Pace Notes

IF IT HAPPENED THIS MONTH, IT’ IN HERE

SN

01 NEW SUPRA!

STOP, PRESS! Toyota’ über-coupe revealed

THE FIFTH-GENERATION Toyota Supra has made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The public reveal brought to an end one of the most protracted teaser campaigns of recent years, which began five years ago with the unveiling of the Toyota FT-1 Concept at the 2014 Detroit show.

In fact, the new Supra’ basic silhouette goes back much further, to the FT-HS concept that appeared at Detroit in 2007. The GFC quickly killed that program, however, the FT-1 germinated the seed sown by the FT-HS. The radical styling of the FT-1, penned by Toyota’ forward-thinking California-based design centre, has been understandably toned down for production, but it remains remarkably close to the show-stopping concept.

The new Supra would not exist without the passion of Toyota President Akio Toyoda. In a statement, Toyoda said: “I spent countless hours driving an old Supra at the Nurburgring to become a master driver. Supra is like an old friend that holds a special place in my heart. So even though Toyota had no plans to make a new Supra, just like a lot of other die-hard fans around the world, I secretly wanted to make it happen.”

Also key to the project’ viability was the involvement of BMW. The Mk V Supra, codenamed A90, is twinned with the new Z4, the two cars sharing much of their DNA. BMW and Toyota worked together for around two years to finalise the hard points and mechanical specification before the design teams went their separate ways to style their respective sports cars. BMW’ design boss, Adrian Van Hooydonk, told UK outlet Top Gear, “We immediately agreed on the hard points and what we want in terms of proportions.”

Coincidence or not, Toyota’ desired layout was eerily similar to that of the Mk IV Supra. The iconic JZA80 measured 4516mm long, 1811mm wide and 1265mm tall with a 2550mm wheelbase. Its successor is 4380mm long, 1865mm wide, 1295mm tall and has a 2470mm wheelbase. At 1520kg, that undercuts the JZA80 by just 6kg.

What it also shares with its predecessor is a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight six under the bonnet. BMW’s new-generation B58 engine from its various M40i models endows the Supra with 250kW from 5000-6500rpm and 500Nm from 1600-4500rpm thanks to its twin-scroll turbocharger and 11.0:1 compression ratio.

Unlike the venerated 2JZ and its perfectly square bore/stroke ratio (its 86.0 x 86.0mm measurements are identical to the 86’s FA20), the short-stroke B58 uses a 94.6mm bore and 82.0mm stroke to rev keenly to 7000rpm. It’s attached to a close-ratio eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, with its speeds in each gear being 54km/h (1st), 84km/h (2nd), 130km/h (3rd), 164km/h (4th) and 215km/h (5th). The 250km/h top speed is reached at 6200rpm in sixth and 5100rpm in seventh, while cruising at its electronically limited v-max in eighth requires just 3970rpm. Good for those autobahn blasts.

The gearbox is shift-by-wire (no mechanical link) and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential will be standard on Aussie Supras, able to transfer between zero and 100 per cent of the drive to either rear wheel thanks to its multi-plate clutches.

Also standard on local Supras will be 19-inch wheels. Measuring 9.0 inches wide front and 10.0 inches rear, they’re wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports 255/35 up front and 275/35 at the rear. The Supra was tested extensively at the Nurburgring, where it’s rumoured to be capable of a 7min40sec lap time. However, chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, the man responsible for the 86, says: “We set out to create a pure sports car that would attain the ultimate in the fun of driving. Rather than working towards lap times, we emphasised the degree to which driving could be felt to be fun.”

Toyota claims the A90’s steel and aluminium bodyshell has greater structural rigidity than the carbon construction Lexus LFA, while the centre of gravity is lower than an 86 and the weight distribution a perfect 50:50 front-to-rear. Electrically assisted power steering controls a MacPherson strut front end with double-joint springs, the rear is a five-link setup and there are adaptive dampers at both ends. Aluminium control arms reduce unsprung weight. A high-performance brake package will also appear as standard on Aussie Supras.

Inside is a curious mix of Toyota and BMW, the full-width air vent sandwiched between the iDrive infotainment system, HVAC controls and gear selector from the Z4. Likewise the Toyota-badged steering wheel inset with BMW buttons. The instrument display is taken care of by an 8.8-inch TFT display and a full-colour head-up display is standard. Whether or not customers will care about the shared switchgear may depend on the price.

At the time of writing, this crucial piece of information is unknown. Toyota Australia will only say that local cars will have a high specification level and that a mere 300 cars will be sent our way from the plant in Graz, Austria, in the first 12 months. If the mechanically identical BMW Z4 M40i’s Aussie ask of $124,900 is anything to go by, a price tag of less than six figures may be unlikely, which would put the Supra head-to-head with the likes of the BMW M2 Competition, Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110. Let’s hope it’s worth the wait. –

SN

KNOW YOUR SUPRAS: A HISTORY

40 years of six-cylinder, rear-drive Toyota sports cars

02 GT500 ATTACKS

HOLY TYRE SMOKES! Ford cooks up mental 522kW-plus Shelby

FORD HAS BLOWN the Mustang into the realms of supercar performance with the release of its eagerly anticipated supercharged Shelby GT500.

Snuck under its bulging bonnet is the GT350’s 5.2-litre Voodoo V8, with a cross-plane crank, to handle the delivery from a 2.65-litre supercharger. It’s strengthened to withstand earthcrumbling power, with longer cylinder head bolts and new seals in the block.

It backs onto a new Tremec sevenspeed dual-clutch transmission that drives a carbon-fibre propshaft.

The new transmission, promised to shift gears in less than 100 milliseconds, also has a line-lock function and rpm selectable launch control starts.

Exact performance figures are being withheld to build suspense towards its launch late this year, but Ford Performance claims it’ll produce more than 522kW, accelerate to 97km/h from rest in around 3.5 seconds and run 10-second quarter-mile times.

For perspective, the Ford GT supercar develops 482kW/746Nm from its 3.5litre twin-turbo V6. And Dodge claims 10.8sec quarter miles for its 594kW Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody.

Lighter springs coil around new generation MagneRide adaptive dampers. They work with revised GT350 suspension geometry and a new electronic power steering unit to control custom Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

The standard car, without options, rolls on 20-inch wheels that are 11 inches wide at the front and 11.5 inches at the rear. Up front stronger Brembo sixpiston calipers clamp 420mm two-piece brake rotors.

With the GT500 only to be produced in left-hand drive (booo), Ford Australia confirmed to MOTOR no plans to bring this super ’Stang Down Under. However, local firm Mustang Motorsport will locally import, comply and convert a select run. Exact pricing and specification will follow once Ford confirms such details, as well as an expected Q3 launch. –

LC

03 ULTIMATE REX!

SUPER SCOOBY! Subaru builds 254kW widebody WRX STI

SUBARU HAS SHOCKED its aging WRX STI back into life with the release of its new S209 limited edition (for, sadly, the US only). And the all-paw brawler comes out swinging with the most powerful engine STI has put in a road-going model.

Starting with the 2.5-litre boxer four in the standard WRX STI, it’s upgraded internally with forged pistons and connecting rods. On top of the combustion chamber its exhaust valve springs are stronger, while the fuel system has been beefed up with new injectors and fuel pump.

A larger HKS-developed turbocharger sucks through a new intake system comprising air filter, intake tract and box. Boost pressure is up from 16.2psi to 18psi and controlled by a new ECU tune. Meanwhile, exhaust gases are piped through new mufflers and larger 101mm exhaust tips that promise a growl just as aggressive as its bite.

Speaking of, the total power figure stands at an “estimated” 254kW, claims Subaru, or 33kW healthier than the standard car. There’s no mention of how the car’s maximum torque figure of 407Nm at 4000rpm has been affected, except that it’s increased mid-range torque by 10 per cent at 3600rpm. A new manually operated intercooler water spray system will keep outputs consistent on hot days.

Grunt is channelled through the car’s standard close-ratio six-speed transmission with a “performance clutch”. Thanks to a significant chassis transformation, it grips into the tarmac via specially developed tyres, Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600As.

At 265mm wide, they’re 20mm wider than standard items and have forced engineers to broaden the car by 43.2mm at each end. They’re said to aid cooling and cut drag while the aero package also adds an exclusive front splitter, bumper winglets and a new dry-carbon rear spoiler.

Grip is further enhanced by custom Bilstein shocks, stiffer springs and “pillow-ball” style lateral suspension links front and rear. They’ re complemented by pillow ball braces underneath its bodyshell and across its front struts.

Visual upgrades to the exterior continue with a dry-carbon roof and exclusive BBS 19 by 9.0-inch lightweight alloys. Buyers can order an S209 in either Crystal White with gold wheels, or Blue Pearl with grey wheels.

But Aussies will need to holster their cheque books. The S209 succeeds limited edition S-line models (see sidebar) as the first one sold in, and built exclusively for, America. In fact, it’ the first to be offered outside Japan. Only 200 will be made in Kiryu, two hours north of Tokyo.

We understand Subaru’ special treatment of America with the S209 is due to its favourable market share of sales and higher grade fuel availability. But you won’ see one on American roads until late this year and Subaru hasn’ yet announced how much it’ hit buyers in the pocket. Either way, consider us jealous. –

LC

SIX STI S-LINE SPECIALS

04 RC F STRIPS OFF

V8 TRACK SPECIAL! Lexus adds lightness to atmo rear-drive coupe

A NEW LIGHTWEIGHT track-hungry Lexus RC F has been revealed alongside an updated base model. Called the, erm, Track Edition, the halo variant slashes 65kg from the car’ normal kerb weight and benefits from a host of revisions to the standard car.

Lexus says 23kg is shed from its wheels and brakes that are now light BBS 19-inch alloys with Brembo carbon-ceramics. Further kilograms drop from the carbon-fibre parts like its roof, rear seat partition, bonnet, front air dam and rear fixed wing which replaces the active unit. Its front “bumper reinforcement” is also carbon. The final party piece is a unique titanium muffler.

The Track Edition enhances the standard RC F’ package that has new hollow axles and stiffer rear suspension bushings. Aluminium “toe-control brackets and upper suspension support brackets” also feature with new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

Stronger steering rack and engine mounts sit underneath its 5.0-litre V8. Carrying over 351kW/530Nm, it now opens its secondary intake path at 2800rpm instead of 3600rpm. With launch control and an eight-speed automatic, Lexus claims 0-100km/h is completed in “around four seconds”, but it’ unclear how much better it’ be than the car’ current 4.5-second claim.

Both variants will land this May, and will be distinguished by new tail-lights, headlights and front splitter.

Further details on them, including local pricing, will be confirmed closer to its launch date. –

LC

05 BRABHAM GOES STREET-LEGAL

MAYBE WE should have guessed this was coming, but a recent announcement from Brabham has revealed there’ enough demand for a road-legal conversion option for the BT62 supercar.

In a seemingly reluctant press statement, David Brabham said, “This isn’ a car designed for the road. With that said, it’ clear some customers are keen to have a road-compliant option with their BT62, particularly to drive to and from the track.”

The process is currently available for UK buyers, but is being developed for Australia and other markets also.

It retains 522kW from its 5.2-litre atmo V8, but the implication from Brabham is that it’ no longer have the same track capability and pack extra heft. Brabham for PCOTY 2020? –

CT

PROMINENT PONY

How to make a Mustang stand out from the rest of the herd

THE MUSTANG HAS always been a desirable nameplate and, until recently, modern Mustangs have stood out on Australian roads.

However, when it was announced as a core part of Ford’ range, it left some searching for new ways ensure their Pony still turned heads.

While there are no shortage of go-fast parts on offer for the Mustang, there are few that compare to the full treatment of a Roush MM-R727: turning the wick up from of the stock 5.0-litre’ 306kW to a staggering 543kW courtesy of an upgraded stage-two supercharger kit and exhaust system.

Of course with so much extra grunt, handling upgrades are a must with the Roush package including fully adjustable Shockworks handling kit and upgraded slotted rotors to complement the six-pot Brembo calipers and a set of Bridgestone’ Potenza S007A tyres to put the extra power to road.

Potenza S007A was introduced as Bridgestone’ flagship performance tyre when it launched. With improvements to responsiveness, new levels of stability for both every day and high-speed applications, heightened grip and corning ability, improved braking capabilities and increased wear life compared to previous generation tyres, the S007A is ideal for high-end performance cars and modified muscle cars alike.

Just as the Roush MM-R727 pack has proven as the ideal way for this Mustang owner to turn heads, Bridgestone’ Potenza S007A is proving itself as a reliable performance tyre for purists and tuners.