E s was just a quick look , so in passing. Sometime in autumn, somewhere in the force field of the Nordschleife, where Toyota treats itself to a small test workshop. Incognito, in the village, building brand fire equipment house. On the first floor the door was ajar. Behind it is a simple wooden locker, a narrow bed and two racing overalls on the hook.
They belong to Akyo Toyoda - Toyota boss, racing fan, Nordschleife freak, 24-hour racer. It is his room, his refuge, when he is here incognito again. At the Ring, in the Eifel, to drive one of his babies. Cool stuff like GT86, Lexus LFA and now the new Supra. As they say: personally inspected by “master driver” Toyoda.
The Japanese probably don't have it any smaller, you might think. And are wrong. Even if the Supra is actually a BMW Z4 with a roof and a bit of Japanese aroma - let's be happy that there is still something like this: To pull off an automobile heartfelt matter apart from electrification and profit maximization with a suitable partner instead of letting it slip from the start .
Whereby - the Supra can whiz. With the B 58, perhaps the best three-liter, six-cylinder in-line engine in the world. A good choice, because if there is an in-line six-cylinder, then BMW. And if the excellent ZF eight-speed automatic and an accurately made chassis are included - all the better. Partnership instead of badge engineering, assembled in Graz. Runs!
Power and character
And what's going on at Audi? For example the TT RS, the one for a duel with the Supraroars. How this one was ennobled as 'Engine of the Year'. Specifically: the transversely mounted five-cylinder turbo with dual clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. They squeeze 400 hp from the two-and-a-half liter, originally based on the US Jetta drive. Let's forget that, rather mumble the TT-RS mantra: 1-2-4-5-3. The oblique firing order for controlled restlessness, smooth pulsing, angry trumpeting.
And performance on top. At the start a turbo lag yawns, from 3,500 revolutions per minute the booth comes to life, from six at the latest there is fire under the roof. Then he gets angry, accelerates with a gentle tremolo, blows away the frustration at the chilled start with 1.35 bar on the charger. On the test site, he hits top times in the summer heat. Slip losses? Nope. Switching breaks? Not worth mentioning. To 100? In 3.9 seconds.
And what is the Supra doing in Lahr? The bar is high, it starts running, loads through, traction thanks to the transverse lock and Michelin Pilot Super Sport quite well and ... 4.4. Okay, it also has to make do with 60 hp less, on the other hand it brings 500 Newton meters of torque, which is available earlier than the Audi 480. But what are numbers? What matters are feelings. And that is what the Supra generates. Just how smoothly and cultivated its engine runs.
Dark-bass sound with crema in the drive espresso. This three-liter is a power with muscles under a tailor-made suit, could even motorize a luxury sedan without weakening when hunting in the Swabian Alb. Even StVO-compliant power cruising is a pleasure. How spontaneously it speaks, how softly it whistles with its twin-scroll loader, how solidly it pervades. Or when pressing in Sport mode, you can get closer to the pilot without ever pushing him. Great. The automatic converter always connects the right gears seamlessly to each other, competently sports even in 'D' without added jerking.
The Toyota copes well with tight corners, leaving the active rear axle differential that allows the moments to be stepless and noticeable the rear wheels are distributed, work effectively, supported on the five-link axle and accelerated out powerfully. Okay, the traction control stays in business for a short time on the following straight, but overall it passes even tricky passages smoothly. Especially since the adaptive dampers absorb bumps more effectively than the conventional ones of the Audi TT test car, which does not change its solid grip.
It works better manually
The Audi only comes when the auxiliary electronics are fully activated TT briefly out of rhythm in switchbacks. Its gearbox pokes for the right gear, while it electronically cuts off the air for a short time. Only when the front peeps out of the corner does the engine take another breath. Such maneuvers work better with manual switching in dynamic mode with reduced traction control. Now the all-wheel drive uses its potential, decelerates with pinpoint accuracy, turns in without significant understeer, stays awake at the top and accelerates out of the corner in one go.
As long as the engine fires between 5,000 and 6,500 revolutions per minute, you drive the RS gets dizzy without having to fiddle with the driving dynamics cutlery box or even sweat the Alcantara steering wheel wet. The part not only looks great, it also commands great steering, perhaps the best currently at Audi. At this point the discussion about the nature of a good sports car could ignite - more heated than the cylinder heads after driving at full throttle. Should the car be deliberately imperfect and demanding, or should it cold-bloodedly run every desired pace and every desired line?
The Audi is one of the latter. His steering doesn't talk about operas, communicates exactly what you need to know. Impacts or influences from bumps are not included. In addition, the manual torque remains constant, the required steering angle uniform and homogeneous. In addition, there is stable straight-line stability and accuracy at high speeds.
The Supra is different - it steers more quickly and directly, appears lighter and more agile, more willing to turn, more animated, and involves the driver more This is also due to the fact that between the first point of articulation and the moment the car has cornered, there is always a slight restlessness and movement noticeable - both in the steering and in the car. The front and rear axles always work slightly delayed, and the steering babbles more frankly about the condition of the road.
This requires a short period of familiarization, but rewards it with an extra portion of joy, especially since the Supra's agility does not come with nervousness or borderline hectic he buys. With a little concentration, you can achieve a smooth, active driving style. Even if the pedal feel is not quite as transparent as in the Audi - both deliver stable top values. At least on the road and test site
Involving: the Supra
And how do you feel in the cockpit? More intimate in the Supra than in the TT, which places its pilot higher up. Both have strong seats with adjustable side bolsters, a wide center console plus a high dashboard with an infotainment screen on it, and comprehensive assistance only from Toyota. Audi relies on a flexible central display, but does not deliver relevant things such as adaptive cruise control, emergency braking assistants and eCall emergency calls not even for a surcharge.
Unlike the Supra, which can also be used here at BMW - from the steering column levers to the safety systems to infotainment. This provides Apple Carplay as well as online real-time traffic information, updated road maps and a great sound system - at a price of 62,900 euros all inclusive. Just like the independently designed main instrument as a mix of analog and digital representation. Rather poor, on the other hand: the trunk (290 liters) with a small hatch without a control button on the outside and complete separation from the passenger compartment.
Ha, there is another brief jumble in the points account of the more expensive Audi: In addition to the more careful processing with the The crisp, latching switches and the accurate decors as well as the high-quality surfaces convince the large tailgate and foldable rear seat backrests. In general: rear seats. Wherever people up to 1.60 meters tall can travel briefly in the Audi TT, Toyota serves a cross brace and two subwoofers in a very dry way.
Right, you say? Okay, at least consistently for sports people. Even for those who don't just put on their racing overalls in a small room on the Nordschleife. On that note: Congratulations on the Supra, Toyoda-san. And congratulations on winning the test.