ACADEMICALLY ASCRIBING: the Latin term “Supra” provides reference to a prior location in the writing, while “Infra” marks verbage which follows.
AMONG AUTOMOTIVE-DOM: “Supra” has aspired to be a celestial elevation beyond the ordinary skies. Now, nearly two decades Infra to its forebearer departed for the great resting place for all things four-wheeled, a new Toyota Supra has descended from above. Arriving at this intoxicating effort of high performance GT for the Japanese brand has been anything but conventional. Still, the latest stunning Supra coupe is certainly worthy of its ancestor’s fire breathing dragon emblem.
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WHAT: 2020 Toyota GR Supra, 2-person sports coupe, designated J29 = the 5th model to bear the superlative.
Standard Power*: longitudinal intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0L DOHC 24V DI gas I-6 = 335 hp/ 365 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles, driving rear wheels.
Power to Weight ratio compared to: Chevrolet Corvette C8; Porsche Cayman S, Jaguar F-Type P380
*available std. in MY 2021: longitudinal intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 255 hp/ 295 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm (3.0T I-6, with power bump to 382 hp, will be optional)
(A) STYLING DIFFERENCE(S): All 4 previous Supra models were available as 2+2 passenger hatchbacks. The last A80 model shared common stampings with the Lexus SC 300 /400. Now a sibling of BMW‘s G29 Z4 roadster, the latest Supra is exclusively 2-seater coupe, but retains that liftback heritage.
PENNA TURBINA: The new Supra is an unabashed nod to the late 1960’s 2000GT grand tourer, then Japan’s Bond- ian answer to the Jaguar E-Type. Roadblazing.com spies a smattering of Fiat Turbina concept‘s bold rear quarters. The production Supra has remained astonishingly faithful to the 2014 FT-1 Concept. Ironically it turns out that Nobuo Nakamura’s design is more reminiscent of fellow countryman Joji Nagashima’s original E36/7 Z3‘s retro roadster’s beak, than is the current Z4.
Witness a land speed record setter’s slender Coke-bottle fuselage. The twin cowl roof and low slung, long clamshell hood terminate in a first rounded, then pointed nose. Sans grille, three dark honeycomb air inlets occupy most of lower fascia with corner folds and a lower splitter. Lighting is a multi-segmented LED with prominent alternating amber directional / white DRL lower brow.
The windsceen, with thick A-pillars slants sharply. Integral lower body flaring rises to the rear wheel arches. A necessarily high beltline tapers with a prominent Hofmeister angled B-pillar. More powerful and equally prurient are the wide splayed rear quarter haunches, which seem to amplify ever morsel of road stone thrown into the wheel wells. Darkened competition-style side skirts are continued at the lower rear fasia.
Out aft, no less explicit is a pinched ducktail spoiler. It rises from a widened liftgate decklid. Lateral lollipop LED taillamps stretch out wide to corner folds. A T-shaped gloss black lower fascia cradles a bumped out mid bumper, fitting polished dual corner exhaust tips.
WHY: Successor to Tokyo Drift king is exclusively 2 seater and highly Bavarian
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Spring 2019
WHERE: Toyota new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Graz, Austria (by Magna Steyr, under contract)
HOW ROAD TRAMPLING: The previous A80 Supra unpretentiously towered over 2+2 sport coupes of the day. By night it became Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, and Forza Grand Turismo street racing deity. The twin sequential turbocharged 3.0 liter was all ‘Yota with a pummeling 320 hp. But without any current in-house inline 6, and its firing balance superiority to bent-6s, the new GR Supra powertrain is all BMW. And the drivetrain is all paddle shiftable ZF 8HP.
The 6-cylinders in line move more mass aft of the front wheel line, for lunging rather than lurching off the line. With the twin scroll B03 turbocharger already spooling under low load, a jab at the throttle shoves even more intercooled air the way of the intake manifold low engine speed spin. Steam-roller wide rear Michelin Super Sports are expert at modulating the threshold between grip and slip. Thus it is an easier launch hook up than expected for a rear driver, without any rear torque tramp.
-1 Toggle joystick transmission shift lever, with handle integrated release and Park buttons = Toy- like.
HOW ROAD TENACIOUS: Supra’s Bavarian lent CLAR “cluster architecture” is as solid a crystallized steel and rigid aluminum modular piece as there is. Chief engineer, Tetsuda Tada, insists that spring / bushing / steering rates are all Toyota. Coil-over springs on front upper struts and dual lower links keep the wheels parallel to the the steering knuckle line for better windup. Five-links out back are arranged for hearty negative camber and more contact patch.
The electronic limited slip differential gives the staggered wider rear Michelin Pilot Super Sports enough lee way for minor tail twitch. Only then do the outside rears push harder but with enough outside corner grip to start pushing the accelerator in apexes without abrupt oversteer. There is the occasional wheel tramp produced as the fast compressing electronic adaptive dampers tame the 19″ 35 aspect ratio gumballs. But the stiff body shrugs it off and it never feels like control has been lost. Steering weighting errs on the side of light with a tendency to center. Fade resistance on the corner binders is enhanced by aluminum hats atop the massive vented steel rotors. Front four-piston fixed calipers with sliding 1-pistons aft emit a consistently linear pedal and yanking back force.
HOW FAR: 26 combined miles per gallon fuel economy; 424 highway miles range.
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: The 2020 Supra is strictly a 2 seat affair, The liftback configuration blesses with huge aft parcel hold. This Mk. V is almost half a foot shorter than the preceding Mk. 4 A80 Supra. For egress and speed bump purposes realize that ground clearance is about an inch lower than a C8 Chevy Corvette or an ND Mazda MX-5. Standard multi-adjusting power front seats are easy for lower backs to live with. Legroom and headroom tolerate even slightly above average male but there is the pesky wide transmission tunnel that Porsche’s Cayman 718 lacks.
Wheelbase: 97.2″ = 94.4″ Porsche Cayman 718 ; 10.0″ < Chevrolet Corvette C8; 3.2″ < A80 Mk. IV Supra
HOW USEFUL: √ Long cargo bay; √ Liftgate suspended folding parcel shelf; √ Run-flat tires free up deeper load floor; √ Mouse fur lined cargo floor and glove box; Lower center stack wireless device slot; √ Center armrest cupholders x 2.
- +/- 13.0 cubic foot trunk;
- –1 Rear shock tower brace bisects cargo bay; No overhead console retracting sunglass bin; Manual liftgate action = long reach + firm slam to close; Low seating position, long hood, thick B-pillars and small backlight don’t do outward view any favors.
HOW SAFE: √ 8 airbags; √ Rear camera; √ Forward collision warning + Pedestrian detection braking; Lane departure warning & keep assist; √ Auto parking brake hold; √ Auto high beam headlamps; √ Heads-Up display (on Premium trim).
Available Driver Assistance Package: √ Full-adaptive cruise control; √ Blind spot and rear cross traffic warning; √ sonar Park warning.
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: All of the signs of a one generation old all business, rather than lavish BMW cockpit are accounted for save for the decidedly low frills, low resolution ELD gauge cluster.
√ Heated, 14-way power front sport seats, including torso bolsters & knee extenders, 2-setting driver’s memory; √ 2 power windows w/ full express; √ 2-Zone auto climate control w/ auto front seat heating and wheel heating; √ Door puddle lamps x 4; -1 Manual tilt/ telescoping steering wheel, No moon roof option.
Cool Gizmo(s): √ Color Heads Up Display; √ I-Drive rotary/ toggle remote infotainment controller.
Details Done Right: √ Smooth soft door panels and dash padding; BMW precision and minimalist switchgear; Enthusiast sized thick rimmed steering wheel; center console genuine carbon fiber inlay.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Little in the way of dashboard or door embellishments; Dark mesh ballistic cloth pillars & headliner.
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 8.8″-inch, tri-pane, touch LCD infotainment screen; √ I-Drive remote command infotainment controller; √ Rotary audio volume dial, selection, defroster & home screen switches; √ Voice recognition command hands-free communications; √ Voice to text SMS, √ 3-D HDD GPS navigation w/ voice guidance, real-time traffic; √ 12 speaker, 500 JBL HD radio audio; √ Apple CarPlay; √ USB-A x 1
+1: Supra Connected wireless device Apps (incl.) = Doppler Weather, Traffic
-1: No Android Auto; The need to enter infotainment submenus to make media tone and selection controls.
Subscription based: √ Sirius XM radio (90 days trial)
HOW MUCH: $55,390 = 2020 Toyota Supra GR 3.0T Premium as tested retail price.
WHAT’S MISSING: Wheel well insulation against road pebble slapping; Android Auto projection
ANY COMPETITION: Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, BMW Z4, Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cayman
FINAL WORD: Convincing proof that Toyota still wants to sell a genuine enthusiasts sports car.
(Contributing Editor: Peter Stamatis)