Toyota GR Supra First Drive Review: Worthy of the Name

476
United States
United States
dabz343
The Supra's styling adaptation from the forward-thinking design of the FT-1 (designed by Calty in California) is sadly horrendous and discernible buyers will be repelled by the fundamentally unresolved overall proportions. The front facia is barely attractive enough, but the rear is a total disaster. Look at the vertical mass and how the supra loses all that lateral drama in the hips of the FT-1.

Sure there were package limitations, I get it, but to slap on the styling elements without considering the overall proportions and how it alters the persona of the car is just not good enough to justify a purchase a over very competitive rivals.

Toyota had a great opportunity here to do something iconic--leveraging the provocative FT-1, instead they have just given birth to the modern version of the Pontiac Aztek.


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1,895
Canada
Ontario
bloodyboyblue
The Supra's styling adaptation from the forward-thinking design of the FT-1 (designed by Calty in California) is sadly horrendous and discernible buyers will be repelled by the fundamentally unresolved overall proportions. The front facia is barely attractive enough, but the rear is a total disaster. Look at the vertical mass and how the supra loses all that lateral drama in the hips of the FT-1.

Sure there were package limitations, I get it, but to slap on the styling elements without considering the overall proportions and how it alters the persona of the car is just not good enough to justify a purchase a over very competitive rivals.

Toyota had a great opportunity here to do something iconic--leveraging the provocative FT-1, instead they have just given birth to the modern version of the Pontiac Aztek.

No, this is the modern version of the Aztek.
51C8E778-E734-4BE2-95BD-267F39ADE11E.jpeg


As for the Supra, whatever. Not really the type of car I’d ever be interested in. The Lexus RC, on the other hand, is everything the Supra always was, a big, heavy, 2+2 GT that screams “Japan” in every possible way, from its styling to its mechanicals. The only thing missing is the straight six. Of course, the RC also easily could’ve been a new Soarer.

Don’t get the uproar about the Supra’s styling, it’s just a generic sporty car (the lack of manual transmission and the lack of JDMness are its two killer flaws for its target audience). I felt the same way about the Nissan Juke, everyone was always in uproar about it but they just blend into traffic.
 
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476
United States
United States
dabz343
Toyota had the FT-1 concept in their hands, what is the reason for creating an uglier version for the masses? Not surprising to see other manufacturers continuing the Aztek debacle, but at Toyota? With their talented Calty studio?

What is the point of having a dedicated R&D studio in California if the production crew does not know how to translate those designs into production vehicles--that don't blend into traffic?
 
1,895
Canada
Ontario
bloodyboyblue
Toyota had the FT-1 concept in their hands, what is the reason for creating an uglier version for the masses? Not surprising to see other manufacturers continuing the Aztek debacle, but at Toyota? With their talented Calty studio?

What is the point of having a dedicated R&D studio in California if the production crew does not know how to translate those designs into production vehicles--that don't blend into traffic?

Literally every concept that’s been translated to a production vehicle can be accused of this. They have to adhere to regulations and production realities that concepts don’t.

See also the last Subaru WRX, which had the forums alight for the same reasons. So did the Toyota 86 to a lesser extent. Anything that has a strong enthusiast following is going to leave a lot of people disappointed when it doesn’t look just like the concept car.
 
3,707
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
God, what is it about this car that attracts people?

Literally every concept that’s been translated to a production vehicle can be accused of this. They have to adhere to regulations and production realities that concepts don’t.

Exactly! There is, in fact, a notable discussion about this very topic in the A90 thread:

That's not a great comparison.

There are two types of concept cars that eventually make "production". The first are visual concepts only, designed to give a flavour of what the eventual production car may one day look similar to.

The other type - that Lexus (indeed, many Lexus concepts) being one, is where the production car's styling (and probably many other attributes) is already set in stone, and the "concept" is more like a slightly jazzed-up production car to stir up press shortly ahead of launch.

BMW does this a lot. Remember this?


That's the 2007 BMW M3 Concept. No, really, it's not the production car. I mean, it is, but technically it's the concept and probably didn't move under its own steam. The Range Rover LRX (later the Evoque) was similar, as was the original Audi TT concept, which basically just gained a couple of quarter windows for production.

The original Porsche Boxster Concept was rather different - more like the Supra. The concept had the look and feel of the production car, but it was a true concept - the production car was significantly toned down and had to work with proportions dictated by production constraints and tooling. So it went from this sleek, 550 Spyder-esque thing:


...to the slightly dumpy production car we actually got. You can obviously see the visual similarities (as you can with the FT-1 against the production Supra) but the end result was necessarily toned down. And it's very different from the way something like the Lexus LC was revealed as a "concept".

The bottom line is that it's not always possible for manufacturers to simply put a "concept" into production. If a production car looks like its concept, that's generally because the company basically turned a production car into a concept with some fancy trim so they could show it off at an auto show.

And before he shoots back at you with some random example of "but car X looked exactly like the concept" it should be pointed out that one off concepts that made it virtually unscathed to production, stuff that gets produced due to wild and unexpected demand and deposits, are rarely actually good or long lasting once the initial flurry is over. The production Viper looked almost exactly like the concept and was a great car... eventually, after Chrysler put 4 more years of development into it following its debut. The Veyron hit the ground running from its 1999 concept... after Volkswagen threw functionally unlimited money at it to overcome all the problems they were having making its design functional.

Toyota had the FT-1 concept in their hands, what is the reason for creating an uglier version for the masses? Not surprising to see other manufacturers continuing the Aztek debacle, but at Toyota? With their talented Calty studio?

Because...the FT-1 was a concept? Something that isn't exactly indicative of the final production model?

I'd seriously recommened reading this post - it's not directly related to the A90, but I think does a good job at explaining to the 'why doesn't the A90 look like the FT-1?!?' crowd why it wasn't ever going to look like that:

Both cars were design studies (it's literally in the FT-1's name; Future Toyota 1). While there was demand for both cars, one has to take in account the manufacturer & market. Toyota had to do their research & analyze if they built both cars, what can they take to production and what market they could successfully sell each car in. The Lexus went through nearly unscathed because the demand was to introduce the car's design exactly as it was seen in concept form. Read that again. The design is what people wanted. Now, given that Lexus had the advantage of a higher market and a car wanted for its looks, Toyota was in a much easier position to study how to sell the car and what its buyers would accept. Given that it would be the brand's new flagship, means a much easier way to market the car at $100,000+. There were no performance aspirations, it was a luxury car wanted for its looks in a high end market. Production numbers weren't expected to be high, so the focus was just getting the car out there.

Toyota didn't have that path with the FT-1. It was first conceived as a design study and then used a video game to help sell it. Yes, the car had huge aspirations. Akio green-lit it based on a supercar concept being faster than the LFA in GT.

The problem comes post-concept. How extensive & expensive would it be to bring the concept as it sits, to reality? How could Toyota sell it? What market do they target? Can they move enough units in a upscale market? Can development recoup costs if the car doesn't sell well in that market? Toyota already took a hit going down the supercar road once before. Where does Toyota make compromises then?

Toyota probably could've took a bigger risk and not relied so heavily on BMW, but the other side of the coin is what cost does the car pass on to the consumer? It's already $55,000 which is a high market for Toyota. Is the Supra name enough to get into the $80,000-$100,000 market? Possibly, but does Toyota rely solely on Supra fanboys to buy them? What happens to the manual-owners who would burn the car at the stake for no manual? Does the car affect Toyota's other brand, Lexus? What does Toyota have to do to compete with other performance cars in that price bracket? Z06, GT500, etc. is a hard market to develop against. We go right back around: Can development costs be regained? Will the non Supra dingdongs actually buy it?

This is what those "silly" bean counters take into account.

Calling the A90 the modern day equivalent of the goddamn Pontiac Aztek in terms of concept design to production design truly is one of the most asinine things I have seen written with regards to the A90 - and believe me, I've seen a lot in the last 6-7 months especially.
 
82
United States
United States
Looks like a cheaper less supercar more sports car version... makes sense to me.

A coworker of mine owns one. Looks nice, but your just paying for the name. You can put a ls3 525 in a miata for alot cheaper and eat the supra and gtr put together. I have 16k$ or alittle more in my 90 miata with ls3 525 t56 6 speed and cadillac V rear end. And thats installing it a more correct way for it to look like a normal miata. Some people have done it in well under 10k with used powertrains. There is nothing like the trust of an ls3 miata. With 3 second or less 0-60 on a perfect day and wide rear tires
 
1,895
Canada
Ontario
bloodyboyblue
God, what is it about this car that attracts people?



Exactly! There is, in fact, a notable discussion about this very topic in the A90 thread:







Because...the FT-1 was a concept? Something that isn't exactly indicative of the final production model?

I'd seriously recommened reading this post - it's not directly related to the A90, but I think does a good job at explaining to the 'why doesn't the A90 look like the FT-1?!?' crowd why it wasn't ever going to look like that:



Calling the A90 the modern day equivalent of the goddamn Pontiac Aztek in terms of concept design to production design truly is one of the most asinine things I have seen written with regards to the A90 - and believe me, I've seen a lot in the last 6-7 months especially.

Heck, even the Aztek was compromised from the original concept, which people supposedly liked
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82
United States
United States
You can do lots of things to lots of cars to make them more faster than another car. So? I'm not really sure what this was supposed to add.

Whats it supposed to add? Why pay 60k for a Toyota name on a BMW when you can do the same on your own better for way less
 
3,707
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
Heck, even the Aztek was compromised from the original concept, which people supposedly liked
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The fact of the matter is that all cars change design, from pen and paper, to initial concept shown at auto shows, and then to final production. To beat Toyota over the head with the fact that the A90 doesn't look like the FT-1, when doing so would have priced out a vast, vast majority of the people clamoring for the Supra to come back (Much like the new NSX and the R35 GT-R) is just silly. It's frustrating too, because so much of the criticisms that have dogged the A90 really since the hype started to build up last year has been couched in so much hyperbole, and now that the car is coming to market and blowing those criticisms out of the water, people are just doubling down on them and making it such a challenge to actually discuss the vehicle.

Whats it supposed to add? Why pay 60k for a Toyota name on a BMW when you can do the same on your own better for way less

Some buyers don't exactly want to spend as much, if not more, on a 10 or even 20 year old car, with wildly varying gremlins to take into account, just to tune it up and have it grenade or break down because it's running more power then it's good for.
 
476
United States
United States
dabz343
You guys are daft, but in a good and naive way.

Of course concept cars have enormous freedom of expression, but once the stage has been set in terms of a design direction--the production model has a dutiful responsibility to translate the concept into a design for the masses (this is how the math to scaleability is engineered). Why else does one do a concept car and who doesn't understand this context in terms of feasibility when discussing product development?

As far as adhering to regulations, are you seriously suggesting concept designers and engineers have no knowledge of what needs to happen on the factory floor and they just design away, blue-sky concepts without constraints down the road? LMAO, understand the roles that R&D studios like Calty fulfill and how they integrate into the total product development cycle before commenting on why production cars are different than concept cars.

An example of a good concept to production translation is the BMW i8. There are many, many examples out there that are acknowledged by the industry, it's not rocket science here fellas and Toyota blew an incredible opportunity to bring excitement to their brand with the hideous new Supra.
 
3,707
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
You guys are daft, but in a good and naive way.

No, we seem to be cognizant of the fact that unless it's specific circumstances (And even then!) that most cars change from pen and paper to eventual production, and that what is shown off to the masses at car shows might not be the same two years down the road, or whatever.

An example of a good concept to production translation is the BMW i8.

Yes, because a $100,000+ hybrid halo car is definitely the right comparison for the A90 Supra, a vehicle which will be within the $50,000/60,000 price range and already has a massive (Maybe even overinflated) sense of hype and legacy to live up.

it's not rocket science here fellas and Toyota blew an incredible opportunity to bring excitement to their brand with the hideous new Supra.

They sure seem to be bringing excitement to their brand already with the GT86 and now the A90. Granted, the GT86 is up there and age and the party trick of a light weight, 200 HP sports car is starting to wear off...but it certainly beats getting complaints that the brand as a whole is just appliances and washing machines with no soul like Toyota was getting for a good chunk of the 2000's and early 2010's.
 
476
United States
United States
dabz343
You think concept cars are just for show? Better understand the internal math that drives OEMs to continually bring out new designs before stating rudimentary thoughts that designs change from pen/paper to production codes. You are out of your league about what role concept design studios fulfill in the broader business.

If I bring you a good example of concept to production within the Supra's price target, will you finally say IT CAN BE DONE? Do you understand the investment angle involved in every concept vehicle silver arrows? LMAO
 
3,707
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
You think concept cars are just for show?

Most are, yes. If they are, then the manufacturer would say outright that 'this is showing off a future model' or whatever.

I'd seriously recommend that you read the posts that I quoted from the A90 thread when this exact same argument (Which, aside from you trying to add in that it's a failure of the Calty studio, is the exact same as the 'wull why doesn't the A90 look like the FT-1?!' arguments) came around, because really, that's what your posts are boiling down to.
 
3,707
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

VXR
Showing the back of the A80 Supra against the much more sculpted A90 rear is rather odd. It was hardly the epitome of style in period.

And not even a stock A80 at that. One with a big ass wing, and surely with aftermarket body parts on it too. So it isn't even a fair comparison if we're going to be doing the A80 > FT-1 > A90 comparison.
 
783
United States
United States
Tunerguy21
Didn't Toyota specifically say that the FT-1 would not be the new Supra back when it (the FT-1) was first unveiled? I remember something to the effect of "Its not a Supra, but a design study for future Toyotas". If that is the case, why are we still on "but its not the FT-1 tho"?
 
476
United States
United States
dabz343
476
United States
United States
dabz343
Didn't Toyota specifically say that the FT-1 would not be the new Supra back when it (the FT-1) was first unveiled? I remember something to the effect of "Its not a Supra, but a design study for future Toyotas". If that is the case, why are we still on "but its not the FT-1 tho"?

Yes, that's what was communicated from corporate, but then they copied and pasted all the FT-1 design elements into a hideous shape like juvenile designers.

I would have preferred that Toyota interpret the FT-1 design and adapt it to the Supra's production package...producing a special, unique design that differs from the FT-1, but is inspired by the FT-1 design and perhaps establish Toyota's overarching design language.

Instead, Toyota said the FT-1 will not be the new Supra, then made it look very similar but with all sorts of proportion issues. This is bad design, plain and simple. Sales will not be kind to the new Supra, competition is too fierce in this category.
 

SlipZtrEm

GTP Admin
Staff Emeritus
27,384
Canada
Toronto
NewAesthetic
SlipZtrEm
Aw man, I knew the review was going to drum up discussion, but was hoping at least some of it might be related to the review itself! :lol:

The Lexus RC, on the other hand, is everything the Supra always was, a big, heavy, 2+2 GT that screams “Japan” in every possible way, from its styling to its mechanicals. The only thing missing is the straight six. Of course, the RC also easily could’ve been a new Soarer.

Fair points, but the Supra was never a V8-powered luxury coupe either. :P

Don’t get the uproar about the Supra’s styling, it’s just a generic sporty car (the lack of manual transmission and the lack of JDMness are its two killer flaws for its target audience). I felt the same way about the Nissan Juke, everyone was always in uproar about it but they just blend into traffic.

I dunno, I don't think the "lack of JDMness" will be an issue, because the people who whine about it, outside of a few exceptions, probably weren't ever in the market for one anyway.

I wouldn't call it generic either, since nothing else on the road really looks like it. I meant what I said in the article that I've not driven a car that drew so much attention. It was comparable to when we were part of the classic car convoy in freakin' Monaco, such was the level of rubbernecking.

Whats it supposed to add? Why pay 60k for a Toyota name on a BMW when you can do the same on your own better for way less

"Better" is subjective. And "same" is flat-out wrong. :)

That homebrew Miata won't be as reliable, and when something does go wrong, you can't take it to a dealer. It won't ride as nicely. It won't carry as much stuff nor be as comfortable, but I suppose it might match the Supra on fuel efficiency.

It will out-perform it on a track, sure, but that's been the case for nearly any used-versus-new comparison for the history of cars. It's an apples to aardvarks comparison. People looking for performance-above-all-else won't be looking at a Supra, but people considering a Supra aren't going to be considering $15k on a modified 30-year-old car either.

You guys are daft, but in a good and naive way.

Being supremely condescending to people because they're balking at your genuinely comparing the new Supra to the freakin' Aztek isn't helping your case. So maybe try a different angle?

@homeforsummer's post up-thread provides a few examples of how concepts can and do change for production. For the Supra specifically, Calty knew going in that the production car would differ from the concept, and "purposely blew it up to be a true exotic".

Sales will not be kind to the new Supra, competition is too fierce in this category.

That'd be why this year's allotments are already sold out in the UK, Europe, and Japan, then.
 
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476
United States
United States
dabz343
That'd be why this year's allotments are already sold out in the UK, Europe, and Japan, then.

I have been wrong from time to time, it is a surprise to know that pre-orders are strong, but we will have to see if the Supra can sustain market share given the competition in its category...my take from experience is that the Supra will struggle to hit its stretch goals.

But back to the design, your linked MT article even states in the opening paragraph how important the translation from concept to production is--absolutely critical. And this is where the Supra fails IMO. The volumes and proportions on the FT-1 are difficult to manufacture and the tooling necessary to pull it off should have been limiting factors that steered the stakeholders to conceive a cohesive design that works with the Supra's package.

If you cannot keep the integrity of the design intact, then you are risking what may look like a frankenstein like the Aztek.
 
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