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Toyota News & Reviews

TOYOTA SUPRA RETURNS FOR MORE

Toyota faithful around the globe were thrilled for the return of the brand’s halo car, the 2020 Toyota Supra. It’s a different car than the last one but is still worthy of the Supra name, and the legacy earned by its former self. Napleton.news had a chance to put this modern legacy through its paces recently. Here’s how it felt:

WHAT IS THE NEW SUPRA?

Toyota GR Supra in West Palm Beach

The last Toyota Supra was a design that started with the Toyota Celica but added a lengthened front end to accommodate a six-cylinder engine. It included a widened body to increase the track and properly fit wider performance tires. The first four generations existed between 1978 and 2002. This new, fifth-generation version started construction in May 2019, as a 2020 model.

Toyota GR Supra logo and signature

This new GR Supra is the result of a joint venture between Toyota, who supplied the body design and suspension tuning, and BMW, who provided the turbocharged engine and performance expertise. The new Supra and its BMW Z4 (G29) step-brother are built at the Magna Steyr manufacturing plant in Graz, Austria. That factory is no stranger to building cars, having done so for Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW, Aston Martin, Audi and others.

TOYOTA’S NEW PERFORMANCE COUPE

The new Toyota GR Supra is the brand’s new performance sports coupe. We say new (italicized and in boldface) because it is new after being away for nearly 18 years. But its legacy was kept alive by the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) fans who continued to import and modify used Supras. Oh, and there was a movie: the Fast and the Furious. Perhaps you remember it?

Gazoo Racing logo

You may be asking, “what’s all this GR Supra stuff?” GR stands for GAZOO Racing. What’s a GAZOO, you ask? A Gazoo is a garage, a very intimate place where people work together to improve the smallest details, to develop cars and services for each customer. According to Toyota, that’s the spirit that drives Toyota Gazoo Racing today. In the case of the GR Supra, the GR design team was responsible for most of the performance tweaks that made its way onto the new Supra.

Toyota GR Supra’s 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine

TWIN-SCROLL TURBO POWER

We drove the Toyota GR Supra 3.0-Premium, whose power derives from a single engine: A BMW-supplied 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder, twin-scroll turbocharged engine that also finds its way under the hood of the BMW Z4. Here, it produces 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque.

Power makes its way to the pavement by an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capabilities controlled by the gear selector or by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shift levers. There are a variety of standard performance upgrades that would show up as options on lesser vehicles. They include an electronic rear differential, adaptive dampers, 13.7-inch Brembo brakes and staggered 19-inch tires.

Gazoo Racing has tweaked the Supra to display high structural rigidity, a low center of gravity and an optimal 50:50 weight bias for near-perfect cornering balance. In our eyes, that makes it the perfect track day car.

AN EXTERNAL VIEW

The Toyota Supra in a hero pose

From the outside, the new Toyota GR Supra gets its inspiration from a number of its past relatives. They include the FT-1 Concept car, the Toyota 2000 GT and even the AE86 Corolla. A short wheelbase makes the Supra agile but also enhances the visual length of the front and rear overhangs.

Toyota Supra headlights

At the leading edge are a pair of signature LED headlights and red caliper brake covers. Although not a dead ringer for the previous Supra, we like the big stinger-style hood. Sadly, we find ourselves disappointed in the number of fake hood scoops and side vents, where real working versions would serve the car better. They didn’t totally disappoint, finishing off the rear deck with a spoiler that’s inspired by the shopping cart wing seen on the last generation Supra.

AND INSIDE?

Toyota GR Supra interior

Inside, the new Toyota Supra feels like a cocoon. The leather hide-covered seats held us firmly in place during quick maneuvers that would have you sliding from left to right in other vehicles. But wait, this interior looks surprisingly Teutonic. Credit that to Toyota playing footsies with BMW. As a result, this well-sorted cockpit offers all the familiar bits found in the other brand’s vehicles. That includes an updated version of iDrive (known here as a Touchpad Rotary Control), an 8.8-inch wide-format touchscreen display, a 12-speaker JBL Audio System, and Apple CarPlay. Everything’s here and all within easy reach of the business side of the cockpit.

Toyota GR Supra front seats

If the new Supra had a shortcoming, it would be in the low door openings. Finding yourself in a tight parking space may make it difficult to open the door fully for a smooth entrance. Trust us here: Plant your bottom directly in the center of the seat. Otherwise, catching just the outside edge will almost always find you whacking your noggin instead.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Toyota Supra’s high-performance brakes

Starting up the Toyota Supra requires just a push of the button before flipping the “sore thumb” gear selector into position. It eagerly pushes forward with an aggressive growl that lets you know it’s not just another parking lot poser.

Flipping the paddle shift levers had us channeling our favorite Formula 1 pilot (who drives for Mercedes-AMG Formula 1). Click up with the right paddle to climb through the gears and pull on the left to step back down. Acceleration showed no sudden hunting or hesitation. Instead, we found a vehicle as much at home on the track as it would be on the street.

Toyota Supra from the rear

During a push through our South Florida test loop, we found this Supra eager to dart through a turn while maintaining an almost flat attitude. Click on sport mode to make the car a little tail-happy. But always remember, first into a turn, first out, we always say.

To learn more about the new Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium, and to arrange your own test drive, please contact the Napleton Auto Group.

Photos by Mark Elias.

This post was published on July 17, 2020

Mark Elias

I've loved everything on wheels: Trains, Planes and definitely Automobiles. I am constantly in search of the latest in new technology, which makes our lives better each day, but will always respect the classics. You can't continue forward without first taking a look back at where you've been.

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