Driven: 2020 Toyota GR Supra Is A Track Weapon AND An Everyday Sports Car

It’s back! After a 21-year absence, the Toyota Supra returns to the United States this summer – and, we’ll think you’ll agree it was about time, too.

Created in collaboration with BMW, the 2020 GR Supra is the fastest road-going, production Toyota-badged model ever created and the first to be designed without any set fuel economy targets. As a result, it is a high-performance coupe which tries to live up to the legacy of its predecessors while also taking aim at the Porsche 718 Cayman that, until now, has set the bar in this niche.

All-New, But With Some Cues From The Past

Reviving an iconic model is a difficult task, but Toyota has succeeded in creating a car that feels like a natural evolution of the fourth-generation Supra that debuted in 1993. They managed to accomplish this by incorporating a number of cues from the FT-1 concept. Among the styling features that carryover are the double bubble roof and an evolution of the concept’s front fascia. Both models also feature bulging fenders, side scoops and stabilizer fins on the front spoiler and side skirts. The rear end is also similar to the concept, but the production model adopts a rear liftgate and a dual exhaust system which is integrated into the diffuser.

Overall, the Supra measures 172.5 inches (4,382 mm) long, 73 inches (1,854 mm) wide and 50.9 inches (1,293 mm) tall, with a wheelbase that spans 97.2 inches (2,469 mm). This means the car is 5.8 inches (147.32 mm) longer, 3.1 inches (79 mm) wider and 0.3 inches (8 mm) taller than the 86. However, the Supra has a 4 inch (102 mm) shorter wheelbase and sits 0.4 inches (10 mm) lower to the ground.

A Classy, BMW-ish Cabin

While the exterior styling is unique, the cabin certainly has a BMW vibe as a number of components carryover from an assortment of Munich’s models. Chief among them are the shifter, switchgear and iDrive infotainment system which is available with either a 6.5- or 8.8-inch display.

Die-hard Supra fans will probably detest this, but the cabin comes nicely equipped with 14-way power leather / Alcantara sport seats, an 8.8-inch digital instrument cluster and carbon fiber trim. Drivers will also find a dual-zone automatic climate control system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 10-speaker audio system and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters.

The Supra 3.0 Premium packs on additional equipment including heated leather seats, a wireless smartphone charger and a 12-speaker JBL premium audio system. Buyers will also find a color head-up display, wireless Apple CarPlay (Android users, you’re out of luck) support and a larger 8.8-inch infotainment system with GPS navigation.

The upgrades are nice and every Supra has a spacious cabin with surprising head- and legroom. The seats are heavily bolstered, yet comfortable for both road and track use. Furthermore, the cabin is well put together and nearly everything has a premium feel.

Mind you, there isn’t much storage space, but the liftgate opens to reveal a small boot with a short pass through. Space is at a premium, but there should be enough to hold several backpacks or a couple of carry-on bags.

The Inline-Six Returns

In the United States, the Supra will be offered exclusively (for now…) with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six sourced from BMW that produces 335 hp (250 kW / 340 PS) and 365 lb-ft (494 Nm) of torque.

The engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF and sends power to the rear wheels via an active differential which “senses” what’s happening and can respond by locking up to 100%. This setup enables the coupe to accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in approximately 4.1 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Very German, that one…

The powertrain is a delight, as the engine is a willing partner that always feels like it has more power to give. While it’s not quite as strong as the US-spec BMW Z4 M40i, which has 382 hp (285 kW / 387 PS) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque, it feels more than adequateand a quick prod of the accelerator results in near instantaneous response. Some fans will undoubtedly want more power and they’ll be able to turn to aftermarket specialists, who are already working on upgrades for the car – and probably getting ready for the influx of customers.

Despite being billed as a pure sports car, the Supra doesn’t use a dual-clutch transmission, though the eight-speed gearbox is nothing to look down upon as it’s well suited for performance models. Gear changes are fast and perfectly timed, even on the track where the transmission has to make multiple changes in rapid succession. More importantly, the geabox is smooth and comfortable on the road.

While the Supra wasn’t designed with fuel economy in mind, it’s not too thirsty at the pump, having an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 24 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. Unfortunately, the car requires pricey premium fuel.

The 2020 GR Supra has three different drive modes: Normal, Sport and Sport Individual, with Sport sharpening throttle response, increasing steering weight, delivering crisper shifts, livening up the exhaust and making the active differential respond more aggressively.  The changes are noticeable and users can fine-tune them by selecting Sport Individual, which allows owners to adjust each setting to suit their tastes.

The Supra also offers three settings for the Vehicle Stability Control system. Normal keeps the system fully engaged, while Traction loosens the electronic watchdog to allow for a bit more fun. Drivers can also fully deactivate the system by selecting VSC Off.

Delivering On The Sports Front

Sticking with the performance theme, the Supra has excellent handling thanks, in no small part, to its 50:50 weight distribution. The ride is also surprisingly comfortable and has a premium feel that can likely be chalked up to its active dampers and BMW pedigree.

The steering is pretty good, being quick and responsive without ever getting twitchy. It doesn’t feel quite as natural as the one on the 86, but it’s predictable and accurate nonetheless.

Braking performance is also excellent. This is due to the Supra’s high-performance braking system which features 13.7 inch (348 mm) ventilated front discs which are backed up by Brembo four-piston fixed calipers. The rear discs measure 13 (330 mm) or 13.6 inches (345 mm) and are paired with a single piston floating caliper.

The only thing that mars the driving experience is the Supra’s exhaust system. It produces a loud exhaust crackle which may seem cool at first, but quickly becomes tiring. Taking the car out of Sport mode lessens the effect, but it’s still there and far more present than any noises associated with the turbo.

Do not let all of the above fool you into thinking that it’s more akin to a grand tourer; this thing can dance on the track. During hot laps with master driver Herwig Daenens, the car’s dual personality becomes readily apparent as it’s a beast which can drift like crazy or go after impressive lap times – it’s your call.

In the hands of less experienced drivers, the Supra is still rewarding and encourages you to push it harder. As you’ll become more familiar with the car and track, laps times will surely drop.

While track driving can be intimidating for some, the various modes mean you can explore its limits without completely disabling the electronic nannies, so the various safety systems can intervene before things get too hairy. Of course, you can send them all to sleep and take matters into your own hands (and feet).

A Luxurious Coupe With A Dual Personality

The 2020 Toyota GR Supra was seven years in the making and the payoff appears to be worth the wait. While fans might roll their eyes at the partnership with BMW, it helped to spawn a stylish sports car with an upscale interior, plenty of power and great handling characteristics.

It also has a dual personality which enables it to be a comfortable and luxurious sports car on the road as well as a star on the track. That’s a relatively rare combination and it’s impressive that Toyota managed to get the balance just right.

There’s a lot to love about the new Supra, and it’s reasonably priced as the entry-level model starts at $49,990 before a $930 delivery, processing and handling fee. That means it actually costs $500 less than the Supra Turbo from 1996.

So, these are our impressions from experiencing Toyota’s halo sports car for the first time. We’ll have a lot more to say about the 2020 Supra later this week, as we’ll explore the car’s relationship with the Z4 in greater detail and answer your questions from last week’s Ask Us Anything post, thus you might want to stay tuned.


more photos...

Picture credits: Michael Gauthier For Carscoops

  • Callanish

    From certain angles, I think it looks great, but from other angles I think it looks horrible, but It is unique in that they’ve done all they can do to differ it from its BMW twin…..except for that interior which looks like a bit of a Frankenstein mess. A manual transmission would have also done wonders for its aspirations as a sports car. I like it, but I don’t love it.

    • javier

      yup, a 4 second car is nice , ok these days but a 3.5 second car combined with the huge price discount vs porsche would be incredible

  • ctk4949

    I love most of it, dont like the black and chrome wheels. Dont like that red interior. Don’t like the bmw ac off button, you have to lower the fan speed until it turns off and NO FREAKING ANDROID AUTO!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH

  • Jason Miller

    “Unfortunately, the car requires pricey premium fuel.”

    If you want to buy a car like this hoping to use regular fuel, you shouldn’t buy a car like this.

    • Dude

      Exactly. Honda even recommends against putting regular gas in the $24k Civic Si

      • Jason Miller

        I have an Elantra Sport which Hyundai said can use regular. Datalogs have proven the car pulls timing like crazy on it. The car just loves premium fuel. Runs so much better on it.

    • Bash

      On point!

  • Jweisberg

    The back looks like a storm trooper. the front looks like it ran into a light pole. The interior does not look sporty or driver focused. What I love about the 4th gen supra is the cockpit like dash. When you are in it you feel like you are in command. This 5th gen will definitely sell more than the 4th gen but it is lacking too many things to call it a real supra.

  • Bash

    How to increase the quality of a BMW?
    Make a Toyota out of the components. lol

    • ErnieB

      I really want to Bash this car…lmao

  • Wandering_Spirit

    Saddening design. The more i look at it, the badder i feel. And seeing it drifting does not help. It has the same problem i see with the GT86 (on top of all other problems). That front is not just ugly; it makes it look old right out of the box and that high rear is a cry for desperation. What were they thinking? Design.wise, a 370 Nismo fits much better, even with that old design. The inside is really BMW style. Can’t handle that. This is a rip off.

  • SteersUright

    Looks particularly sharp in yellow, despite its relatively weird overall design.

  • salamOOn

    BMW is all i can see inside…. i can’t imagine driving it and thinking about it as toyota.

  • BlackPegasus

    So the engine, transmission, idrive system, interior materials and design were directly sourced from a BMW Z4 yet all of the reviewers on YouTube are being paid to convince viewers that this is a Supra? I find this car insulting.

    • Matt

      All the reviews I’ve seen have spoken a lot about the fact it’s a BMW underneath.

  • GobbleUp

    Looks horrible.
    Interior is BMW bad. Not coupe sporty.
    Give it 5 years and it will be discontinued during a global economic cool down.
    Scrap heap.

    • illogicalPotato

      It looks fantastic and drives wonderful? All the press at the launch event loved it? I’ll give your a refresher. Many people said the same thing about the 350z when it first came out. It sold like hotcakes. Try one out for yourself instead

      • Mike anonymous

        This Supra is starting to grow on me… Now that I was not expecting.
        (& Before I begin) Ahh the 350Z. I remember when that vehicle first came out. Even if you didn’t know anything about cars,. you knew what the 350Z was, & Even if you had never seen it, you surely had heard of its’ name.

        Having actually seen some better photographs and imagery of this vehicle (the Supra)… YES SURE it STILL is not what I was expecting or fully what I wanted…. but it’s not bad. And at least in terms of exterior styling, apart from the front opening which I am still iffy on, the rest of this vehicle design is actually growing on me, and those headlights are something I find extremely cool. (I’m personally getting very ‘new-age Pininfarina‘ senses from their design).

        Now of course I still do wish they would have kept the Supra a GT (Grand Touring) vehicle,.. but the Supra as a sports car, does not seem to actually be a ‘bad‘ sports car. I still wish it was something more of an ‘affordable’ LFA as the FT-1 Concept originally was, or that they had built the FT-1 concept themselves in general. But the vehicle we’ve received really isn’t all that bad,.. if it it was a choice between a Z4 and this,.. I would choose the Supra in a heartbeat.

        Toyota has left so,.. SO MUCH room for customization that, THAT alone makes the vehicle (for myself at least) somewhat desirable (and is part of what may actually attract you to buy one in at all) apart from the design, (which thanks to that customizability) can actually be modified to how YOU want it to be (to a degree).

        Overall, I personally wish Toyota did more for this vehicle,.. but that is not to say that they won’t as the potential true is there for this vehicle. BUT with that said… It’s growing on me,.. not as quickly as Toyota may like, but certainly a lot more, and quite a bit faster, than I originally thought it ever would.

      • javier

        the press loves it , lol. The press loves anything it gets paid to review

  • getoffme

    First reliable BMW guaranteed.

    • Alduin

      How? Since it has a BMW engine and transmission?

      • Matt

        Toyota reliability-tested the drivetrain themselves, testing every single nut and bolt. They were satisfied it was a strong design.

      • getoffme

        Toyota made that Subaru boxer engine reliable.

        • Alduin

          Toyota just added direct Injection to the BRZ nothing else.

  • Alexandro Pietro

    As desirable as a Mustang or a Corvette!!!

  • TheBelltower

    Toyota can be credited for the design, while BMW is credited for the engineering. Toyota should be embarrassed about this.

  • Alduin

    How can this be a Supra when it doesn’t even have real vents? It doesn’t have a removable targa top either.

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