2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium: I’ve often said if Toyota could just build a BMW, everything would be great. And now they’ve gone and done it, sharing this sports car and the BMW Z4 M40i.
Price: $56,615 for a pretty top-of-the-line Supra. Driver-assist package added $1,195 for radar cruise control and plenty of other safety features; paint protection film added $390.
Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes that it “draws the driver fully into the experience, quicker than its power rating lets on, good value,” but not the “cramped interior, limited rearward visibility, German accent.”
Marketer’s pitch: “Pure driving pleasure.”
Reality: What they said.
What’s new: Forget what you may remember from the 1980s versions of the Supra (except for maybe the cramped interior). This is quite the sports car, all new for 2020.
Coming for 2021 will be the option for a less souped-up version, if you prefer to go half the way.
Up to speed: Whoosh. The Supra offers one-of-a-kind performance (just like the Z4 M40i). Its 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine creates 335 horsepower, and that motivates the car nicely, with 60 mph coming in just 3.8 seconds, according to Car and Driver.
On the road: I seriously could not look for enough excuses to drive this car. I missed my pre-COVID supercommuter status. Handling brings joy, curves are a delight, and the township’s roundabout made for many a fun moment. Of course, a little more traffic would have ruined most of it, so there’s yet another bright side to staying at home.
But it’s not an easy ride. The tail wants to go just a little bit awry when you floor it. The steering is just almost too fast; lesser drivers are going to wreck it. I’ve never had the joy of driving a Porsche 930 (or any of the air-cooled delights), but I have a feeling this might be a taste of it.
Whump: The Supra is a sports car, and it sure looks like one, but I was still surprised by just how low it sat to the ground. So surprised that my first entry into the car began with Mr. Driver’s Seat hitting the seat embarrassingly hard. Fortunately, I was accompanied by Sturgis Kid 4.0, who isn’t judgy. (Besides, I’ve done far stupider things since.)
After that initial shock wore off, the car welcomes completely. The seat cradles the operator in comfort, and a little bit of adjustment helped me feel as if I wasn’t scraping the road and craning to see over the hood. Unfortunately, the short windows made seeing up high a little difficult.
Controls are fully Toyotafied, and the gauge pod is its own genre, with everything pretty easy to figure out.
Flying blind: On the last day with the car, I had to travel 202, and I learned a lot. Highway manners are excellent for a sports car.
But visibility is the pits. Changing lanes is a frightening prospect and requires plenty of twisting and neck-craning to make sure no other vehicles are close by — after I missed two in my sideview in short order.
Play some tunes: And here’s where the Bavarian Toyota Works aspect of the car really pays off. While driving along the highway, I decided to switch on the stereo, and it was easy. I wanted to change the station, and I didn’t have to hold my breath; I simply grabbed the easy-to-use dial and started twisting. I wanted to switch to my iPod, and simple as a pimple. No learning curve, no bracing myself, no sliding past what I wanted while tap-tap-tapping the touchpad in a Lexus.
And sound is pretty nice — I’d call it an A-minus.
Leave off the tunes: The exhaust note is sweet. It’s only a recording, but you won’t care.
Friends and stuff: It’s a two-seater, so pick your seatmate wisely. There’s a little bit of space behind the seats, but it’s not much.
Cargo space is not mentioned in press materials, and it’s probably better that way.
Make some more friends: Everyone stops to inquire about the car. From six feet away.
It’s a beaut: I generally say very little about the styling, but boy, this is a pretty design. The rear corners really grab me. And that’s unusual for the company that brings us the Lexus Scowl.
Night shift: The lights really sit low, to the point that it’s hard to see where you’re going at night. And I even scooted the seat back down to make sure — still a problem.
Fuel economy: I averaged just under 20 mpg in a rollicking Chester County roller-coaster-worthy ride. Only the best fuel will do, not surprisingly.
Where it’s built: Graz, Austria.
How it’s built: Consumer Reports gives the Supra a 3 out of 5 for predicted reliability.