Ride, Handling & Performance
Interior Comfort & Practicality
Technology & Safety
Value & Ownership
If one car proves the saying ‘you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t’ it’s the 2020 Toyota GR Supra.
The new Supra has divided sports car lovers with most taking a corner before coming out swinging either in support or to ridicule the car.
Puzzlingly, it’s enthusiasts who have long lamented the lack of performance models in Toyota’s range who seem overly enthusiastic to deride the brand when it diversifies the portfolio to accommodate keen drivers, which is what the Supra is here to do.
First, the basics, Toyota offers the Supra in two trim levels – GT and GTS – both of which use a 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six-cylinder petrol engine developing 250kW at 5000–6000rpm and 500Nm from 1600–4500rpm.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed torque converter automatic with a limited-slip differential.
Yes, the powertrain is sourced from BMW. It has long been publicised that the new Supra was developed in partnership with the Bavarian marque. Far too many words have been spent on the BMW connection so we won’t dwell on it here. There are shared components which are obvious, though none of which detract from what the Supra is all about.
Perhaps the most interesting result of the tie-up with BMW is that the Supra is the car that has people talking. Nobody really gives a toss about the new Z4, it has failed to capture the imagination of car people like the Supra has.
Instead of the Z4, astute buyers are shopping the Supra against the more expensive M2 Competition. Regardless, without a partnership, it’s highly unlikely either car would ever grace a showroom.
Back to the issue at hand, we are reviewing the range-topping GTS variant. Toyota says the majority of buyers have stumped up for the GTS. Might as well go all in, eh?
The driving experience is where the Supra needs to excel, so we’ll start there. In short, it’s beautiful. The rigid chassis, low centre of gravity, 50:50 weight distribution, and a 1.55:1 "golden ratio" between the wheelbase length and track width deliver a brilliant drive.
Every aspect of the Supra feels eager to please. It responds with a sense of urgency to every input. The Supra’s character is best enjoyed in Sport mode, this is where the steering and throttle response reach their respective Everest.
The balance and stability at speed, along with the lovely rear-drive kick keeps the smiles coming.
Bringing it all together is the six-cylinder engine, its abundant power is effortlessly produced and put to the road. With the help of launch control, Toyota says acceleration from a standstill to 100km/h takes 4.3 seconds. Even without the electronic assistance off the line, it feels faster than the claimed figure.
Surprisingly, for a car keen to pronounce its athletic prowess, the suspension is compliant making the Supra more of an all-rounder than we were expecting.
Further strengthening the Supra’s ability across the spectrum of driving situations is the excellent ZF gearbox. Along with smooth changes in traffic, the eight-speed automatic rivals a dual-clutch gearbox when it comes to the speed of the shifts.
Another unexpected quality of the Supra is its ability to act as a GT car. On a long stretch of rural highway, the Supra’s cabin is a quiet place to chew through the miles.
Now it’s not perfect, the braking feel isn't as progressive as we would like and fade occurs relatively early during an enthusiastic Sunday drive.
The aural aspect of the new Supra could also be improved, the electronically assisted soundtrack doesn’t match the purity of the driving experience.
After an entertaining week with the Supra which covered 922km, we returned a consumption figure of 7.9L/100km, a brilliant result given the heavy right foot it was subjected to.
Where the Supra really breaks away from other cars of its ilk is design. It’s unique, which is a wonderful thing. Toyota has done an excellent job to create an exterior that looks great. It taps into Japanese car culture and conceals the BMW link. In an era where everything looks similar, it makes a statement.
Unfortunately, Toyota hasn’t applied the same level of effort to the interior, very little has been done to disguise the BMW influence. That said, it’s a well built, logically presented interior. There’s a premium vibe that betters the usual Toyota arrangement.
Compared to the exterior, the cabin appears to be too bland. Optioning the red leather trim may go some way to alleviating this.
The seating position is perfect and there’s plenty of space for occupants, however, aside from the generously proportioned boot, storage options in the cabin are limited.
One aspect that is unique to Toyota is the 8.8-inch digital instrument cluster, it’s not a rehash of the BMW binnacle, it’s bespoke and provides all the important driving data.
Toyota has opted to use BMW’s excellent and intuitive infotainment system. It’s one of the better systems available today, but it’s not as well-stocked as it should be.
Disappointingly, Australian buyers miss out on Apple CarPlay despite it being available in overseas markets and written about in the Supra’s local instruction manual.
While on the infotainment system, even with the brightness turned up to the max, the screen was difficult to see during a bright day.
Unless they are fully extended, the heavy doors are reluctant to stay put, this will cause problems in tight city car parks.
We should talk about price, the GT starts from $84,900 plus on-road costs, while the GTS opens at $94,900 plus on-roads. While the pricing is competitive when seen through the context of rivals from German brands, in isolation the Supra is pricey.
Both models get automatic LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights, adaptive high-beam, heated and folding electric exterior mirrors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, dual stainless-steel tailpipes and alloy wheels.
Standard kit also includes keyless entry and start, leather-accented trim, eight-way power sports seats with heating, carbon fibre-look trim, an electrochromatic rear-view mirror, dual-zone climate control and wireless smartphone charging.
Safety-wise, autonomous emergency braking with daytime pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, speed sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a rear-view camera are all standard.
The GTS adds 19-inch forged alloy wheels, upgraded sports brakes with red calipers, sports pedals, a head-up display and a premium 12-speaker JBL surround sound system.
GTS buyers also have the option of adding matte grey paint, alcantara seat inserts or red leather-accented upholstery.
In terms of ownership, Toyota backs the Supra with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty which easily whips its rivals. Service intervals are set at 12 months/15,000km whichever comes first, with the first four trips back to the dealership capped at $385 each.
For the price, the Supra doesn’t want for much. It's a cliche to say this is a sports car you can drive every day. Of course, this is a car you can drive every day but would you want to? The experience is best kept to be savoured on the weekends. We can't help but think the shine mightn’t last as long if it’s used as a daily driver.
Before complaining, enthusiasts should take a moment to consider the state of the market. SUVs and utes now dominate the mainstream which has pushed sports cars into the premium segments where attainability is reserved for the very few.
This is a car that opens up the sports car market to a wider audience which will hopefully preserve the segment for years to come.
Those of us who love the engine at the front with the drive at the rear, we should take a moment to be thankful the Supra is back.
2020 Toyota GR Supra GTS Specifications
Price from $94,900 plus on-road costs Engine 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder turbocharged petrol Power 250kW @ 5000-6500rpm Torque 500Nm @ 1600-4500rpm Transmission eight-speed automatic Performance 0-100km/h 4.3 seconds Combined Fuel Consumption 7.7L/100km Tank Capacity 52L Length 4379mm Width 1854mm Height 1292mm Wheelbase 2470mm Turning Circle 10.4m Kerb Weight 1495kg Service Intervals 12 months/15,000km Warranty five year/unlimited kilometre
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