The Toyota Supra GR: A beautiful animal

Intro

The Toyota Supra is an iconic line of high performance sports cars with a rich 50 year history. This line was introduced back in 1978 with a horrid model that really showed what a crap era the late 70s and early 80s were for car design. However the second generation and third generation were both amazing and beautiful in their own ways, and paved the way for what became one of the most influential and iconic piece of JDM history ever made, the Supra A80.

An eternity went by before the company hinted at releasing a new version in this line… but how can Toyota follow that success? Well in 2019 we finally got to see the fifth generation of the Supra, which looked bloody amazing, however it lead to a lot of criticism, mainly due to the fact that this was the first Supra not entirely developed by Toyota. Yes indeed, this was designed and developed around the BMW Z4 platform and included either a 2.0 ltr inline 4 BMW engine or a 3.0 ltr Straight 6 BMW engine coupled with the ZF gearbox, also by BMW.

Toyota Malta were kind enough to lend me the keys to the 2021 Toyota Supra GR which sports the 3.0 ltr variant… lets jump into this review.

The Look

One thing everyone seems to agree is that this car looks insanely good. Fierce, bold, sleek and sexy are the first adjectives that come to mind when I first saw this amazing sports car in real life. There is a striking balance between the strong accents and the smooth body lines, which gives this car an edgy look akin to previous iteration. The only thing which I deem a bit disappointing in terms of looks is the fact that some of the vents are mocks… something which most brands do constantly on their cars, and I can’t seem to wrap my head around accepting it.

Moving to the interior, we find a clean and modern LCD instrument cluster which is paired to a secondary center console display which counter intuitively sits with a slight tilt towards passenger due to the layout of the dash. The overall feel and finish is great and the seating position is superb. Another counter intuitive design feature is the center console, where the shifter and handbrake sit. There is a strut that runs from the console to the dash that separates you and the console and the same space on the passenger side is open… why isn’t it the other way round? it just feels like the center console was designed to the more accessible to the passenger rather than the driver.

The Drive

Ok so here comes the interesting bit… The Toyota Supra GR is the in-house modified version of the Supra. As I explained before you get the BMW B58 straight 6 3.0 ltr engine with a twin-scroll turbo charged which manages to push out 335 bhp. 0-100 kmph in 4.3 seconds and a top speed limited to 155 mph. This thing is bloody quick… its shockingly quick to be honest. Once you hit the sports button you just feel this car turn into a beast that eats up tarmac like there’s no tomorrow. My first reaction on an open road was simply my jaw dropping followed by a massive grin on my face and an erection. This is pure fun of the highest order.

The engine is superb and coupled with the ZF gearbox on this platform, it just feels like a bloody match made in heaven. The car sits low and hard on sports mode and you get amazingly balanced road holding with minimal body roll, partly also because the weight distribution is 50:50. The steering has great feedback and is remarkably steady, reactive and fluid. The flappy paddle gearbox is fantastic and makes up for the fact that there is no manual version. This steering shifter is perhaps one of the better one I’ve tried in my career. Its extremely reactive and smooth, and gives the driver proper control. Ergonomically everything feels like you’d expect on a sports car and there is a staggering balance between speed and comfort.

The Toys

The Supra GR comes with several nifty toys that make this ride comfortable, safe, thrilling and fun at the same time. The multimedia system is great with Apple car compliance, wireless charging and a great sound system to match, though you will never need to turn the music on with the roar that engine makes. You get a full color head up display which is pretty clear and adaptive LED lighting on the outside. The car features the AVS system (adaptive variable suspension) which is a very clever system that scans the road and environment around the car 100 times per second and adapts the individual suspensions accordingly in real time to get the best out of the car. You also get the active differential system and an electronic multi clutch system which are both paired with the Supra stability control system. The ratio of the differential in fact changes in real time to adapt with the environment and driving style at the time. There is a tonne of safety systems on the car which are too boring to mention and some have become a standard on most Toyota vehicles… So lets just say that in terms of safety, Toyota’s R&D team threw everything at this thing.

The Conclusion

I went into this test drive ready to hate the thing cause as a Toyota lover I would have never imagined such a brand teaming up with BMW for such a historically relevant project. It had to do good to a 50 year lineage… and did it live up to it? Well yes and no. I cannot shit on something that gave me such an amazing adrenaline rush. Its balanced, composed, quick and refined. The drive is superb and this car is simply a fun and clever piece of engineering. It does look good and outshines the Z4 to be honest, making it more likeable with a timeless design. However I still think Toyota should have done this completely in house. But this is just me being me cause this is honestly a great car.

Matthew’s Overall rating 8.5/10

Matthew’s Choice: If you are looking for a sports coupe with that fun element I would definitely recommend this over the ZR or the Alpine A110. The only sports coupe in this price range that might be better is perhaps the Porsche 718 Cayman. If you are going for the Supra then I would go for the 3.0 ltr GR version cause the 2.0 ltr is just too under-powered compared to this. Go big or go home.

N.B. This car will be featured in the upcoming season of Revved.