The face of evolution: the 2020 Toyota GR Supra GTS
EVOLUTION is defined as any process of development or growth. Every manufacturer has experienced it, Mitsubishi even labelled an entire series of sports sedans with it. Now it’s Toyota’s turn, with the 2020 GR Supra GTS.
Rebirth is nothing new though, Nissan bought the GT-R legend back in 2007, while Honda resurrected the NSX in 2016. But until recently, the once Celica-based Supra remained something for the history books.
That was until Gazoo Racing inspired the return of the JDM icon, giving us the A90 or GR edition. It’s the fifth generation of vehicle to bare the Supra name, and the first to be developed in partnership with BMW, but more on that later.
If you’re not aware of the Supra’s pedigree, the easiest way to remember it is as the main attraction from the first The Fast and the Furious film, with that example powered by its original twin turbo in-line 6 cylinder (2JZ) and a plethora of aftermarket goodies.
Fast forward to now, and there’s a huge amount of hype for the shiny new A90. At first glance, it’s a menacing looking car, particularly in Monza Red. All the colour options are named after race tracks from around the globe.
The entire exterior of the car radiated Toyota’s racing pedigree, the front bumper, headlight shape and overall side profile are especially reminiscent of the JZA80 Supra’s styling, while the rear is the most updated and close-to-concept part of the body.
Once you’ve embedded yourself into the black leather and Alcantara semi-bucket seats, you’re treated to a spectacle of Toyota’s partnership with BMW. The sports tachometer breaks up an otherwise full LCD instrument cluster, complete with head-up display.
An 8.8-inch touchscreen running similar software to BMW’s Z4 (G29), a JBL 12-speaker surround sound system, and a strange wireless charging tray with an in-built cover (perhaps with the intention of preventing the mobile device from distracting the driver).
Carbon fibre trim adds to the look. Unfortunately, the driver-oriented cockpit is now a thing of the past as Toyota have decided to have the centre console and dash straight; a little cruel considering glare makes the touchscreen barely usable.
A joystick-like dial next to the gear lever can be used to control the touchscreen and adjust all of the settings while two cup holders and a small storage slot complete the centre console, over the transmission tunnel. There’s 290-litres of boot storage space too.
It drives superbly. Handles the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.4 seconds. It’s barely enough time to gather your thoughts, before you’re already moving at the average highway speed limit.
And if you had doubts about electric power steering before now, then the Supra will ease your worries. The car handles like a dream, pointed and direct. Every input into the steering wheel is noticeable on the road, designed and crafted like a proper sports car.
We did however notice some negatives. The first and most noticeable was the wind buffeting within the cabin with both windows down, most likely caused by the open cabin to boot space area.
However, there are aftermarket manufacturers who have created bolt-on diffusers which claim to drastically reduce this. Another issue we encountered was dash vibration under acceleration, especially evident under heavy acceleration.
But what about the iconic 2JZ power plant from the past. Well fret not as the GR Supra’s new 3.0-litre in-line 6-cylinder engine is quite the monster. It’s a BMW motor and yes, side by side, the engine bay is almost identical to the Z4 (we looked, just to make sure).
The most obvious comparison is the plastic engine cover. One sporting a BMW badge with signature red and blue M-series stripes while the other has a Toyota badge. There is also some obvious chassis bracing missing from the Supra that the Z4 retains.
Boasting 250kW of power and 500Nm of torque, BMW’s B58B30 engine is paired up to ZF Friedrichshafen AG’s fantastic 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s one of the smoothest automatic gearboxes you may ever have the pleasure of experiencing.
It puts some dual-clutch gearboxes to shame, and there’s also a limited-slip differential, which helps puts the power down to both rear wheels with style and aplomb, making the Supra capable of it’s lightning-quick acceleration.
The exhaust exudes a beautiful deep rumbling tone on startup, during cruise and under acceleration, a sound you’d only expect to hear from a super car. Even a light tap on the accelerator while parked will allow the car to let off a low bark.
Although we genuinely believe a car like this should start off in sport mode by default (and this definitely applies to the Supra), the standard driving mode, which includes an unusually clumsy auto off feature, shouldn’t be overlooked.
In standard mode, you’ll notice changes to the exhaust mapping which won’t crackle and pop every time you downshift or every time you ease off the accelerator. You’ll also notice the transmission mapping change as the car slides through the gears quickly.
It’s designed to keep the Supra quiet, making the 250kW less noticeable.
The car is loaded with safety features too, including seven airbags, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure assist, a pedestrian-safe pop up bonnet, traffic sign recognition and tyre pressure monitoring.
Unfortunately, the car is yet to receive an ANCAP rating but we’re pretty confident it will take home nothing short of five stars. It has a drive away price of $102,271, but there are options, including premium paint and a black Alcantara interior, pushing it to $105,271.
The GR Supra’s sister car, the Z4 M40i, has a drive away price of $135,000-odd. It’s understandable considering the more premium interior and the roadster appeal of the BMW model.
Porsche’s 718 Cayman without options has a drive away price of $129,187. The Supra also comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty with annual fixed-price servicing. The Z4 only comes with a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Overall, the Supra GTS is an excellent package for any real driver, or enthusiast. A suitable reincarnation of a long-lost legend. Toyota is once again providing enthusiasts a perfect clean slate for modifications.
The 2020 Toyota GR Supra GTS combines performance, driveability, good looks and an attention grabbing presence that makes it a clear winner against its competitors, and other cars almost double in price. And yes, we’d own one. In a heart beat.
Our 2020 Toyota GR Supra GTS was supplied by Toyota Australia. To find out more, contact your local Toyota dealer. Images courtesy of J_Hui Design/Photography.
This article was first published as Auto Review: 2020 Toyota GR Supra GTS on Exhaust Notes Australia.