The Toyota Supra displays extraordinary grip, lip-smacking agility and lethal acceleration
Toyota Supra: Revived coupe set to be giant killer The Toyota Supra displays extraordinary grip, lip-smacking agility and lethal acceleration. PHOTO: TOYOTA

In horror writer Stephen King's Pet Sematary, the dead come back to life but in a slightly misshapen form.

Perhaps the same could be said for the Toyota Supra, which was put to sleep 17 years ago but is now back.

The two-seater coupe has some resemblance to its long dead predecessor - the bulging bonnet, for instance - but its overall design is so fussy and incoherent, you are startled when you see it for the first time.

Perhaps it is because the Supra shares the same platform and drivetrain as the BMW Z4 and therefore tries too hard to look as different from the German roadster as possible. Or perhaps because it had borrowed styling elements from the Toyota FT-1 concept, which was warmly received by the public but is actually a substantially bigger car.

Whatever the case may be, the Supra is unlikely to win any design award.

If you share the same sentiment, you would do well to pick the Z4, which is the finest looking car BMW has produced in recent memory.

But if beauty is more than skin deep to you, the Supra has more to offer than the Z4.

For one, performance. Despite having slightly less power, the Toyota is the more brutal car on the tarmac. In Sport mode, the 3-litre inline-six - the version to get - is almost impossible to move off gently. Instead, it lunges forward like a starving mastiff at the sight of food.

In the Sportsland Sugo race circuit here, it displays extraordinary grip, lip-smacking agility and lethal acceleration.

On the longer of two straights, it breaches 200kmh with two car lengths to spare before the recommended braking point.

Its four-piston Brembos rein the ballistic car in with a mix of thrill and trepidation, as the rear-wheel-drive 1,520kg machine goes from 210kmh to 80kmh with a hint of detachment and slightly wavering steering.

But at no time does the car feel unsafe. When I braked a little late in one of four laps, the anti-lock braking system kicks in gently for just a split second.

As the car decelerates and downshifts, its exhaust makes the sound of corn popping in a hundred ovens - only louder.

While the narrative may not seem like much, the Supra's track prowess is nothing short of phenomenal. For one, the last two cars with which I managed to cross 200kmh in a circuit was the Lamborghini Urus and the Honda NSX.

Note, however, that both far outgun the Supra in sheer engine power. Also, the straights they were on were noticeably longer. The longer straight at Sugo is just a tad over 700m, while the Estoril track in Portugal - where the NSX was driven - has a straight close to 990m. The Urus accomplished its double-century feat in Vallenlunga, with a straight well over 1km.

Compared with the Z4, the Supra feels like a completely different car. Sure, there are switchgears on board which are reminiscent of BMW but it stops there.

The Toyota feels angrier and noticeably more urgent, even if the BMW has a more stirring soundtrack.

While I have driven the Z4 only in Singapore, driving the Supra on B roads here gives a hint of how the Japanese car will perform outside a race circuit.

The Supra will go to seventh gear at as low a speed as 50kmh. But at the drop of a hat, it will drop two or three gears to pick up speed when it senses throttle urgency.

Going down a long snaking incline, the transmission reacts quickly to pick a suitably low gear. Other automatics will do likewise - eventually.

There is a watered-down 2-litre inline-four version that is still more than adequate for Singapore roads. But for the purist, the 3-litre is the one to get.

It is the one which lives up to the hallowed Supra name. And going by what the car is able to pull off here, it is destined for a happier ending than King's book.