The Toyota Supra is an icon of the Japanese motor industry. There have been five different generations of the car, but which one is the best? In this article we hope to answer that question.
The Different Generations of the Toyota Supra
Before we take a look at which Toyota Supra is the best, let’s briefly cover the history and specs of each generation. If you want to know the full history of the Toyota Supra you can check out our article here.
First Generation Supra (A40/A50)
The first-generation Toyota Supra (Celica XX in Japan) was launched in 1978 and production continued until June 1981. The car was heavily based on the first-generation Celica liftback and the top of the line model in Japan was the 2000GT with a 2.0-litre six-cylinder DOHC 24-valve 1G-EU that produced as much as 158 horsepower.
Toyota’s most powerful first-generation Supra was the 2800GT with a 2.8-litre six-cylinder DOHC 5M-GEU engine that produced as much as 173 horsepower.
Second Generation Supra (A60)
In the middle of 1981 Toyota completely redesigned the entire Celica lineup including the Celica Supra for the 1982 model year. While the A60 Supra was still heavily based on the Celica it featured some key differences, with the most notable being the design of the front end and the fully retractable pop-up headlights.
Once again, the 2.8-litre 5M-GE six-cylinder engine was the most powerful power unit with an output of 145 to 178 horsepower depending on the market. Japan also received a 2.0-litre turbo model known as the 2000 Turbo that produced as much as 145 horsepower.
Third Generation Supra (A70)
In February 1986 the Celica and Supra lineup was separated and turned into two completely different models. Toyota changed the Celica to a front-wheel drive layout, while the Supra kept its rear-wheel drive layout.
The Supra was also updated with a more powerful 3.0-litre inline-six cylinder engine that was rated at 200 horsepower. Initially, the car was only available with naturally aspirated engines, but Toyota introduced a 231 horsepower turbocharged version for the 1987 model year.
Along with the 3.0-litre variant, Toyota also introduced 2.0-litre models as well. Japanese spec 2.0-litre versions were slightly narrower than their larger engined counterparts so that they could comply with the Japanese Government’s dimension regulations for lower yearly road taxes.
In 1990 Toyota introduced the JZA70 and GA70 versions of the A70 Supra with. The JZA70 model came with the company’s new 276 horsepower twin-turbocharged 1JZ-GTE engine, while the GA70 featured either a 207 horsepower twin-turbocharged 1G-GTE power unit or a naturally aspirated one.
Fourth Generation Supra (A80)
Development of the A80 Supra would begin in 1989, however, the car would not properly launch until 1993. Compared to previous Supra models, the fourth generation A80 featured vastly different styling that was much more akin to the old 2000GT with its flowing, smooth bodylines.
Additionally, Toyota put much more emphasis on performance for the new car. The company developed two new engines for the A80, the naturally aspirated 2JZ-GE with a power output of 220 horsepower and the twin-turbocharged 2JZ-GTE engine with an output of 276 horsepower (although the true power figures was believed to be over 300 hp).
The turbocharged model was much faster than previous generation models, with a 0 – 100 km/h time of as low as 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 257 km/h (160 mph). While performance out of the box was good for its day, it was tuners that really turned it up to 11. The 2JZ engine fitted to the Supra was (and still is) incredibly strong and tuners managed to pull some incredible horsepower figures out of the car.
By the end of the nineties, performance cars like the Supra were becoming much less popular. Sales dropped dramatically and Toyota decided to withdraw the car from the Canadian market in 1996 and the United States market two years later. Production of the Supra ceased in 2002 owing to new restrictive emission standards.
Fifth Generation Supra (J29/DB)
When production of the A80 ceased, Toyota had no car to replace it. The company started to focus on more family orientated and practical cars rather than high performance models. Many enthusiasts believed that they would not see the Supra name again, but that all changed in 2019 when Toyota unveiled the fifth generation model at the North American International Auto Show.
Rather than designing the car by themselves like they had with previous Supra models, Toyota decided to enlist the help of BMW. The two companies based the new Supra on BMW’s Z4 platform but gave it a new body design.
BMW also produced the propulsion methods as well with buyers given the option of either a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four or a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six engine. The 2.0-litre power unit produces anywhere from 194 – 255 horsepower, while the larger engine produces anywhere from 335 – 382 horsepower (depending on where it is sold).
With more power and a faster shifting transmission, the 3.0-litre can hit 100 km/h in anywhere from 3.8 to 4.1 seconds and go on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).
Which Toyota Supra Is the Best?
With all that out of the way, let’s take a look at what generation of the Toyota Supra is the best. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but many would argue that the fourth generation A80 Toyota Supra is the best, especially the twin-turbocharged RZ model.
It encompasses everything great about the Toyota’s cars and the Supra range, and it featured one of the greatest engines to be fitted to a Japanese car ever. It was also built in-house by Toyota, whereas the fifth generation model is really a BMW with a few bits and pieces designed by Toyota.
Still, all generations of the Toyota Supra are excellent cars and it is really down to personal opinion on what car is the best.
Which Toyota Supra is the Fastest?
This prize has to go to the turbocharged 3.0-litre version of the fifth generation car. While some modified Mk4 Supras are blisteringly quick, the stock version of the fifth generation car absolutely demolishes the stock version of the A80.
With a 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) time anywhere from 3.8 to 4.1 seconds (depending on who tests it), the fifth generation 3.0-litre model is much faster than the A80’s 4.6 second to 100 km/h time.
The fifth generation Supra can also reach a top speed of 281 km/h (175 mph) when the limiter is taken off (250 km/h or 155 mph with the limiter). This is much higher than any of the other models including the Mk4.
Which Toyota Supra is the Most Expensive?
The twin-turbocharged version of the fourth generation car is undoubtedly the most sought after Supra model with prices reaching well over $100,000.
Which Toyota Supra is the Most Famous?
Once again this would have to go to the fourth generation A80 Supra. While it was a well-received car when it launched, the Mk4 Supra didn’t have a cult like following until it appeared in “The Fast and the Furious”. From then on, the Mk4 become arguably Toyota’s (and one of the world’s) most famous performance cars.
Now read our Mk4 Toyota Supra Buyer’s Guide