.
Once the engine is racing, and including its racy sound to the proceedings, intense mechanical music overpowers the highway noise.
With its eight-speed automated transmission left to its personal units in D mode, upshifts are slick however not significantly fast.
The powertrain picks up the tempo dramatically when Sport mode is activated.
Downshifting turns into aggressive and each full-throttle upshift bangs the gear in and crops a giant smile on my face – quick.
My smile will get greater once I play with the plasticky paddles and realise that the gearbox lets every gear cling to the 7,000rpm rev restrict (the redline is marked 500rpm beneath that).
The engine screams enthusiastically like a race-track refugee till I faucet the “plus” paddle and do it yet again, only for enjoyable. Rushing the Supra to 100kmh from a rolling begin of about 10kmh feels tremendous, and pushing on from 100kmh to 200kmh feels equally tremendous.
The brakes carry out fantastically and the brake pedal modulates stopping energy completely – whether or not slowing the automobile right down to a easy cease within the metropolis or scrubbing off velocity in pressing chunks on a circuit.
A couple of laps on the Jarama racetrack reinforce my impression of the Supra’s inflexible physique, vigorous efficiency, balanced dealing with, and correct and well-weighted steering.
Toyota has not supplied the automobile’s technical information, however the engine might be a BMW-supplied, turbocharged Three-litre inline-six that produces greater than 300hp and properly over 400Nm. The automobile is claimed to weigh round 1,500kg.
Supra assistant chief engineer Masayuki Kai says the prototype’s is 95 per cent carried out, whereas its software program is lower than 90 per cent finalised.
Hopefully, it drives even higher when it’s unmasked. The automobile is predicted to succeed in Singapore by the third quarter of subsequent yr.
•The author is the editor of Torque, a motoring month-to-month revealed by SPH Magazines.