From the February/March issue of Car and Driver.
Lap time: 2:55.6
Class: LL2 | Base: $54,095 | As tested: $58,865
Power and weight: 382 hp • 3341 lb • 8.7 lb/hp
Tyres: Michelin Pilot Super Sport; F: 255/35ZR-19 (96J), R: 275/35ZR-19 (100J)
Often overshadowed by the “it’s just a BMW” stigma, the Supra is actually better than the BMW Z4 on which it’s based: better balance and control feel, relatively lightweight, and, unlike the BMW Z4, available with a terrific manual transmission . In theory, the manual should be a lap-time penalty, and the data shows that our manual shifts lose some time to the automatic’s quick shifts. But we still found more straight-line speed in this year’s Supra (145.5 mph versus 144.3 for the car), helped in part by favorable 40-degree morning temperatures. The long gearbox and the engine’s wide powerband limited time-consuming upshifts to just five per lap.
As for how this Supra found nearly four seconds compared to the previous automatic — say, to rack up another 11.5-mph average in the uphill esses — well, we won’t pretend that the slight changes in suspension tuning for 2023 cannot fully explain it, and the previous pilot cannot defend himself, as he is no longer employed here. The Supra does work its rear tires hard, and they get greasy with successive hot laps. Before they get too hot, the grip is staggering. Every car that beat the Supra’s 1.04 g’s through Turn 1 this year rolled on track-focused tires. The brakes held up well over three days of loitering. Body movements are a touch squishy in the esses, probably a penalty for the car’s friendly ride quality on the street.
But that little bounce when you launch the Supra over curbs at 120-plus mph isn’t enough to disrupt its trajectory. The Supra’s energetic performance places it eighth overall in the LL2 category, behind three Mustangs, a Camaro, a C7 Corvette, and this year’s RS3 and CT4-V Blackwing. Much of that was on more extreme tires, and the Supra costs less than five of the seven. Do you want to go for the win, Toyota? A Pilot Sport Cup 2 tire option might be enough.
Back to Lightning Bolt 2023