In its final stages of development and fine tuning, Toyota’s next-generation Supra sports car has hit the roads in Australia for further suspension and dynamics tweaking to ensure its suitability for the local and world markets.
Putting the Supra prototype through its paces on a variety of Australian roads are Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada and engineers from Japan, who are supported by Toyota Australia’s vehicle engineering and development (VED) group.
The five-day evaluation and suitability test involved areas where Supra customers are likely to travel, including sweeping country roads, twisty mountain climbs and the Great Ocean Road – considered one of the world’s great drives.
Mr Tada said he had been keen to use Australia’s roads to confirm performance targets for Supra and ensure it would satisfy the dynamic preferences of local drivers.
“We know your drivers tend to favour strong levels of body control and steering feel, particularly for your undulating road surfaces,” Mr Tada said.
“It’s vital the driver feels confident during rough-road cornering and that the car is very stable under braking. Speedo accuracy is also very important.
“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.”
Mr Tada said the local VED group, led by Paul Diamandis, was regarded among the best in the world for suspension tuning and dynamic evaluation.
He said Australia offered surfaces that replicated 80 per cent of the world’s roads, including some of the toughest that would be experienced by customers anywhere.
“I wanted to involve Australia right towards the end of our development program.”
Mr Diamandis said local testing included overall performance and driveability, ride, handling, stability, brakes, seat comfort and insulation from noise, vibration and harshness on coarse-chip bitumen and gravel.
“We’ve taken the Supra prototype across a variety of conditions including popular touring destinations because almost half the people we expect to buy a Supra list their number one hobby as holidays and travel,” Mr Diamandis said.
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Toyota Australia’s vice president sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the new-generation Supra is the rebirth of a Toyota sports-car legend.
“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,” Mr Hanley said.
“These cars, honed under the extreme conditions of motorsport, will demonstrate Toyota’s commitment to ensuring everyone can enjoy the freedom, adventure and excitement of driving,” he said.
Known as the A90, following on from the renowned A80 Supra last sold in 2002, the new model will share a drivetrain and basic underpinnings that are closely linked to the new BMW Z4.
Toyota has confirmed that Australian Supra models will, upon launch, sport a 3.0-litre inline-six fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharger. Power and torque figures are said to be at least 220kW and 450Nm respectively, which should help it complete the 0-100km/h sprint in well under five seconds, according to Toyota.