Cars & Trucks

Examined: 1987 Toyota Supra Turbo

Automobile and Driver

Our critiques of Toyota’s four- and six-cylinder 2021 Supras are approaching 5/13, till then we determined to look again at the place the Supra began. Here is our street check of the third-generation Supra Turbo.

From the April 1987 situation of Automobile and Driver.

A automotive has to have the products earlier than it could play within the sports-coupe main leagues. The combatants on this enviornment embrace such potent performers because the Corvette, the Porsche 944 Turbo, the Mazda RX-7 Turbo, and the Camaro IROC-Z—vehicles absolutely outfitted to devour any competitor that dare to enter the sphere of battle unprepared. On this fiercely contested market section, superlative efficiency is important to survival.

When Toyota launched its redesigned Supra final yr, it wasn’t able to face such sturdy competitors. We gave the brand new Supra a radical shakedown (C/D, March 1986), and though we had been happy with its poised dealing with and excessive stage of refinement, we had been lower than captivated with its prodigious weight. The brand new Supra might maintain its personal towards a few of the competitors, nevertheless it was simply trounced by the large boys.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

Fortuitously, Toyota just isn’t identified for being content material with taking part in on the second crew. For the 1987 mannequin yr, Toyota has made the leap to the sports-coupe huge leagues by becoming an intercooled turbocharger to the Supra’s in-line six. As well as, Toyota now provides anti-lock brakes as an extra-cost possibility on each usually aspirated and turbocharged Supras.

Pace and energy are requisites for admission to the large leagues, and Toyota’s engineers have made certain that the Supra Turbo has loads of each. The naturally aspirated, 24-valve, twin-cam, 3.0-liter 7M-GE engine produces a wholesome 200 hp at 6000 rpm, however a lot of the spirit is dampened by the Supra’s practically 3500- pound curb weight. Of the 2 potential methods of awakening that spirit-trimming weight and growing energy—the latter was by far the simpler course. Utilizing an in­-house turbo and an air-to-air intercooler, the brand new 7M-GE engine boosts energy by fifteen p.c, to 230 hp at 6000 rpm. Torque is up greater than 30 p.c, to 246 pound-feet at 4000. The blown engine additionally advantages from an oil cooler and a brand new distributor-less ignition system.

From the skin, the Supra Turbo is just about an identical to the naturally aspirated automotive. The one clues to the additional energy underneath the hood are a brand new colour­-keyed rear spoiler and a small “Turbo” badge on the rear.

To deal with the added energy, the Supra Turbo provides a selection of beefy transmissions: the four-speed electronically managed automated has been strengthened to deal with the extra torque, and the five-speed handbook is an all-new design, unique to the Turbo.

The absolutely impartial suspension of the naturally aspirated Supra was one of many automotive’s sturdy factors, and it has been fitted to the Turbo unchanged. The entrance axle is an unequal-length-control-arm design; every rear wheel is positioned by an higher management arm and three decrease hyperlinks. There are coil springs in any respect 4 corners and a thick anti-roll bar at every finish.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

As well as, the Supra Turbo includes a sport package deal as normal tools. The package deal (which is non-obligatory on the naturally aspirated automotive) features a limited-­slip differential, headlamp washers, and the Toyota Electronically Modulated Suspension. The TEMS system electronically adjusts the valving of the gas-filled shock absorbers amongst smooth, medium, and laborious settings as wanted; the driving force influences its selections by choosing both the “normal” or the “sport” suspension program.

From the skin, the Supra Turbo is just about an identical to the naturally aspirated automotive. The one clues to the additional energy underneath the hood are a brand new colour­-keyed rear spoiler and a small “Turbo” badge on the rear. In any other case, the design—prefer it or not—is unchanged. Although we have by no means felt that the present Supra’s form is as distinctive as, say, the Corvette’s, it’s starting to develop on us. From the entrance particularly, the Supra Turbo is aggressive and intimidating. Our solely actual grievance is that the automotive seems each bit as heavy as it’s.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

Inside, the Supra Turbo is good-looking, inviting, and thoughtfully laid out. The dashboard is graced by a beautiful financial institution of enormous, clear analog gauges, just like the structure launched final yr. The Turbo’s most vital change is the substitution of a lift gauge for the voltmeter. The non-obligatory energy driver’s seat strikes each which approach to make you as comfy as potential; we significantly like its energy side-bolster adjustment, which may clamp you in like an astronaut. The grippy seats in our check automotive had been coated in a delightful blue cloth; for many who choose leather-based, it’s obtainable for an additional $950.

The Supra’s cabin provides energy facilities galore (illuminated window switches are a brand new contact) however manages to retain a critical, enterprise like ambiance. Nonetheless, in distinction to the hard-core German sportster, it is clear that the Supra Turbo was not designed for efficiency above all else. The rear seat may be greatest suited to teddy bear, however the remainder of the inside is as comfy as a typical luxurious sedan’s.

Regardless of its 3581 kilos, the Supra Turbo scorches from Zero to 60 mph in a mere 6.four seconds-more than than 1.5 seconds quicker than the usually aspirated automotive.

Few luxoboats can transfer like this machine, although. Regardless of its 3581 kilos, the Supra Turbo scorches from Zero to 60 mph in a mere 6.four seconds-more than 1.5 seconds quicker than the usually aspirated automotive. That is big-league stuff. The Corvette may be a tick or two quicker, however the Supra can simply maintain its personal towards such worthy rivals because the RX-7 Turbo. Given sufficient street, the Supra Turbo will climb to a prime velocity of 145 mph. (A formidable determine, although far lower than Toyota’s claimed 156 mph.)

This scintillating efficiency is misleading. The engine revs easily and simply, by no means seeming to work laborious, and the large, heavy physique absorbs bump and retains street and wind noise to a minimal. You by no means really feel as if you’re driving the Supra very quick. One look on the speedometer, although, and also you see that you just’re shifting quickly certainly.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

On the Interstate, the Supra Turbo requires frequent small changes of the wheel to keep up a straight line. In line with the vehicles’ comfy nature, the experience is supple and forgiving; even within the “sport” mode, the suspension is nowhere close to as stiff as an RX-7 Turbo’s. If the climate and the regulation are in your facet, the Supra Turbo will comfortably tick off the miles at extralegal speeds all day lengthy.

Thrown laborious right into a nook, the Supra Turbo turns in shortly, takes a set, and will get right down to enterprise. You possibly can crank in as much as 0.83 g of neck pressure with out numerous fuss. The 225/50VR-16 Goodyear Eagles get a part of the credit score; the remainder goes to the Supra’s fastidiously designed suspension. Overexuberance with the throttle or abruptly snapping off the ability will make the tail step out of line, however for essentially the most half the Turbo consists and predictable. Regardless of the beneficiant load of luxurious options alongside for the experience, this spirited Toyota will clip apexes with the very best of them.

After driving our production-­mannequin check automotive, nevertheless, we’re satisfied that every one the tough edges have been honed and that every little thing is now so as.

We had been considerably disenchanted after we completed our braking assessments. Although our check automotive was outfitted with the non-obligatory anti-lock brakes, our 188-foot 70-to-0-mph panic cease was no shorter than an identical cease we recorded with a non-ABS Supra. Nonetheless, that is a really respectable efficiency, and we’re certain the anti-lock possibility will show its value to consumers the primary time the sudden happens.

The Supra Turbo provides the identical detachable roof panel we sampled on a naturally aspirated Supra final yr. Whereas there is no such thing as a denying the sensory pleasures afforded by driving with wind within the hair and solar within the face, this selection is dear, provides weight, and drastically reduces the structural integrity of the automotive. If you happen to’re contemplating a Supra Turbo for its athletic skills, we advise you to think about fastidiously how a lot you actually need a gap above your head.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

Frankly, we had been shocked by how a lot we favored the Supra Turbo after its two-week sojourn in Ann Arbor. We had beforehand pushed a couple of Turbo prototypes, and we did not assume Toyota had but discovered the stuff to compete within the sports-coupe huge leagues. After driving our production-­mannequin check automotive, nevertheless, we’re satisfied that every one the tough edges have been honed and that every little thing is now so as.

At a base worth of $22,260, the Supra Turbo provides a mixture of efficiency, luxurious, and worth that few vehicles can match. The Corvette may not really feel the menace simply but, however Toyota is certainly within the huge leagues now and is flexing its muscle tissues.


I used to be the fortunate soul who pulled weekend responsibility behind the wheel of the Supra Turbo, and I could not be happier. After a mixture of brief hops, midrange bops, and seamless Interstate blasts, I really feel as if I do know this automotive like a greatest buddy. The miles I rolled up satisfied me that Toyota’s engineering crew has what sportscasters name depth. Little vehicles, huge vehicles—if these guys engineered paper clips, they’d make them particular. Within the rarefied air of the GT ranks, the Supra Turbo want make no apologies. It is extra of a luxurious cruiser than such established stars because the Corvette and the RX-7 Turbo, nevertheless it’s obtained all of the muscle it wants if you maintain the pedal down or crank the wheel right into a sweeper. Nissan’s 300ZX Turbo cannot compete when it comes to all-around prowess. Varied Porsches appear significantly overpriced by comparability. After which there’s Toyota’s world-­beating high quality to think about. What now we have here’s a new and great various. A toast to the agony of selection! —Wealthy Ceppos

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

This Supra may be a Turbo, nevertheless it’s a bit too huge and buttery for me. Oh, it is ultra-smooth, however its buttery response solely makes me lengthy all of the extra for a much bigger shot of salt and pepper. Toyota’s six by no means provides you that turbo-terrific feeling of quick-stepping as much as a better aircraft. It all the time feels as if the home is just too huge for the heater, as if the boat is an excessive amount of for the oars. A package deal as beefy as this wants a megamotor to drag pricey of the pack. Furthermore, a number of members of the megamotor pack do not feel as huge because the Supra. I took an all-out Turbo experience at Mid-Ohio with the nice Dan Gurney. Gurney had by no means seen the place earlier than, and he had been challenged by semipro in one other Turbo who believed his information of the tortuous course would overcome Gurney’s good ability. Hah! However in blowing him off, even the nice Gurney had to make use of solely what the Supra might provide. Its chassis could not be coaxed into acrobatics its mass could not deal with. Ethical: Much less butter consumption would make the Supra a lot lighter on its ft. —Larry Griffin

I used to be lower than thrilled with the 1986 redesign of the Toyota Supra. The previous model was top-of-the-line GTs in the marketplace, with a pleasant mixture of efficiency, luxurious, consolation, and dealing with. I anticipated the brand new automotive to be extra of the identical, solely higher. Toyota did come by way of with the eagerly awaited 24-valve engine, first-rate tires, and a extra refined suspension. However the brand new automotive additionally had about 500 kilos of extra noise insulation, experience isolation, and energy tools. This extra mass not solely offset a lot of the brand new {hardware}’s advantages but additionally sapped a lot of the previous automotive’s liveliness. This yr’s Turbo restores a lot of the misplaced vitality. The blown engine is powerful sufficient to maneuver the Supra at a wholesome clip with out effort. And though Toyota denies having made any suspension modifications, the Turbo handles with rather more verve and precision than the usually aspirated 1986 mannequin we examined. It is nonetheless no mild and energetic GT, however for anybody on the lookout for a cut-­charge Porsche 928, the Supra Turbo is difficult to beat. —Csaba Csere



1987 Toyota Supra Turbo

front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door hatchback

$23,595 (base worth: $22,485)

turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, iron block and aluminum head, port gas injection
180 in3, 2594 cm3
230 hp @ 5600 rpm
246 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

5-speed handbook

Suspension (F/R): management arms/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 11.9-in vented disc/11.5-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Eagle VR50, 225/50VR-16

Wheelbase: 102.2 in
Size: 181.9 in
Width: 68.7 in
Peak: 51.6 in
Passenger quantity: 74 ft3
Cargo quantity: 14 ft3
Curb weight: 3581 lb

60 mph: 6.four sec
100 mph: 18.2 sec
120 mph: 34.2 sec
Prime gear, 30–50 mph: 9.Zero sec
Prime gear, 50–70 mph: 7.eight sec
1/four mile: 15.Zero sec @ 91 mph
Prime velocity: 145 mph
Braking, 70–Zero mph: 188 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.83 g

Noticed: 18 mpg

Mixed/metropolis/freeway: 18/16/21 mpg

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