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Toyota Supra 2020 review: GT


Daily driver score

4/5

Urban score

3/5

Does the Toyota Supra call your name in the night? It calls mine. It whispers things. Tries to convince me that despite living in an apartment with my family only seven kilometres from the city it'd be perfect for us.

Of course, when it's daytime and I'm thinking straight I know a sports car in the city is impractical. But then I see one parked out the front of our flat and I start to entertain the idea of having one all over again – maybe it could work, it's not large, it has a boot, and it's a Toyota so it's probably reliable and not too pricey… Right?

Well as it happens the Toyota Supra parked outside my apartment was the car I was road testing for the week for this Urban Review. It was the base grade GR which lists for $84,900 and if you want to know what it's like to give into those voices and live with it, in the city, daily, I can tell you.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

Excuse the language but, gosh yes! See, a joint venture between Toyota and BMW resulted in the Supra and the Z4. Thing is, if you want the six-cylinder engine version of the BMW (the Z4 M40i) you'll need to hand over $128K, whereas the base-grade Supra GT tested here lists for $84,900.

Sure, the Supra isn't a convertible or as powerful as the Z4, and yes it's expensive for a Toyota, but the equipment list is extensive and much of it is BMW tech such as the digital instrument cluster and media screen – both 8.8-inches.

Standard too is sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital radio, 10-speaker stereo, wireless charging, dual-zone climate control, paddle shifters, proximity key, LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, heated folding wing mirrors and 18-inch alloy wheels.

It comes with a 10-speaker stereo. (image: Richard Berry) It comes with a 10-speaker stereo. (image: Richard Berry)

The standard upholstery is leather, and the seats are heated and power adjustable.

Then there's all the safety equipment such as the reversing camera and advanced tech which you can read about below.

It's good value, especially when you compare it to the Z4 and also the entry-level Porsche 718 Cayman, which is $118,690. Nissan's 370Z is a traditional rival to the Supra and lists for about $50K.

It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (image: Richard Berry) It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (image: Richard Berry)

But it's old – like, been-on-sale-since-2009-old, and having driven a manual one in peak hour traffic daily through the CBD I'd not recommend it as a great urban car.

If you're wondering where the Toyota 86 fits into all this think of the Supra as it's bigger, more powerful and way more expensive step-brother.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

Ever seen the movie Twins with Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well if the Z4 and Supra GT are twins under the skin then the latter is definitely the Arnie of the pair.

Okay, that's not fair. The BMW is pretty and sleeker than an otter, but the two look so different that from the outside you'd never know (if you didn't know) they are essentially the same car.

The Supra is like a mutant superhero with its enormous pumped up rear guards, the huge bulging bonnet, and the hungry looking grille with giant air intakes.

Some people don't like the headlights, but they're a hat tip to the previous-gen Supra and I'm a fan of them.

The only outward difference in looks between the entry-grade GT which I tested and the GTS above it are the wheels. (image: Richard Berry) The only outward difference in looks between the entry-grade GT which I tested and the GTS above it are the wheels. (image: Richard Berry)

Then, there's the rear-end. You could stare at it for hours. The sinister tail-lights, the big 'duck tail' spoiler, the dual exhaust, and it's also from this angle that you can see the 'double-bubble' roof shape better.

The Supra lineage goes back to the 1967 Toyota 2000GT and if you Google that car you'll see how much of a stylistic homage this new car is to the original.

If you were wondering what the GR badge is all about, it refers to Gazoo Racing, Toyota's performance brand. The Supra's official name is the GR Supra.

The only outward difference in looks between the entry-grade GT which I tested and the GTS above it are the wheels. The GTS has bigger 19-inch rims and red brake calipers.

It’s in the cabin where you can spot all of the BMW bits and it confuses my brain big time. (image: Richard Berry) It’s in the cabin where you can spot all of the BMW bits and it confuses my brain big time. (image: Richard Berry)

Inside both are almost identical, too, but it's in the cabin where you can spot all of the BMW bits and it confuses my brain big time.

The door handles, the switch gear and the media controller dial are the same as the Z4's. Meanwhile, the climate control systems and radio controls seem to be from a 2014 BMW 3 Series.

And although the media display and digital instrument cluster are different in their design to the Z4's it's easy to see they're the same, just repackaged.

The standard upholstery is leather, and the seats are heated and power adjustable. (image: Richard Berry) The standard upholstery is leather, and the seats are heated and power adjustable. (image: Richard Berry)

I'm being a car nerd, but some of you will appreciate it. BMW bits or not, it's a great interior that's uber modern and stylish.

Now to get numbers nerdy. Let's look at the dimensions of the Supra. The length is 4379mm. That's the width of your pinky nail longer than a Toyota Corolla hatch. That's small. It's 60mm wider than a Corolla, though at 1854mm, and way lower at 1292mm tall. What does that mean for practicality? You're about to find out below.

How practical is the space inside?

All Supras are two-seaters, and while this is a small car at less than 4.4m long leg-, head-, shoulder-, elbow and headroom are excellent.

I'm 191cm tall with a 2.0m wingspan and I fit into the cockpit of the Supra better than a Porsche Boxster and most other sports cars. That said, the seats are snug, well for me anyway, so if you're 'big-boned' like me you might find them a bit tight, too.

Just don't expect to fit many people in. That's right, you won't find a couple of tiny seats in the back. Actually, if you sit in the driver's seat and put your hand behind your chair you can feel the boot floor.

While this is a small car at less than 4.4m long leg-, head-, shoulder-, elbow and headroom are excellent. (image: Richard Berry) While this is a small car at less than 4.4m long leg-, head-, shoulder-, elbow and headroom are excellent. (image: Richard Berry)

The boot has a hatch opening and a cargo capacity of 290 litres but you may be able to fit more into it than you think, as I found out after going to the supermarket to do a big weekly family COVID-19 grocery shop.

As I pushed my overloaded trolley back to the car I remembered I'd brought the Supra. Not sure how I forgot that, considering it was so tricky to park (see the driving section) but my new problem was working out how to get all the shopping bags in.

Take a look at the before and after photos. There was no way I thought the shopping would fit, but it did and without the bread getting squashed.

  • The boot has a hatch opening and a cargo capacity of 290 litres. (image: Richard Berry) The boot has a hatch opening and a cargo capacity of 290 litres. (image: Richard Berry)
  • You may be able to fit more into it than you think. (image: Richard Berry) You may be able to fit more into it than you think. (image: Richard Berry)
  • You can see in the rest of the photos that I even managed to fit the <i>CarsGuide</i> pram into the space. (image: Richard Berry) You can see in the rest of the photos that I even managed to fit the <i>CarsGuide</i> pram into the space. (image: Richard Berry)

You can see in the rest of the photos that I even managed to fit the CarsGuide pram into the space, although you'll have to leave the baby at home because there are no anchor points or mounts for a child seat or capsule inside.

As for cabin storage, it's almost non-existent. The door pockets are only big enough for a phone and there's no centre console bin. But you do get two cupholders, a small glove box and a tray in front of the shifter which doubles as a wireless charger. There's also a 12V outlet and a USB port.

Coupes tend to have long doors, and if you've ever owned one you'd be well aware of the problems this causes in trying to open them in carparks. They can also be heavy and that makes opening them on steep hills a struggle, too.

The low height of the car could also see you having to leave the car on all fours if you're tall and not a flexible as you used to be, like me.

  • There was no way I thought the shopping would fit. (image: Richard Berry) There was no way I thought the shopping would fit. (image: Richard Berry)
  • But it did and without the bread getting squashed. (image: Richard Berry) But it did and without the bread getting squashed. (image: Richard Berry)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

Inside that long snout is a BMW 3.0-litre turbo-petrol in-line six-cylinder making 250kW/500Nm.

It's not an enormous amount of power but perfect for the Supra, because it isn't a muscle car or a supercar, but a sports car which is more about fun and handling than massive grunt.

Besides, the Supra weighs just 1495kg (about 100kg more than a Corolla hatch) and that mumbo (especially the 500Nm of torque) is plenty.

Inside that long snout is a BMW 3.0-litre turbo-petrol in-line six-cylinder making 250kW/500Nm. (image: Richard Berry) Inside that long snout is a BMW 3.0-litre turbo-petrol in-line six-cylinder making 250kW/500Nm. (image: Richard Berry)

Is it fast? Well 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds is a tenth of a second quicker than the fastest Porsche 718 Cayman sold in Australia, the GT4. So, yes.

The eight-speed (ZF-sourced) automatic transmission is smoother than smooth, but also slower than fast at changing gears.

Drive goes to the rear wheels and there's an electronic limited slip diff.

An outstanding engine matched perfectly to the car. But there's something you should know. Later in 2020 a more powerful Supra is coming. Keep your eye out for that.

How much fuel does it consume?

Toyota says that if you were to stick to just urban driving the Supra GT should use no more than 6.5L/100km of petrol.

My own testing found that after 125.1km of mainly urban driving plus a trip to a national park to stretch its legs I needed 11.7 litres to top up the 52-litre tank.

That's 9.4L/100km. The official economy for a combination of open and urban use is 7.7L/100km. Not bad for a 340 horsepower sports car.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Supra hasn't been crash tested and awarded an ANCAP score yet. But the safety equipment on-board is impressive with urban-focused standard tech such as AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, front and rear parking sensors with clearance detection, blind spot warning, rear-end collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, speed limit recognition, and a reversing camera (with a clear picture).

Seven airbags, ABS with a brake fade and drying function and hill start assist complete the excellent standard equipment list.

As mentioned, there are no mounts or anchor points for child seats.

There isn't spare wheel, either. What you do get is a puncture repair kit. It's under the boot floor.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The Supra GT is covered by Toyota's five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Servicing is recommended annually or every 15,000km with the first four services capped at $385.

That's excellent value especially compared to the servicing and ownership costs of its BMW Z4 twin.

What's it like to drive around town?

Go out into the street and sit on the road. Oh, and do it wearing your letter box on your head. That's how it feels to drive the Supra GT. Well it's more comfortable than sitting on bitumen but that's about how low you'll feel in the traffic and how much visibility you have through the mail slot of a windscreen.

Okay, it's not that bad but you are super low and visibility isn't terrific. Take a look at the view out of the cockpit in the images.

There will be some who will love this driving position because it offers such an engaging 'you're-a-part of-the-car' connection. And they'll gladly suffer a bit knowing that that's just the design of a classic sports car, and in return you get superb handling.

Then there will be others who loathe that low-letter-box feeling. They'll hate not being able to see ahead in the traffic, detest looking out their window and staring straight at the wheels of buses, and be anxious when parking because it's impossible to tell where the front of the car ends over that long bonnet.

My passion is hot rodding which means I love driving cars which are awful to drive, but even I became frustrated with the Supra daily in the city over a week where it rained nearly non-stop.

I remember being in a car park in torrential weather and me not being able to open the long driver's door enough to get in because somebody had parked close to me.

But then at the end of the week I took the Supra to a national park for a test drive and loved every corner, hill and straight in it. The steering is direct with plenty of feedback and the feel of those rear wheels just an arm's length away pushing you along is wonderful. This is a modern classic sports car for sure.

But is it an urban driver? Well the ride is surprisingly comfortable, and the engine is quiet and pretty docile with controllable predicable acceleration, but this is really a car wants to be free, on a nice twisty road away from the city and its traffic lights and parking lots.

I think you can guess what I'm going to say: Yep, the Supra GT is great to drive, just not in the city.

That's why I've scored it this way. 

If you live outside the city, even in the suburbs, daily driving will be fun and rewarding, but venture into the an urban environment and life behind the Supra's wheel will become frustrating.

If you live in the city, you'll have to be completely in love with the Supra to make it through the hard times in the urban landscape of car parks and traffic.

Still the Supra GT is great value, has a comfortable ride, looks awesome, and comes with excellent advanced safety tech.

So, if the Supra is calling your name in the night, keep all this in mind before you answer it.

$84,900

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4/5

Urban score

3/5
Price Guide

$84,900

Based on new car retail price