Although it had been on the market since 1978, the Toyota Supra coupé only reached full maturity between the end of the 1980s and the following decade, when it severed all ties with the Celica and became a model in its own right. For around a decade, in fact, Toyota used this name for the top-of-the-range variant of the Celica, initially distinguished only by its trim and then gradually by its engines and looks.
Between the 1986 third series, the first 'stand-alone', and the subsequent '93 series, however, there are quite a few differences that make each previous series suddenly seem 'old' and unattractive. Starting with the look.
Short and 'bad'
The Toyota Supra MkIV, code A80, was conceived between 1989 and 1991 and based on the Soarer chassis, from which the sporty Lexus SC was also derived. For the Supra, however, a more compact body was developed, more than 30 cm shorter, measuring just over 4.5 metres in length against a wheelbase of 2.55 metres, with a width of over one metre eighty while height remained well under one metre thirty.
Toyota Supra Turbo 1993
These proportions are underlined by a muscular design, in stark contrast to the straight forms of its predecessors and with fixed rather than retractable headlights, while the interior is modern but all in all simple as befits an emotional sports car.
In terms of mechanics, the offer restarts with the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engines, but the units on offer are new generation, essentially variants of the Toyota JZ series unit used by several other Toyota and Lexus models and by Soarer/SC itself. The basic aspirated version, with around 225 bhp, is offered as a base in the Japanese and North American markets, as an alternative to the supercharged version with twin sequential turbochargers.
1993 Toyota Supra Turbo, the engine
In this case, power output varies from market to market, ranging from 280 bhp for the Japanese version to 330 bhp for the European version, all mated to new-generation Getrag six-speed manual gearboxes or four-speed automatics. Speed in all cases exceeds 155 mph (250 km/h) and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h stops the clock at 4.6 seconds. Turbo models also have larger wheels with 17-inch instead of 16-inch rims to make room for bigger and more powerful brakes.
1993 Toyota Supra Turbo, interior
In addition, many measures were taken to keep weight down and give the car a better balance: the bonnet, roof, front cross-member and some parts such as the engine and transmission oil pans are made of aluminium, the suspension arms are forged and even the steering wheel is made of magnesium, while the fuel tank is made of plastic.
Toyota Supra Turbo Targa 1993, the brakes
As a consequence, despite fitting larger brakes and having extra equipment, the car weighs almost 100 kg less than the previous generation: depending on the version it ranges from just over 1,450 kg to around 1,570 kg and has an almost perfect weight distribution with 51 per cent of the mass weighing on the front and 49 per cent on the rear, which for models with automatic transmission goes up to 53/47.
The Supra went out of production in 2002, although it was no longer available in Europe by the end of 1998 as the updated version of the turbo engine that was the only option on the Old Continent was not imported.
Toyota Supra Turbo Targa 1993 open roof
Again, there is no real direct replacement, although formally it is replaced by the new Celica in the role of compact sports car, this one is in fact in a slightly lower class. The Supra name reappears in 2019 for a new generation, designated A90, which, however, was created following an agreement with BMW on the chassis and with the six-cylinder engine from the latest Z4.