Wednesday 21 August 2019

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Cork Independent


First Toyota Supra off the line sells for $2.1 million

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 4:57pm

One of the few remaining questions left to answer about the new Toyota Supra is how much it will cost.

Taking the first production model off the line as a bell-weather, it looks as if that price is going to be $2.1 million. Needless to say, though, all is not what it seems…

The car in question was not quite an ordinary A90 Supra. As the first production car, it carries the VIN code 20201 — year 2020, production number 1.

With no mechanical or bodywork changes, it’s otherwise a standard Supra. Well, standard that is aside from the fact that the engine bay has been autographed by car-mad Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, who also threw in the racing overalls and crash helmet he used when track-testing the car for productions sign-off.

Supra 20201 also came with a distinctive matte-grey paint finish, with bright red door mirror caps, matte-black wheels, and a cabin swathed in red leather and carbon-fibre.

It also wasn’t being sold off a dealer forecourt but instead was being sold by famed US auctioneers Barratt-Jackson, as part of a big night for charitable sales. Alongside the $2.1 million raised for American Heart Association (AHA) and the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF — a charity that cares for those who’ve served in the armed forces) by the Supra, Barrat-Jackson raised a total of $9 million on the night, with sales of the first model of the new Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, ‘Bumblebee’ Chevrolet Camaros used in the ‘Transformers’ film saga, and a Ford GT painted in heritage Gulf Le Mans colours.

“We did the first production 2020 GR Supra justice at Barrett-Jackson,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales, Toyota Motor North America. “When Toyota launches a vehicle of this calibre, you only get one chance to do it right – and this auction was the perfect setting. After 20 years, this marks the return of a legend. Sportscar enthusiasts have been dreaming to slide behind the wheel of an all-new Supra – and we’re happy to be a part of turning that dream into a reality.”

The new Supra is based on an architecture shared with the new BMW Z4, but the philosophy behind the two cars diverged at an early stage of the project.

Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said: “We took the collaborative approach, but then we stepped back and thought, ‘let’s decide what we want to make’. We wanted to make a pure sports car and have not yielded on that. So the separation began at an early stage, and in fact we have an agreement with BMW not to ask each other too much about each other’s cars.”

In spite of that, they do share an engine — a 3.0 litre straight-six unit, with a twin-scroll turbocharger, developing 340hp and with 500Nm of torque. It drives the rear-wheels (natch) through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Toyota has equipped the Supra with launch control, which means that it can scamper from rest to 100km/h in a very rapid 4.3secs (which is actually quicker than the 450hp, 5.0 litre, Lexus RC-F Track Edition, also launched alongside the Supra at the recent Detroit Motor Show).

This year, 900 Supras will come to Europe, and for the 900 customers who sign up for them, there’ll be a Supra club which will offer what Toyota calls “money-can’t-buy” experiences to help them better appreciate their cars.

Want something even more exclusive? The first 90 cars (this generation is called the A90 in internal Toyota product code) will come as a special edition with Storm Grey matt paint finish, matte black alloy wheels and a cockpit upholstered in red leather.

The price? Toyota’s not saying yet, but the likely Irish price will be north of €70,000. Standard equipment will include dual-zone automatic air conditioning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, smart entry and push-button start, steering wheel with leather trim and auxiliary switches and a digital combimeter in the driver’s instrument display.

LED technology is used for the adaptive headlights, rear lights and daytime running lights, and the mirrors (door mirrors and rear-view mirror) are all auto-dimming.

There are also rain-sensing wipers and a rear-view camera.

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