In this "Top Gear" clip, host Chris Harris and "TG" magazine deputy editor Jack Rix share their thoughts about the new Toyota Supra. Jack Rix puts Harris on the defensive right away by asking him to explain a line he wrote in a previous review of the car: "This is one of the strangest cars I've ever driven." Harris initially seems to admit that his perspective may be unique to someone who tests cars so frequently, then explains that what he meant is that he's very used to individual brands and expects certain things from them. "... When I get into an Audi, there's a smell to an Audi, there's a feeling to the seats, there's a feeling to the steering wheel." But when he got behind the wheel of a Supra, it just didn't feel like a Toyota. The two discuss the history of Japanese sports cars and what Harris thinks of the Supra's segment overall. To get the full scoop, you'll have to watch the clip above and don't forget that "Top Gear" airs on BBC America Sundays at 8 p.m. ET.
Honda showed the Urban EV concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, then showed the Sports EV concept at that year's Tokyo Motor Show. Built on the same electric platform as the Urban EV, Honda designers showed how much classic sports car elan they could work into a diminutive package. The Urban EV has since become the production Honda E, due on sale later this year. Autoweek.nl recently dug up Japanese patent office images filed last December that show a potential production version of the Sports EV. The images show a redrawn coupe, the long hood and erect, aft-set glasshouse giving way to a more modish, elegant line. And we'd still rock it until its range ran out. Styling similarities with the Honda E and the original concept remain, such as the round headlights, bulging front fenders that arch above the hood, wide rear haunches, and black decorative panels. Yet within the fastback profile, the corners are much squarer, the cabin's been moved forward, and the taillights are triangular. Along with a shorter hood, the effect is that of a pure mid-engined silhouette, complete with what look like functional vents ahead of the rear wheels. Assuming the dimensions aren't vastly different from those of the show car, we're talking about a product around the size of a Mazda MX-5 Miata. It's not the "backyard custom car feel" that designer Makoto Harada aimed for with the concept, but it puts a lot of pert confidence in a small footprint. At that Tokyo show, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the chances of a production Sport EV concept "depend on feedback from Europe and Japan." Based on our own reading, the feedback's been outstanding, and we know Honda plans to expand use of the Honda E's platform into other vehicle classes, including a commercial vehicle. Of course, patent drawings are nothing more than bookmarks notating a particular piece of intellectual property. However, if Honda put its 35.k-kWh battery and electric motor with 148 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque into the car in these images, we think we'd be looking at another electric hit.
Around the same time as Toyota was on its way to winning the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, the automaker posted video of its coming Le Mans racer on track. Toyota announced the GR Super Sports concept at Le Mans last year, and just announced that it would campaign the race version of that car in the so-called Hypercar class created for the 2020/2021 World Endurance Championship. The show car in the video is our most updated look at what, in road-going trim, could be an all-wheel-drive hybrid with 986-horsepower or more.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda shared wheel time with factory driver Kamui Kobayashi, both men running the prototype between the kerbing at Japan's Fuji Speedway. The exhaust soundtrack has been replaced by a rock soundtrack, so we have no idea yet what the coming treat will sound like. It appears there are two prototypes, one with a roof scoop, one without. Based on the rendered race car Toyota put out with the WEC announcement, our guess is that the race car gets the roof scoop.
We're still salty about not getting the wondrous Alpine A110 mid-engine sports car in America. Count us extra jealous today, though, because Alpine just revealed a hotted-up A110S variant with more performance and new styling.
The 1.8-liter four-cylinder gets a 40-horsepower boost to 288. Torque remains the same at 236 pound-feet. Acceleration to 62 mph happens in just 4.4 seconds, which is one tenth of a second quicker than before. The extra power comes from increased boost pressure, and peak power is reached 400 rpm higher in the rev range at 6,400 rpm. Power is still sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Toyota Supra is back. But let's have some perspective, please. Nostalgia fuels our love for the last-generation car more than its sports car bona fides. Its price was outrageous for its time, and the resulting glacial sales actually killed off the once-booming Supra franchise (it sold a tenth of what its predecessor did). Since then, it's been lionized in popular films and video games, but when the 2020 Toyota GR Supra reaches showrooms on July 22, generations of fans will find a mature, Nürburgring-capable sports car, not the Tokyo-style street racer of yore.
The partnership that birthed the 2020 Supra coupe and BMW Z4 convertible makes the Bimmer the intriguing point-of-comparison, not a wholly unrelated Toyota that died more than 20 years ago. With all respect to the car's loyal tuner crowd, Toyota's job is to sell Supras, not to do fanservice to grown-up tuners or trade in nostalgia. Without BMW engineering and components, for which Toyota ponied up development cash, this Supra wouldn't exist. Nor would the Z4.
While fevered anticipation for the 2020 Supra continues apace, there's been a lot of chatter and rumors surrounding what's next for the 86, Toyota's existing sports coupe and the twin sibling of the Subaru BRZ. Now, the company has announced an international racing-themed special edition called the Hakone Edition.
It's named for the Hakone Turnpike, a privately owned toll road in the mountains two hours southwest of Tokyo that is a favorite of enthusiasts and automobile reviewers. It's based off the 86 GT grade, the sports car's mid-level trim, and it comes swathed in a striking Hakone green exterior paint that evokes the dark highland green of the Ford Mustang Bullitt and is punctuated by bronze on the 17-inch twisted-spoke wheels. There's also a black spoiler.