2020 Toyota GR Supra Test Drive and Review


CARLOS LAGO: That right there
is a 2020 Toyota GR Supra. We’re at the drive
event for the car, so that means we finally
get to get behind the wheel. A couple caveats
before we do though. One, we’re going to be driving
a couple of varieties of this, so the color interior
may change magically. Also, it’s a little windy
out, so you might have to bear with some audio issues. Before we get started, make
sure you hit Subscribe, and visit edmunds.com to
find your next perfect car. Well, let’s get
driving, shall we? 2020 Toyota Supra
finally is here. And I’ve done some lapping
sessions already with this car, and I can tell you I like it. It’s really fun to drive for
a lot of different reasons which all require a
lot of explanation. But the too long, didn’t
watch version of this review is I enjoy driving
this car, and that’s what really matters when it
comes to sports cars, isn’t it? So this started
life as the BMW Z4, but Toyota is insistent
that early in development they forked into two
different directions and did not maintain contact
as they developed each car. The goal of that
was to make sure that they behaved like
two different cars. And though I haven’t driven
the Z4 on track quickly, I can tell you this
feels like a fast BMW. Now that may sound like
a complaint, but it’s not and for reasons I’ll
get back to in a bit. I’ll say the reason I enjoy
this is because it has a lot of things going for it. The first is a very
responsive engine. This turbo straight six
generates a ton of torque very quickly in the power
band, and what that does is it allows you to leave
corners in higher gears than you might think
you need to do. You went to second there, but
we probably didn’t need to. Could have scooted out in third. It also smacks the
rear tires with torque, which makes this car do
my second-favorite thing, overseer. This is a rather
neutral-handling car. In second and third
gear corners you can expect a pretty
heavy dose of oversteer, and it’s one that’s enjoyable
but also always there. And I’m, frankly, surprised
that Toyota of all companies is going to make a sports
car with this kind of setup, with this kind of
neutrality in it, just because, you know,
for an amateur driver, it may feel a
little overwhelming. I think it’s the
right amount though. I think it’s really fun. And fortunately the
stability control can be there to help
you drive through that. We have the stability
control off, and that speaks to the
other attributes of this car that I like. The first is the control of
the chassis and the steering. We have to talk about
how this thing sounds. It’s terrific. It’s a loud turbo straight six. Not only is it loud in here. It’s loud outside. You can hear it pop
and all that fun stuff when you’re flying
by a crowd of people at your local show and shine. And that’s really enjoyable. I can’t imagine
why you would need to put an aftermarket
exhaust on this car. You can and people
probably will. I just don’t really
see the need. And it’s this– [LAUGHS] That’s really fun. That’s really fun. Now [INAUDIBLE] out of
our way, we can really dig into the throttle. Oh boy, that feels good. And this thing cooks. The power band feel strong all
the way through its 6,500 RPM redline. That’s a really important
thing because the torque arrives so early. They’re claiming 1,600 RPM
is when peak torque comes in. I forget peak power RPM
off the top of my head, but this thing will pull all
the way into its redline, and you won’t really notice
it because the motor’s pulling so strong when you hit redline. Downshift here. Now when I say it’s not
necessarily a bad thing if this drives like a BMW– it’s a nice fun, oversteery BMW. That’s not really a complaint. This is probably the least
expensive M-like driving experience you can
get in a new car. Think about it that way. When I asked the chief
engineer of this car what their main competitor was,
what he considered it, he immediately answered
Porsche Cayman S. They were so focused on
the vehicle they actually bought one for their competitive
fleet every single model year so they could
chart the changes and watch the evolution
of it and see what Porsche did to make it tick. That kind of focus
you think is going to turn into something that
drives really fun or drives really well, and it
does here, but it’s also an interesting
target for the Supra. A Supra has never been a
light, nimble, lithe sports car like the Boxster and Cayman are. It’s a front-engine,
rear-drive bruiser. This is a small car, but
it doesn’t feel like it. It doesn’t drive like it. Oh yeah, that’s good. So this has a distinct
driving characteristic that’s very un-Boxster like. Is that OK? I think it is. It would be boring if all
cars behaved the same way. This is very enjoyable, very
fun, but also very different. Of course we have
the usual array of adaptive and advanced tech. We have adaptive
dampers that change their window of
operation based of of if you’re in normal
setting or sport setting. We have an active differential
that’s constantly adjusting the torque left and right. It can do a lot of trick
things very quickly with how it controls the bias
and power between each wheel. And the nice thing
is, is not only do you have the adjustability
from the oversteery kind of nature of this
car, it gives you an additional sense of control. It’s not a
one-dimensional handling or two-dimensional handling car. When you can use the
overseer to your advantage and drive through it, that gives
you another tool in your pocket for driving fast,
which I really like. You can lift off the throttle
to help turn in more on corners when you’ve got the
line slightly wrong. It’s just another
tool in your disposal. And advanced drivers I’m
sure will appreciate that. You always get that little
nudge, and that’s really fun. I was hesitant of
the Supra, how it could perform, how it
would feel like based on, one, how it looks; two,
its connection with BMW; and, three, overall,
its spec chart, which isn’t that impressive
compared to every other sports car that costs about $50,000. But I’ve got to say,
the driving sensation almost makes up for it. This is really fun,
and it’s fun in a way I’d like to explore a lot more. Whether you’re going
to be able to explore this kind of oversteer
on a winding track or winding road at home
is a different question, but here on a racetrack I’m
really having a good time. I really like the
engine response. Steering has some nice
advantages going for it. The brakes I’m not
sure if they’ll live, survive track use. They are getting a little
soft even during this lapping. We have a lot of people
rotating through these cars. But overall, a solid,
enjoyable driving experience that I think Supra
fans should look forward to. We’ve already seen
the debates online. And given our take on
the Supra’s design, it’s questionable,
I think, at best. But instead of talking at length
about that, because we already know that, let’s talk
about some other details that we found since
looking at the car. When you pop the
hood, hey, yeah, there’s the turbo-charged
straight six. But when you look
around at details, you start seeing some
interesting things, especially these stick out. There’s a hole here
and a hole here. They’re both threaded, and
this area on the air box is scalloped, and
it’s like there should be a brace there or something. Well, there was at
one point, and Toyota decided they didn’t
want it because they thought the handling
characteristics it brought were undesirables. They removed it but
allowed the aftermarket to install those places if they
want to make their own handling changes. There’s a couple other areas
where they’ve done that too. There’s large spaces for a
larger transmission cooler, and there’s space for
a differential cooler if you’re so inclined
to install one. It’s a nice nod
to the aftermarket which has been such a fan of
the Supra for a long time. Now when we talk
wheels and tires, they’re 19 inches front and
rear but a staggered setup. Most importantly,
they’re forged aluminum. That’s going to help keep
the weight down, especially the unsprung mass. Very important. 9 inches wide in the front,
10 inches wide in the rear. But as we pass
through here– we said we weren’t going to talk about
styling, but what is this? It just doesn’t work either
in photo or in the flesh. It’s a separate piece. You can see it’s just
kind of stuck on there. Hopefully the aftermarket
can take care of that too. But as we get to the back, my
favorite part of the Supra. This just looks great,
I think, to my eyes. I love the spoiler. I love the tail-light design. And even though there’s
a lot of parts on it that I think are confusing, I
think the drive more than makes up for them. I like driving the Supra, and
I mentioned that it reminds me of a BMW in many ways,
and I think the strongest way is the interior. I mean, listen when
I turn this thing on. [CHIME] That chime– the
exhaust sounds cool, but that chime is 100% BMW. Steering wheel, BMW. Shifter, BMW. Entertainment system, BMW. Climate controls, BMW. All these buttons
right here, BMW. Everything is BMW. It even smells like
a new BMW in here. It’s weird. It’s not bad. It’s just strange
because who’s going to complain about having
the interior of a BMW in their Toyota
for way less money than the equivalent
performance-model BMW? I’m sure not. The only obvious
Toyota parts in here are the center of
the steering wheel. The airbag cover, it’s got
a big Toyota logo on it, and the gauge cluster, which
is a nice digital display with a big centrally located
tachometer, digital speedo. It’s all very nice
and easy to read. Interesting though
from the driver’s seat, this is a small interior. It’s only two seats. It’s not like the two plus
two with the previous models. This only has two
seats, and it feels small inside of a big car. This is not a big car. It’s a small car. It’s approximately the
size of a Toyota 86, but it feels bigger
than that, and I think that has to do
with a couple things. The steering-wheel
diameter is larger than I think it should be. Toyota says they had to do this
because of airbag restrictions. They needed a
certain size airbag, and that requires a
certain size wheel. The thickness of the rim
though is actually tiny compared to what you’d
find in a performance BMW, and I prefer that. The hood line kind of swells
up, and the dash is tall too, and the roof line is low. When you get in and out, you
can easily bang your head against the roof. In fact, when you
have the helmet on if you’re doing a track
day, there’s not a ton of room to maneuver around. So all those things
add up and make for an interior that
feel small or the car feels larger than that, and
it’s a strange phenomenon. We certainly have
more visibility than you’d get in
a Camaro but not as much as you’d get with
a mid-engined sports car like a Cayman. When it comes to
interior features, the base model, the 3.0, comes
with a smaller entertainment system, a lower-power stereo. It has Bluetooth but it
doesn’t have Apple CarPlay. The seat centers are
Alcantara instead of leather, which they
are here, and a couple of things like that. It also has smaller
rear brake rotors. When you step up to the premium
or if you get the launch edition, you get leather
interior, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay connectivity–
no Android Auto– larger entertainment
display with navigation, heads-up display, and
so on and so forth. It’s nice to know that the
majority of the changes are simply entertainment and
creature comfort as opposed to performance, so you can get
most of the Supra experience with the base model. First impressions on
the Toyota Supra– well, it’s really fun to drive,
so fun that it almost outshines everything else
that’s weird about the car from the styling to the very
obviously BMW underpinnings. Now you can spend a
lot of time debating what it means to be a Supra,
Toyota, or even a BMW, but I’d rather just spend
that time driving the car.