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MotorWeek | Retro Review: 86 Toyota Supra

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Gen 3 Supra!

First let’s see how toyota’s latest rocket launch is coming along with this third generation supra it’s sort of a milestone for toyota’s top sports model for one thing this isn’t just a fancy six-cylinder celica anymore which is what it had been since its introduction in the 1979 model year the celica itself is all new this year too now it’s front wheel drive the

Supra it remains rear drive so finally it’s very much its own car and that makes this a big investment for toyota the result is to make the new supra a serious challenger for the flashy u.s sports and pony car marketplace and this is a big car too it’s longer and heavier than a corvette or ford’s mustang and only slightly smaller than chevy’s camaro but the supra

Still doesn’t have v8 power but then maybe it doesn’t need it we say that after our first experience with toyota’s new supra it was on a day at a fast track in phoenix arizona the sports two plus two is a heavyweight 3450 pounds at its lightest and it was called on to make short and generally impressive work of firebird raceway it may be farther from a slot car than

Ever but the supra now has handling and braking prowess that’s almost on par with the sophisticated power and computerized gadgets like previous supras the new car is aimed at buyers who want lots of luxury with their sport so the ride is softer than its u.s staple mates with more than a modest amount of body roll however with the adjustable suspension in its sport

Mode the stiffer shock valving for the all-independent wishbone suspension kept cornering drama to a minimum it’s still pony car skittish at the rear but less so than the brute force mustang gt its abilities appear to trail only the camaro iroc z and if you go in over your head there’s always enough inline six cylinder power to pull you out torque is not in the v8

Class but it suits the car’s balance the very fast power rack and pinion steering is a bit sparse in on center field but it yanks the super’s nose around smartly the 50 series eagle tires keep the rear end from straying wide until you’ve had more than enough warning overall it’s a hefty feeling but predictable handler styling has also moved completely away from the

Celica the super sports a much more aggressive front end yet the body has one of the cleanest most beautiful shapes of any sporty hatchback we like the flip up headlights with integral washers then there’s the ground hugging air dam with driving lamps the flared wheel openings and side curtains they all look sensational the rear drive configuration not only allowed

For a lower overall stance and slipperier styling it also fit the engineer’s desire for a complex competent suspension that desire is part of the reason that despite being slightly smaller than last year’s car the new supra has gained almost 500 pounds the suspension is assembled on a pair of subframes that are attached to the rest of the chassis a good system

For production but not always for weight watching weight also gets added by the revamped double overhead cam 6 which now sports 3 liters of displacement and a 4 valve per cylinder breathing system ratings are a robust 200 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque but we suspect that a lot of those extra pounds came from the loaded nature of the interior of every

Supra it’s not only wonderful to look at but to many it has the best parts of the car starting with the seats nothing short of superb adjustable eight ways with power assist for side and lower back the sport or leather package adds power height and seat travel then there’s the fully automatic climate system and a super sounding stereo with one button equalizer seen

First on the new celica what the celica didn’t get was the supra’s dual antenna system one in the fender and another one in the hatch there’s also a memory tilt telescopic steering wheel and on that wheel are fingertip auto cruise controls the gauges are housed in a handsome inverted l-shaped pod that puts everything but oil pressure and voltage and direct line of

Sight through the steering wheel only the clock doesn’t look integrated into the dash design there is a back seat but as with other so-called pony cars it’s best used folded flat for luggage as the cargo bay is rather shallow if easily reached through the large glass hatch the supra is also available with a single panel removable roof for effective semi-open-air

Motoring but it is cumbersome to remove and when it’s stored it takes up almost all cargo space as you’d expect supers with the open roof do have more body flex than the top models so the open car seems less secure in tight turns and less sturdy over hard bumps so we opted for the hard top on return to our home ground here we confirm the good handling manners

Of the supra gas shocks help here and provide dampening for a comfortable and quiet 67 decibel at 55 mile per hour ride our car had the sport package that adds limited slip and toyota’s electronically modulated suspension like most automatic systems it will adjust shock valving not spring rates so having t-e-m-s and either its sport or normal mode made little

Difference in handling ability only in driver feel the five-speed shifter is perfectly positioned and near perfect in linkage execution it transmits power to the rear wheels with smooth precision so a 0 to 60 time of 8.5 seconds was faster than it felt likewise the 16 seconds needed for an 87 mile per hour quarter mile breaking two is most assuring although we

Wonder why such a high-tech model doesn’t yet have anti-lock brakes it would have been appreciated even though the all disk system was easy to modulate still the super needed only a mere 102 feet to stop fade free from 55. so there are a lot of positives on the new 18 000 plus supra performance parameters of acceleration handling and braking and it’s a beautiful

Car inside and out with loads of standard and optional creature comforts negatives include its weight an automatic suspension system that really doesn’t do much and if ordered a difficult to handle roof panel but the last two items are almost expected on this class of import and the new toyota supra is a class leader but is it able competition for the likes of

Mustangs and camaros well not current designs but maybe future ones even without v8 muscle the supra gives us a good estimate of where large road hugging pony cars are headed it’s just that the supra got there first you

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MotorWeek | Retro Review: '86 Toyota Supra By MotorWeek