Toyota Supra VS BMW M2
- Modest cabin storage
- Firm ride
- Blistering performance
- Dynamic prowess
- Attention-grabbing looks
- Spartan equipment list
- Very pricey
- Rubber pedals
It's been 26 years since the Toyota Supra was last (officially) on sale in Australia, and thanks to a joint venture with BMW, that's also produced a new Z4 Roadster, it's back in fifth generation (A90) form.
Produced at Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, this car launches the GR brand in Australia. Its formal name is the Toyota GR Supra. GR stands for Gazoo Racing, an initiative of Toyota president Akio Toyoda, now representing Toyota motorsport here and overseas, from World Endurance sports car racing to the world rally championship, long-distance rally raids, and heaps more.
Toyota invited us to the mega Phillip Island race circuit and the twisting roads around Victoria's South Gippsland for a first local drive.
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
When BMW’s M2 first landed on Australian shores in 2016, one of the biggest criticisms levelled at it was a lack of grunt, which must have hurt its feelings.
With 272kW and 465Nm from the 3.0-litre single-turbo ‘N55’ six-cylinder engine, it was hardly tame, but the question it raised was whether it was special enough to be christened a full-fat M car? And the answer from enthusiasts was "perhaps not".
Fast forward to 2018 and BMW had rectified that criticism with the M2 Competition, powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo ‘S55’ engine from the M3 and M4 to punch out a more exciting and appropriate 302kW/550Nm.
For anyone crazed enough to think that was still not enough, the M2 CS is now available in showrooms, and turns the wick up to 331kW and 550Nm, thanks to some tweaks to the engine. It's now available with a six-speed manual gearbox, too. That sound you hear is purists rejoicing.
So, does this now make the 2021 M2 CS the ultimate BMW for the enthusiast driver?
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
A price close to a hundred kay is not to be sneezed at, but the A90 Supra delivers performance and dynamics to challenge sports cars costing twice as much. And if it was our money, we'd live without the extras and opt for the GT.
This fifth-gen car is an uncomplicated drive, and I mean that in the best possible way. Forgiving, fast, and huge fun. Toyota's push to build more excitement into its global product range is really building momentum now.
Is this new Supra on your sports car radar? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
As the ultimate form of the current M2, the CS distils the best aspects of what everyone loves about BMW into one tidy little package.
The driving experience is nothing short of divine, even if the manual gearbox shifts could be better, while the firecracker engine kicks things up to a whole new level.
If only BMW offered more equipment and safety to round out the $140,000 pricetag, or maybe they should have leaned harder into the lightweight aspect and ditched the rear seats to make the M2 CS even more special.
At the end of the day though, the M2 CS is still an unbelievably appealing driver’s car, and I can’t wait to see what BMW has in store for the next one.
With bulges and curves everywhere, the new Supra's distinctive exterior tips its hat to the iconic Toyota 2000GT of the late 1960s with its 'double bubble' roof, long bonnet and short cabin, as well as the previous A80 Supra that's been such a hit in the grey market here, but was never officially imported by Toyota Australia.
The design has so far polarised opinion, but in the metal, it definitely has presence, and believe it or not the wheelbase is 100mm shorter than the 2+2 86's, and with a wider track it's muscular stance is no surprise.
In every other key measure the 86's more powerful stablemate is larger, at 4240mm long (+139mm), 1775mm wide (+79mm), and 1292mm tall (+7mm). Toyota says it normally sets a minimum ground clearance guideline of 130mm, but to get the Supra's centre-of-gravity as low as possible sat the Supra at 119mm.
Stand-out elements are the evil LED headlights, rising and rounded front guards, that double bubble roof, curvaceous hind quarters and pronounced rear spoiler (with echoes of a Porsche 911 'ducktail').
Kind of disappointing to see what appear to be inlet and exhaust vents on top of the front guards and in front of the rear wheelarches are filled with black plastic blanks, but trust me, you're never going to miss an A90 Supra.
Seven standard colours are available, named after iconic racetracks (if you don't like them blame the Toyota Australia employees who came up with them) – 'Fuji White', 'Suzuka Silver', 'Goodwood Grey', 'Monza Red', 'Silverstone Yellow', 'Le Mans Blue', 'Bathurst Black' and the optional 'Nurburg Matte Grey' (available on GTS only).
Inside, an asymmetric centre console sets up a classic cockpit style interior, and the digital instrument layout is exactly what you want in a performance-focused coupe – digital speedo on the left and vibrant rev counter at the straight ahead. An 8.8-inch multimedia touchscreen sits proud of the dash above the ventilation stack.
The grippy sports seats look and feel great, and the leather sports steering wheel sits on the slightly slimmer side of chunky.
Liberal use of glossy 'carbon fibre-look' trim on the console actually looks good, and the instantly recognisable gearshift is one of several pieces of BMW hardware on the inside. A clear as crystal BMW build sticker inside the driver's door aperture is another giveaway.
We’re already big fans of the way the M2 looks, it’s just the right size and has the perfect proportions for a sporty coupe, and the CS just takes things to another level.
From the outside, the M2 CS scores a noticeably bigger bonnet bulge, as well as a vented hood to improve airflow.
The front splitter, side mirrors, skirts, bootlid spoiler and rear diffuser are also finished in carbon, and add to the car’s aggressive demeanour.
Filling the wheelarches are 19-inch wheels finished in black, but tucked behind those are massive drilled brake rotors and large calipers painted in red.
To call the M2 CS exterior design sporty would be an understatement, but we do have to point out that the Alpine White of our test car did look a little boring, despite the extra bling.
If we were buying one? We’d option the stunning Misano Blue hero colour with gold-coloured wheels to really turn heads around town and at the racetrack, although they will add another $1700 and $1000 respectively to the already dizzying price.
Inside, the M2 CS is let down a little by a spartan interior, which looks like it’s been lifted from the cheapest 2 Series coupe, due to the lack of climate-control screen.
However, BMW does try its best to spice things up with very tight-fitting bucket seats, an Alcantara steering wheel, CS-branded dashboard and that carbon-fibre transmission tunnel.
It’s definitely a case of function over form , but the lack of interior flare means you focus more on the road ahead than anything else, which is no bad thing when you have 331kW and 550Nm being sent to the rear wheels.
Strictly a two-seater, the Supra offers plenty of space for its occupants, but storage space is modest.
There's a small oddments tray in from of the gearshift which incorporates a wireless phone charging pad, as well as a USB port and 12-volt outlet. There are pockets in the doors, but they're small (forget bottles), a slim glove box is better than none and there are two decent size cupholders between the seats. The cupholders sit in what looks like it should be a lidded storage box, but it doesn't budge one millimetre.
The boot space looks bigger than Toyota's stated 290-litre (VDA) volume and includes a netted storage space behind the passenger side wheel tub, four tie-down anchors, plus a 12-volt socket and an elasticised retainer strap on the driver's side. There's no cargo separator between the boot area and the cabin, so you can squeeze a bit more stuff in behind the seats.
Don't bother looking for a spare of any description, a repair/inflator kit is your only option in the event of a flat.
Measuring 4461mm long, 1871mm wide, 1414mm tall and with a 2698mm wheelbase, and just two doors, the M2 CS isn’t exactly the last word in practicality.
Of course, front passengers are afforded plenty of space, and the electronically adjustable bucket seats allow you to get into the right position to row through the gears and eat up the road.
Storage is limited, however, with average-sized door bins, two cupholders, a small wallet/phone tray, and that’s it.
BMW is generous enough to include a single USB port to charge your device, but its location, where the armrest should be, means you’ll have to get creative with cable management to make it really work if you want to keep your phone in the tray under the climate controls.
Predictably, the two rear seats are less than ideal for anyone tall, but there is plenty of leg and shoulder-room.
A small centre-storage tray is fitted back there, as well as Isofix points for the seats, but there isn’t a whole lot to keep rear occupants entertained. They'll probably be too frightened to care.
Opening the boot reveals a small aperture that will swallow 390 litres, and is shaped in such a way that a set of golf clubs or some overnight bags will fit in nicely.
There are some luggage tie-down points and netting to keep your belongings from rolling around, and the rear seats fold down to accommodate longer items.
Price and features
In Australia, the Supra's offered in entry-level GT trim, priced at $84,900 plus on-road costs, and the GTS is a $10K step up at $94,900.
That puts you in the same band as cars like the Audi S5 Coupe ($104,400), Audi TT 2.0 TFSI quattro ($88,055) and S version ($101,855), as well as the ferocious BMW M2 Competition Pure ($99,900). But tellingly, even the top-spec GTS significantly undercuts the BMW Z4 M40i ($124,900), which some will read as a blue and white propeller badge with a $30K price tag.
Of course, the Supra's key focus is dynamic performance, but both grades are comprehensively equipped, the GT's standard features list including: 'leather-accented', heated and eight-way power-adjustable sports seats, a leather-accented sports steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, an 8.8-inch multimedia touchscreen (managing the 10-speaker audio system - including digital radio - sat nav, ventilation, and more), keyless entry and start, auto LED headlights, LED tail-lights and DRLs, rear LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, 18-inch machined alloy wheels, an 8.8-inch 'Multi Information' digital instrument display, plus heated and folding electric exterior mirrors.
The GTS adds bigger brakes (with racy red calipers), plus one inch on the rims up to 19-inch forged alloys, a head-up display, premium JBL 'Surround Sound' 12-speaker audio, and brushed metal 'sports' covers on the pedals.
Pricing for the 2021 BMW M2 CS starts at $139,900 before on-road costs for the six-speed manual, with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic bumping up to $147,400.
Let’s not mince words here, the BMW M2 CS is not cheap.
Compared to the M2 Competition , the CS adds about $37,000 to the bottom line – the equivalent of a well-specced small SUV – and sits perilously close to the new-generation M3 and M4 ($144,900 and $149,900 respectively).
For the price , buyers are getting exclusivity, with just 86 examples available in Australia out of a total global production run of 2220 units.
The engine is also tuned for a higher power output, but more on that below.
Standard equipment in the M2 CS also eschews luxury for sportiness, with carbon-fibre exterior highlights, a new exhaust, lightweight 19-inch wheels and Alcantara steering wheel.
The front seats are borrowed from the M4 CS, and trimmed in Alcantara and leather, but that’s about all you get for equipment.
The multimedia system shares the same dimensions as the rest of the M2 line-up, measuring 8.8 inches and including satellite navigation, digital radio and Apple CarPlay (no love for Android owners, sorry).
The climate controls do differ slightly, with the slender screen replaced with basic buttons and knobs.
Seat heating? Nope. Rear air vents? Sorry. How about keyless entry? Not here.
Also noticeably absent is a wireless smartphone charger, and centre armrest, as the usual transmission tunnel has been swapped out for a carbon-fibre piece.
To be fair, you do get a premium Harman Kardon sound system, push-button start and single USB port, so at least BMW does offer a way to charge your phone on the go.
Perhaps most egregious of all though – at least to me – were the rubber pedals fitted to our manual test car.
For $140,00 you’d expect a bit more in terms of convenience features, and before you make the argument that ‘it’s all about saving weight’, don’t bother, because the M2 CS and M2 Competition both tip the scales at an identical 1550kg.
Engine & trans
The all-alloy (B58C30O1) unit is a closed deck design featuring a single twin-scroll turbo, water-to-air intercooler, direct injection, plus variable valve timing and lift.
Maximum power is 250kW, available between 5000-6000rpm, and peak torque of 500Nm is delivered across a broad plateau from just 1600rpm all the way to 4500rpm.
Despite loud calls for a manual gearbox, Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada so far hasn't incorporated a three-pedal version. Although, Tada-san is determined to keep the updates and upgrades coming, so you never know what's possible down the track.
The eight-speed auto is a close-ratio unit, overdriven on the top two gears, sending drive to the rear wheels via an active diff able to adjust from zero to 100 per cent lock-up. Sequential manual changes are available through the central shifter or wheel-mounted paddles.
Powering the BMW M2 CS is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo ‘S55’ six-cylinder engine, developing 331kW/550Nm.
With drive sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the M2 CS can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.2 or 4.0 seconds respectively.
Peak power is available at a heady 6250rpm, while maximum torque comes on stream from 2350-5500rpm.
The M2 CS actually put out as much grunt as the outgoing M3/M4 Competition, because it uses the same engine, and to say the amount of performance on tap is explosive would be to talk up explosions. This is a serious amount of bang for your buck.
The M2 CS easily outclasses the likes of the 280kW/460Nm Jaguar F-Type V6, 306kW/410Nm Lotus Evora GT410 and 294kW/420Nm Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0.
I do have to draw attention to the manual gearbox of our test car, though, which was great, but not excellent.
With such engaging shifters fitted to the Honda Civic Type R, Toyota 86 and Mazda MX-5, I expected rowing through the gears would be nirvana, but it was merely OK.
The throws are a little too long for my liking, and it takes just a bit too much effort to slot it into the right ratio. Still, we should all be glad to see a manual offered here, and I'm betting it is still a better option for purists than the auto.
Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 7.7L/100km, the Supra emitting 177g/km of CO2 in the process.
Hardly fair to note consumption from the circuit launch drive (we were focused on looking where we were going, anyway), but over a roughly 160km rural B-road loop the on-board read-out saw us averaging 9.4L/100km, which included some fairly 'enthusiastic' sections.
A stop/start system is standard, at the time of writing Toyota Australia listed the minimum fuel requirement as 91 RON standard unleaded (to be confirmed), and you'll need 52 litres of it to fill the tank.
Official fuel-consumption figures for the M2 CS are pegged at 10.3 litres per 100km, while our week with the car yielded a more realistic figure of 11.8L/100km.
Engine start/stop technology is included to keep fuel consumption down, but our week with the car was spent mainly in Melbourne’s inner-city streets, with three trips out of town looking for some winding country roads.
No doubt if we were more restrained with our throttle application, we could have kept that fuel consumption figure down, but a sub-12L/100km result is still great for a performance car.
The launch drive program combined a roughly 160km loop through Victoria's South Gippsland region and a lengthy Phillip Island circuit session. So, we were able to get a pretty solid picture of how the new Supra shapes up in local conditions.
First up, speed. Launch control is standard on both Supra grades and Toyota claims 0-100km/h in 4.3sec, although we've seen the car dip into the threes in independent testing overseas, and it feels quick.
Maximum torque is a meaty 500Nm, available from just 1600rpm all the way to 4500rpm, and extending your right ankle anywhere in that band delivers a serious shove in the back.
The eight-speed auto's rapid fire shifts make it feel more like a dual-clutch than a conventional torque-convertor auto, especially in manual mode using the wheel-mounted paddles.
The car is claimed to be torsionally stiffer than the 86, and even the carbon-rich Lexus LFA, so the strut front, five-link rear suspension set-up is hung from a stable platform. It keeps the car superbly well planted. Yet aluminium front suspension hardware lowers unsprung weight and keeps the Supra light on its feet.
It boasts a 50/50 front to rear weight distribution, achieved by moving the engine as far back as possible, and has a lower centre of gravity than the 86, which has a horizontally-opposed engine. At just under 1.5 tonnes it's also relatively light.
The electrically-assisted steering is accurate and progressive with good road feel, and 'Sport' mode fine-tunes engine sound and response, shift pattern, (active) damping, steering and the active diff. All elements are also adjustable individually. Plus the tricky diff adjusts from zero to 100 per cent lock-up.
In Sport the ride sharpens appreciably, and even in Comfort it's firm but definitely daily-drive acceptable, and after all, that's what you sign on for with a car like this.
And it all came together around the epic 5.3km Phillip Island GP circuit, which is kind of appropriate given this car knows its way around the Nurburgring.
Balanced, stable and seriously rapid the Supra ate up the flowing layout. Howling up to its 6500rpm rev ceiling it turns forward thrust into prodigious lateral grip, the fat Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber (255 front/275 rear) gripping hard, the chassis telegraphing every move, and the steering remaining super accurate and predictable.
The car was neutral in the long high-speed sweepers and, thanks to the tricky diff, put its power down with absolute authority out of both hairpins.
The brakes (ventilated discs all around with four-piston calipers up front) held up to lap after hot lap delivering good feel and washing off big speed without fuss. The GTS boasts larger rear rotors (354mm v 330mm) but you'd have to set-up a 24-hour endurance event to pick the difference.
Entertaining growls, pops and bangs from the exhaust were icing on the track-attack cake. It's brilliant.
Let me be clear; driving the M2 CS is a simply sublime experience.
The M2 was always close to the top of the best modern M cars, and the CS simply cements its position as the king.
Step inside and the bucket seats and Alcantara steering wheel make sure you know you are in something special.
Push the red starter button and the engine comes to life, with a racy growl from the new exhaust system that immediately brings a smile to your face.
Out on the open road, the adaptive dampers fitted to the M2 CS do a good job at soaking up bumps and road imperfections, but don’t expect it to suddenly become a comfortable and cosseting cruiser.
The ride is firm in all settings, but dial it up to ‘Sport Plus’ and comfort really takes a hit, especially on the uneven inner-city roads of Melbourne, with its criss-crossing tram tracks.
Escape the unkempt roads of the city for the smooth blacktop of the country, though, and the M2 CS really flexes its handling prowess.
The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres fitted as standard also help in this regard, and while the rear end will step out with 331kW pushed through them, if you want to stick to the racing line and clip that apex, the M2 CS is a more than willing participant.
The suspension isn’t the only thing that can be changed, however, with steering and engine adjustments also available.
We found the best setting to be maximum-attack mode for the engine and suspension, while keeping the steering in its lightest setting, and even with the steering weight turned way down, the feedback and feel from the road is enough to communicate exactly what the M2 CS wants to do.
BMW has definitely nailed the feel of the M2 CS, which almost eggs you on to go faster and faster.
When things get a bit too furious, it is also comforting to know that the massive 400mm front discs and 380mm rear discs with six- and four-piston callipers respectively are more than up to the task of scrubbing speed.
I only wish I could have explored the capabilities of the M2 CS in the more controlled environment of a racetrack, because out on the open road, the M2 CS definitely still feels like it has so much more to give. And everything about this car just screams Race Track Time. Loudly.
With the need for speed comes the need for top-shelf safety, and the new Supra features an impressive array of standard active and passive safety tech.
The must-do boxes are ticked with ABS (with brake assist), vehicle stability control, and traction control on board, as well as 'Front Collision Warning' (Toyota-speak for AEB) with daytime pedestrian and cyclist detection.
In fact, a full suite of 'Toyota Safety Sense' assistance features also includes active cruise control, a pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure alert (with multiple alerts and steering assist), adaptive high beam and traffic sign recognition.
There's also blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors (with rear-end collision warning), active cornering assist, brake drying, and tyre pressure monitoring.
If all that fails to side-step an impact passive safety includes seven airbags (driver and front passenger, front side, side curtain, and driver's knee), as well as a 'pop-up bonnet system' to minimise pedestrian injuries.
The A90 Supra is yet top be assessed by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, but a maximum five star score is a pretty safe bet.
The BMW M2 CS has not been tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP and as such does not have a crash rating.
The car it is based on, the 2 Series, is also unrated, although the M2 CS differs wildly from the rest of the small coupe range.
Safety systems include front and rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, a reversing camera and cruise control.
Sure, the M2 CS is a track-focused special, but its also lacking some crucial safety features you’d expect out of any new car, and particularly one at this price point.
Toyota Australia has confirmed it's supporting Supra with the brand's standard five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, extending to seven years with the 'Service Advantage' program (that requires owners to carry out full log-book servicing for the first five years of ownership).
Also sitting underneath the Service Advantage umbrella is capped price servicing, locking in an annual service cost of $385 per service for the first five years of ownership. Service interval is 12 months/15,000km.
And just as Supra will be available for sale at all Toyota dealerships, Toyota Australia has confirmed servicing will be available throughout its national network of (300+) authorised service centres, with special tooling supplied as required to smaller rural locations.
Like all new BMWs, the M2 CS comes with a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which falls short of Mercedes’ benchmark five-year/unlimited-kilometre offering.
Scheduled service intervals are every 12 months or 16,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.
Buyers can opt for a ‘Basic’ or ‘Plus’ service plan that covers the car’s first five years, priced at $2995 and $8805 respectively.
The ‘Basic’ plan covers oil changes, air filters, brake fluids and spark plugs, while the ‘Plus’ service adds replacement brake pads and discs, wiper blades and clutch.
With an annual cost of $599 or $1761 for maintenance, the M2 CS is actually pretty affordable to service.