The Litchfield Supra is here and it is SAVAGE
Alex Goy is a freelance motoring journalist who writes for the likes of Motor1, Carfection, CNET and DriveTribe.
Litchfield is known for its work making the already incredibly powerful Nissan GT-R even more so. Bung Litchfield the requisite cash and you can have anything from an engine tune to a fully reworked car – springs, aero, mechanicals, the lot – with 1,000bhp and 0-62mph times so small you’ll swear you’ve actually travelled back in time. Now, Litchfield has turned its hand to the new Toyota Supra and its BMW-sourced B58 engine.
Announced a while back, the car with a standard map comes with 440bhp and 450lb ft. The current press demo comes with a more than punchy 490bhp and 472lb ft thanks to a cheeky exhaust mod. Zero-62mph isn't much quicker than the regular car because of traction, but in gear that 472lb ft is most handy...
Litchfield’s first car has been sold on so that EcuTek can have a go at cracking its ECU to create a suite of software to make life for tuners like Litchfield a hell of a lot easier. See, in order to make cars like the Supra, and the GT-R (an EcuTek specialty by the by), achieve mega power numbers, its electronic brain needs to be opened up and mapped out. That’s what EcuTek does – it spends its time finding the limits of the ECU, then creates maps for tuners to use and exploit. Smart stuff.
The Litchfield car, as it stands, hasn’t used any EcuTek toys, just in house know how. This means that once the Uxbridge firm has finished its tinkering 490bhp will be a jumping off point. So for now, we’ll have to do with a mere half-Veyron.
Popping yourself nice and low in the Supra’s cabin reveals no new tricks or toys, the standard ToyoMW awaits. No bad thing – the iDrive system is easy to use and the controls are instantly familiar to anyone who’s been anywhere near a BMW in the last decade. Given the requisite amount of time and money Toyota’s own stab at a cabin would have likely been very nice, but there’s something reassuringly... German about the Supra as it is.
On start up the exhaust barks and settles to a pleasing hum. It’s not by any means standard and wants you to know about it. Set off with the car in its most normal of settings and it doesn’t behave like something with near Aston Vantage-levels of grunt on board. Throttle response is smooth, its eight-speed ZF ‘box slides effortlessly from ratio to ratio. The most difficult thing about driving it in town is the tiny rear window making rear vis a challenge. That’s it.
Should you find yourself needed to press on, the Supra’s newfound power enables you do so with gusto. Delivery is smooth at half throttle, though pinning it can cause the rear wheels some upset in lower gears. It may have silly power, but it’s useable.
Press ‘Sport’ (or ‘the yob button’) and its character changes somewhat. The noise gets bassier, louder – all round more what you’d expect from a tuned motor. It pops and bangs when you lift off, firing the essence of compressed dinosaur in to the world for all to enjoy. You’ll grin, and if you don’t you’re likely in a bad mood. A mood that can be lifted by finding a straight bit of road.
In full on ‘yob’ the engine and gearbox become more aggressive. Each shift snatches from ratio to ratio, giving you a pleasing jolt with each paddle pull. The power delivery becomes somewhat less refined and more frantic. There are 490 horses buried deep in the Supra’s motor and it feels the need to fire them all at the floor. You don’t quite expect it the first time – your breath stays in place while your body is pushed in to your seat, swear words fly out of your face. Yeah, you expect a Supra to be quick but not THAT quick. Throw this up against a new 911 and you’ll likely be in for a good, competitive time.
Running standard springs and dampers mean that even in ‘yob mode’ 490bhp can make it a smidge scrabbly in the corners, especially if it’s a damp day. That’s not a bad thing at all, if anything it’s more exciting, but as the power climbs set up changes will likely be a good idea.
Litchfield is one of the first to create a tune for the new Supra, and once EcuTek has finished its work mapping the ECU more tunes can be created by more people. As it stands, an extra £600 for the Stage One tune, and £350 for some exhaust trickery gets you a mix of useable and utterly savage. Relaxing and frantic depending on your mood. With more work done the A90 Supra is more than likely to be turned in to something of a legend. This is just the start, and it’s a damn good one.
If you still hark back to the days of the old Supra, why not treat yourself to a model kit for Christmas?