Review: Toyota Supra GT – The Complete Package
There’s a common thought in business that the most successful companies are those that are open and willing to partner with other companies to achieve sustainable growth – especially during tough times. In the last decade, Toyota has partnered with Subaru on the GT86 / BRZ and more recently they have partnered with BMW on the Z4 / Supra. In both cases, the outcomes were exceptional for Toyota.
As a child of the early 70s, the Supra was always a hit when we saw one on the streets. My mate in Year 6 – his parents had one and it was stunning. However, as happens often in Australia, changes to legislation and exchange rates can have adverse effects on the success of small volume or limited-run models.
Happily, with the latest Toyota Supra (available as a GT and GTS model in Australia) the visual appeal and excitement at seeing one on the road are back. Better yet – I get to drive it!
There is no angle from which the fifth-generation Supra doesn’t look stunning. The combination of curves and acute angles somehow works better on this car than anything that has come before it – and I suspect anything that will come for many years.
The latest Supra was designed by the team at Calty Design Research (California Toyota) in southern California. Originally launched as the FT-1 Concept car in 2014 the overall design quickly morphed into the Supra and Toyota’s Chief Designer, Nobuo Nakamura knew he had exactly what was needed for the newly announced collaboration between BMW and Toyota – the “sports-car project”.
Fast forward to 2020 in Australia, and the Supra is one of very few cars that didn’t radically change in the years from ‘design concept’ to ‘production vehicle’
The proportions for a two-seat coupe are perfect. Very little overhand front or rear. A low centre of gravity and a mid-engine layout with the block residing (just) behind the front wheels.
At the front of the Supra the long bonnet stretches on for what seems like eternity, but thanks to brilliant engineering, the feel for the front wheels through the steering wheel is direct and reassuring. There is a tendency for understeer in these front-engined, rear wheel drive sports cars. The Toyota and BMW engineers have tamed this extremely well.
When you look at the Supra from the rear, you can see where all the delicious curves serve their purpose. The management of the air-flow over the cabin with its ‘double-bubble’ roof and over the rear wheels towards the tail-lights is magnificent.
The twin tail-pipes from the turbocharged in-line six-cylinder BMW engine are stunning details in their own right and the noises they emit on every drive is equally breathtaking. The 8-speed automatic transmission ensures a silky smooth delivery of power to the rear wheels.
The interior is another area where the Supra is a stand-out performer – and where Toyota’s partnership with BMW paid off handsomely.
Anyone who has spent time with a BMW in the last decade will feel instantly at home in the powered and heated leather seats of the Supra. The steering wheel, the centre console and the HVAC controls are all straight out of the Z4. And, somehow they feel more special in this surprisingly spacious and luxurious cocoon.
Toyota have ensured that the sense of ‘gaming’ and the throw-back to Sony’s ground-breaking Gran Tourismo video game. The dials on the dashboard are really simple and extremely easy to read in all lighting conditions.
The video-game theme flows through to the infotainment / navigation system with the graphics for various driving modes and safety systems being very well designed and giving a real sense of fun for every drive.
Sadly Apple Car Play and Android Auto are not part of the in-car entertainment system on the current Supra – a theme that runs through a number of Toyota’s models today. Thankfully some 21st century features such as wireless charging for your smartphone and active cruise-control are standard features.
I mentioned the seats earlier. They are extremely comfortable and are very easy to get in and out of – even with the Supra’s low centre of gravity and seating position. Both seats are powered and heated. The driver’s seat gets 8-way powered movement and memory for two drivers.
After a week of living with the Supra GT, I can honestly say that I think it might be the most complete package of a car that I’ve driven for a long time. Yes, it’s a two-seat coupe and that’s impractical most of the time for most people. However, when you live in the real world, the Supra can take a set of golf-clubs in the boot, or a six-foot tall 17 year-old with all his school bags with ease. What more do you want from a car like this? You don’t buy a pair of Lloyds business shoes to run a marathon in do you?
Get this car on a lovely winding piece of road and you feel so much of what this car was designed to do. The grip (even in the wet) is impressive. The steering is direct and full of feel. The cabin is cozy without being cramped. It’s surprisingly easy to park – although the rearward view is impacted by the voluptuous wheel arches. It’s as easy to live with as a Corolla!
Whilst I gush about the Supra there are one or two things that fell a little short. The aforementioned lack of Apple Car Play or Android Auto is very annoying. It’s made even more annoying as the Supra has an excellent 10 speaker, 205-watt sound system. The BMW derived infotainment system is rubbish and takes far too much of your attention from the road to find that driving song that you love.
Even so, I’d happily live with this GT version all day, every day. There is a GTS version of the Supra that gets 19″ wheels and tyres (over the 18″ on the GT) as well as a head-up display, a 12 speaker JBL sound system, and an up-rated brake package. For the extra $10,000 over the GT and the risk of those even lower profile tyres ruining the ride comfort, I think I’d take the GT in Fuji White.
Supra GT – from $91,309 driveaway.
Supra GTS – from $101,809 driveaway.
Get all the details from Toyota.