2020 Toyota Supra GR: all hips, haunches and attitudeJanuary 12, 2020
The 2020 Toyota Supra just looks like trouble — all hips, haunches and attitude. And it is ever-ready to whisper evil deeds of speed and corner carving.
The fifth generation of the brought-back Supra nameplate dates to the lineup from 1978 to 2002. But Toyota also credits the 1967 2000GT with its double-bubble roof and inline six-cylinder engine, two hallmarks applied to the 2020 Supra.
The first four generations of Supra shared a foundation with Toyota’s sporty Celica, but the 2020 is a union with BMW, sharing its Z4 foundation. For now, BMW keeps the convertible Z4 and Toyota built the hardtop version, with performance engineering from its Gazoo Racing team (GR).
The Z4 is an excellent beginning for a two-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports car with a long hood and big engine. Toyota’s follow-through for the hardtop design provided an ideal 50:50 weight balance. And its fine-tuning of the engine, adaptive suspension and exhaust made for incredible road adhesion and a ride quality that isn’t rock-hard but has steely resolve in aggressive driving.
It is sold in trim levels of 3.0 and 3.0 Premium, plus a Launch Edition — all with the same engine, transmission and 19-inch staggered width Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZR tires (255/35 front, 275/35 rear).
Starting prices range from $50,945 to $54,945, and $56,205 for the Launch Edition, of which 1,500 were built with special paint colors and interior hues. Pricing includes the $955 freight charge from Graz, Austria, where it is built by Magna Steyr, which builds specialty cars for many makers, including the Z4.
Safety features include eight air bags, precollision system with pedestrian alert and lane-departure warning with steering assist.
Performance features include an active rear differential, active exhaust (booming in sport mode), adaptive variable sport suspension, launch control, front and rear (hollow) stabilizer bars, sport-tuned electric power-assist rack-and-pinion steering and front Brembo ventilated disc brakes (13.7-inch rotors) with red calipers, 13.6-inch vented rotors rear.
There’s only one factory option package — the driver-assist package, $1,195 — which adds dynamic radar full-speed cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors with emergency braking. With the carpeted cargo mat accessory, $80, the tester was $56,220.
For such a high-performing car, it is accommodating as a daily driver, but with more perks on the Premium model. Among them, wireless charging, Toyota’s Supra Connect emergency services, head-up display, heated seats, charging socket and 2.1-amp USB port, red brake calipers.
Settle into the cockpit and the leather aroma reminds of a BMW. Push the start button and it sounds like a BMW. And there are some recognizable BMW controls, including an iDrive rotary controller for various cabin functions, which now is refined enough to do its job without aggravation.
The shrink-wrapped body with double-bubble roof allows headroom of 38.3 inches. With 42.2 inches of legroom and the 14-way power adjustable front seats, there should be room for those 6-foot-plus, but maybe not while wearing a helmet.
The car is low with a wide sill that creates a duck-and-drop entry exercise; and those coupe doors are about 54 inches long, which is not an asset for access in tight parking situations. Because the point of the spear is about 9 feet from the driver’s seat, I was wishing for a front camera (as in the Corvette) — in addition to the front and rear parking tones (with braking).
Sightlines out the front are good, compact out the small rear glass, but over-the-shoulder glances are blocked and damning at night. The rearview camera is small but helpful.
The cabin design is smartly organized with several areas for small-item storage, including a small but lockable glove box. The shift console is somewhat unique in design because it has a knee-bolstering brace on the driver’s right, and the left side is an open sweep that creates a more participatory role for the passenger. The gauge array is bold and uncluttered with a dominant dial for RPMs and a digital speedo.
And you’ll need to keep an eye on the speed — the Supra has a sweet spot of around 82 mph, at least under my right foot.
The powertrain is a natural-born hoonigan, with “normal” and sport modes. BMW’s direct-injection and twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder (with cancellable auto stop-start at idle) has 335 horsepower and peak torque of 365 foot-pounds at a low 1,600 rpm.
In normal mode, the eight-speed automatic rolls through gears with fuel-saving swiftness, upshifting to fourth barely through a turn and on to sixth in another 20 feet or so. In sport mode, the transmission has mind-reading precision, holding shifts for maximum enjoyment and giving heady downshifts. Hit the sport button at 65 mph and the rev counter jumps from 1,800 to 2,800 rpm. Brush the brake pedal barreling into a corner and the system flashes a downshift or two, depending on speed and intensity.
It is an active and engaging experience for the driver who will quickly forgive and forget that no manual gearbox is offered, until it’s time for a high-rev launch, once so easily accomplished with a clutch and gas pedal. The transmission does have a mode for launch control, but activating it is fault-prone, critics say.
With a curb weight of 3,397 pounds, Toyota cites 0-60 acceleration in 4.1 seconds (and a few clicks quicker by some testers) and a top speed of 155 mph. The engine has a virile, deep tone when in sport mode that crackles, pops and snorts on throttle-lift.
Fuel economy ratings are 24 mpg city, 31 highway and 26 mpg combined on the recommended premium fuel. My driving with liberal use of sport mode ranged from 15.1 to 24.3 mpg and the 13.7-gallon tank will outlast your back side on a long road trip.
The 10.2 cubic feet of trunk space is adequate for weekend-getaway luggage.
Many enthusiasts approached me about this new Supra with fond memories of previous generations. This car is not that one. It has no old-school charm, but its new-school ways are convincing that $56,000 is a fair price.
Now what about a convertible?
2020 Toyota Supra GR Premium
- Body style: subcompact, 2-seat, rear-wheel drive sports car
- Engine: 335-hp, twin-scroll turbocharging with direct-injection 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder; 365 lb.-ft. torque at 1,600 rpm; auto stop-start at idle
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters and launch control; active rear differential
- Fuel economy: 24/31/26 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium fuel
- 0-60 mph: 4.1 seconds; top speed 155 mph
- Fuel tank: 13.7 gal.
- Trunk space: 10.2 cu. ft.
- Front head/leg room: 38.3/42.2 in.
- Length/wheelbase: 172.5/97.2 in.
- Width/height: 73/50.9 in.
- Curb weight: 3,397 lbs.
- Turning circle: 34.6 ft.
- Standard equipment includes: smart-key locking and push-button ignition, color head-up display, rearview camera with guidance lines, electric parking brake, 8.8-inch infotainment touch screen with Supra Command with navigation, Apple CarPlay compatible, black leather-trimmed upholstery, 14-way power-adjustable (heated) sport seats with driver’s-seat memory function with lumbar and bolster adjustment, carbon-fiber trim, sport pedals, 12-speaker JBL83 surround-sound audio system, wireless charging
- Performance features, include: front and rear (hollow) stabilizer bars, sport-tuned electric power-assist rack-and-pinion steering, front Brembo ventilated disc brakes (13.7-inch rotors) with red calipers, 13.6-inch vented rotors rear, 19-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport ZR tires (255/35 front, 275/35 rear), active rear differential, active exhaust, adaptive variable sport suspension with front MacPherson struts and multilink rear, active rear sport differential, launch control
- Safety features include: 8 air bags, precollision system with pedestrian alert, lane-departure warning with steering assist, auto high-beam headlight dimming, hill-start assist, brake assist, stability and traction controls
- Base price: $54,945, including $955 freight charge; price as tested $56,220
- Options on test vehicle: Driver-assist package, $1,195, includes dynamic radar full-speed cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors with emergency braking; carpeted cargo mat $80
- Where assembled: Graz, Austria
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain
Original article can be found here.