(Image credits: Tom Rampy)

What’s in the Name?

Toyota officially calls its six-cylinder coupe The Celica Supra after the first two generations of Supra. The Supra was basically a six-cylinder Celica in the beginning. Toyota extended the wheelbase by 5.1 inches to fit the larger engine of the Supra into the smaller Celica and gave it a distinctive front end design.

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Toyota Supra Célica

On the engine: Celica Supra ‘s original 1979 is powered by a 2.6-litre 110-hp inline-six. A manual five-speed transmission is standard, and an automatic four-speed transmission is available. In our research, the torque-rich six drives the Celica Supra in 11.2 seconds to 60 mph, and in 18.4 seconds to 76 mph through the quarter-mile — acceptable for the time, but nothing to marvel at.

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Toyota Celica Supra

For the 1982 model year, the second-gen Celica Supra bows and replaces the live rear axle of the old model for separate semi-trailing arms, a configuration that helps to win it fourth place — beating a Ferrari, a Lotus, and two Porsches — in a 1984 Car and Driver comparison check for the best-treating imported vehicle. And in 1985 the Toyota finished second in an eight-car battle to the Audi Coupe GT in order to decide America’s best sports coupe. Underhood, a new 2.8-litre twin-cam inline-six corrals 145 horses, making it 29 poneys better than the one-cam model it replaced.

Toyota Celica Supra

While we admire the Celica Supra first-generation for its fair strength and luxurious facilities, it hasn’t matured into a true sports car yet. Thankfully, Toyota blessed the second-gen Supra with the kind of driving characteristics that would help snag two of our 10Best Cars awards (one in 1983 and one in 1984). We also loved our example from long-term ’83.

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1987 Toyota Supra

The third-generation Supra, which was sold as a model year vehicle in 1986.5, officially ditches the name Celica. The two cars are no longer connected — the smaller Celica four-cylinder switches to a front-wheel-drive platform for 1986, while the Supra is still rear-wheel drive. While heavier than its predecessor, the current Supra boasts a new inline-six, obviously aspired to 200-hp 3.0-liter.

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Now this is what I call the 1987 Turbo

Toyota is launching an even more powerful Supra Turbo model for 1987. Thanks to the addition of a turbocharger — bet you didn’t see that coming — the improved straight-six Supra Turbo produces 230 horsepower and 246 lb-ft torque — 30 horses and 61 lb-ft gains. The extra oomph makes us scoot a five-speed Supra Turbo manual that we test to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, 1.6 seconds quicker than the Supra aspired by default.

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The Beauty of Fourth Time

Nevertheless, it is not until the model year of 1993 that the Toyota Supra really comes into its own. The Mark 4 Supra is built from the ground up and sports swoopy styling that looks like no other Toyota that has come before it.

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(Image Credits: David Dewhurst)

To Turbo or not to Turbo — Is even that a question?

Forced induction is already on the menu. Whereas the regular Supra is equipped with a 220-hp 3.0-litre inline-six, the Supra Turbo is adding up another 100 ponies for a total of 320, with the help of a pair of turbochargers. A six-speed manual Supra Turbo rockets to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds in our testing and passes the quarter-mile threshold at 106 mph after 13.8 seconds. All the best figures recorded by the contemporary Chevrolet Corvette, Mazda RX-7, Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4, Nissan 300ZX Turbo and Porsche 968 — all the sports cars that it tops in our comparison check-in September 1993. (We ‘d coaxed a particularly brisk Supra Turbo at 60 mph in 4.6 seconds in March of that year and at 109 mph in 13.1 seconds in the quarter.) A Turbo 1994 that we later test reaches 60 mph in 6.2 seconds.

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Poor sales

Alas, in August 1997, when the BMW M3 defeats the Supra Turbo loses its spot on the comparison-test throne. Despite placing third (the then-new Chevrolet Corvette in 1997 takes home silver), the Supra Turbo displays dynamics that continue to impress us strongly, with just two points separating the Toyota and the BMW in our scoring. Unfortunately, media support and price cuts for the factory were not restoring the stagnant sales of the Supra. In America, Toyota ditches the Supra, and in 1998 marks the final year of U.S. sales of the breed.

Fast, Furious, Orange

Though the fourth-generation Supra was ignored by baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials hold a special place for the sports coupe in their hearts. As the ’90s advanced, young tuners started buying up second-hand Supras on the used car market, later turning their cherished possessions into autocross competitors, drag-racing darlings, and drifting bikes. The introduction of a Mark 4 model in The Fast and the Furious street-racing flick from 2001 further cements the iconic status of the Supra.

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Toyota, the Tease

Rumours spread by the late august that Toyota wants to revive the Supra nameplate, and Toyota fans the flames at the 2007 Detroit auto show with the FT-HS concept vehicle. Due to 400 horsepower electric motors and a 3.5-litre V-6, the gasoline-electric hybrid coupe concept promises to hit 60 mph in less than 5.0 seconds. The FT-HS, attractive as it is, never sees daylight outside of the show circuit.

The FT-1 controls the heartbeats of fans

Toyota is bringing another sports car project to Detroit seven years after taking the cover off the FT-HS design exercise. The low-slung concept vehicle, this time called FT-1, has slinky coupe styling that tugs on fans’ heartstrings. May this in the end signify the return of the Supra?

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(Image credit: Chris Doane Automotive)

Wassup Supra?

Not long after the auto-show scene is lit up by the FT-1, spy photographers snap pictures of a camouflaged sports car bearing identical dimensions and descriptions of styling. Then, Toyota filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the Supra brand in mid-2017. Nearly two decades after giving up on the Supra, Toyota seems ready to revive the six-cylinder sports coupe.

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The Great Gazoo

At the 2018 Geneva auto show, Toyota unveils the breathtaking Gazoo Racing (GR) Supra road car project. Set up to compete in different global GT racing series, it features a range of exterior parts derived from those of the upcoming Supra production which Toyota finally admits is actually happening. Although the design lacks a powertrain, class rules allow a production-based engine to power the race car — although not necessarily the engine that powers the production car on which the race car is based. (Did you?)

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(Image credits: Toyota)

It is Back at last!

Toyota’s all-new Supra generation A90 debuts at the 2019 auto show in Detroit. BMW owes much of its production and engineering while Toyota is credited with the styling of the coupe. The Supra is closely linked to the BMW Z4 roadster, which has Munich’s turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six and a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the iconic 2JZ inline-six. Horsepower is at 335, though the BMW engine can accommodate much more performance. Toyota says a four-cylinder model is on its way, priced below the MSRP base of $50,920 for the six-cylinder model.

(Image Credit: Car and Driver)

It’s just getting better by 2021

The 2021 Supra gets to use the more powerful 382-hp turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six that is used more than ever in the Z4 M40i which means 47 horsepower. The power increase costs just 2 mpg in the area, compared to 1 mpg on the highway. Besides the updated engine, Toyota will now also be offering a 255-hp four-cylinder turbo option in the U.S., which was already available in Europe and Japan.

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