Toyota GR Supra Review - Select Car Leasing
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Toyota GR Supra Review

Introduction

When Toyota announced it was partnering with BMW to produce sports cars, an eyebrow or two was raised. And when the Japanese company confirmed the newcomer would reinvigorate the Supra name, the car industry looked like a Roger Moore convention. But while the BMW Z4 and Toyota GR Supra may share much, they have very distinct personalities. In fact, with the help of Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division (that’s where the GR comes from), the Supra has flourished over the years, with the range expanding to include lighter 2.0-litre versions and even a manual model.

But despite all that change, the GR Supra remains up against some of the best coupes in the world, including the Alpine A110, the Jaguar F-Type and the Porsche 718 Cayman. In the context of those stellar sports cars, is it still a force to be reckoned with, or have the premium marques just got too much finesse for the Toyota to match?

Select's rating score* - 3.8 / 5

At a Glance

The new Toyota GR Supra may share much with the BMW Z4, but you wouldn’t know it just by looking. The long nose is, admittedly, common to almost all sports cars, but the Supra’s curved double-bubble roof, short tail and drooping nose all give it its own personality. Perhaps it isn’t the prettiest coupe on the market, but it’s instantly recognisable.

Inside, however, the BMW influence is more obvious. The steering wheel, gear lever and infotainment screen all come straight from the Z4, as does the iDrive rotary controller with which you can control said screen. But all that really means is the GR Supra feels more upmarket than your average Toyota, with better materials and some solid switchgear. It’s a classy place to sit.


The engines are the work of Bavaria’s finest, too, with the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines offering a lighter and more agile entry-level choice, while the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engines give the GR Supra something of a smoother yet more muscular attitude.

But that suits this particular sports car, because it’s one of the most comfortable on the market. The suspension is supple without being too soft, and body control remains excellent despite the ride quality. Few other cars with this much pace can make motorway journeys so soothing.


Key Features

Key to the GR Supra’s appeal are its engines, which are shared with joint venture partner BMW. The 2.0-litre engine is good, but the 3.0-litre unit is the star of the show, offering 340hp and a creamy smoothness that makes the GR Supra feel like a premium grand tourer, as well as a tyre-shredding sports car. If anything, the engine is probably too smooth for its own good – the exhaust note could be more exciting – but for covering long distances at speed, it’s spectacularly capable.

Naturally, though, sports cars live and die on their handling, and the GR Supra is definitely alive and kicking. The sense of balance is brilliant, and although the suspension is supple it does a good job of keeping body roll in check. Combine that with fabulous steering and brakes, and the Toyota will be an instant hit with those who love driving.


Performance & Drive

Toyota is offering the GR Supra with a choice of two different engines, both of which are sourced from BMW, which means they’re both brilliant. The basic option is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, which produces a plentiful 258hp and drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Although that might not be the flagship engine, it’s more than powerful enough, and it’ll get the two-seat coupe from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. That means you won’t have bar-room bragging rights, but you’ll never feel short of power, and overtaking will be simple enough.

But those who want more will always be drawn to the 3.0-litre straight-six engine that’s turbocharged to produce 340hp. As with the 2.0-litre engine, that power goes to the back wheels alone, but customers get a choice of gearboxes. There’s a six-speed manual option, or you can have the eight-speed automatic.


Both gearboxes are very good indeed, and the manual is a peach, but the automatic somehow feels better suited to the GR Supra. This might be a sports car, but the suspension set-up is very slightly tuned for comfort, so it’s still an easy car in which to cover long distances. If you’re using your sports car every day and on long drives, you’ll probably want the automatic ahead of the manual.

That said, the GR Supra is still a sports coupe, and it can behave like one, too. The steering feel is excellent, the engines are responsive and the brakes have a rugged dependability about them. You can really throw this car around without worrying too much about any vices. Of course, it will slide if provoked, and that slide can come along quite quickly, but once the tail has swung around, the car feels perfectly controllable. On a track, it’s enormously good fun.


Running Costs & Emissions

Few customers will ever lease a sports car to save money on fuel, and it’s no surprise that the Supra isn’t what you’d call efficient. Pick the 2.0-litre petrol engine and the stats say you’ll get up to 38.7mpg on the official economy test, but the 3.0-litre engines are somewhat less efficient. Opt for the automatic gearbox and the fact sheets say 34.4mpg is all you can expect, while the manual only manages 32mpg. As a result, neither version of the GR Supra makes much sense as a company car, with emissions of at least 167g/km ensuring it occupies the top Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket.


Interior & Technology

The GR Supra’s cabin borrows heavily from the BMW Z4, and those familiar with BMW products will instantly recognise the steering wheel, the infotainment screen and climate control switches. In fact, automatic versions even get a BMW gear lever.

Nevertheless, the BMW influence has its upsides. For one, the build quality is exceptional. After all, if you want to bring two companies together to create a solidly constructed cabin, BMW and Toyota would be high on the list. As a result, all the switchgear feels premium and the panels feel robust, although it does look a bit dark in there thanks to the black roof lining.


The infotainment technology is good, too, even if it isn’t the newest BMW system. The display is logical, and the iDrive rotary controller is on hand to help you navigate the menus on the move. It might not be that intuitive at first, but once you know your way around the system it means you can use the screen with barely a glance, which is safer when you’re on the road.

The digital instrument display, meanwhile, is all Toyota’s work, and while it isn’t as clever as the screen you get in a BMW Z4 or even a Jaguar F-Type, it is clear and easy to read. There’s something a bit Gran Turismo about it, though, and that won’t suit every customer’s taste.


Practicality & Boot Space

Two-door, two-seat coupes seldom make the most practical cars on the market, and the GR Supra is no exception. The cabin is reasonably spacious, although there are no rear seats, and only the very tallest occupants will struggle for head- or legroom. Storage is acceptable, rather than ample, but with a wireless charging pad between the dash and the centre console, as well as a central storage bin, it should have enough space to stay relatively tidy.

Similarly, boot space is passable, not plentiful, and while the 290-litre load bay is bigger than you’ll find in the back of the Porsche 718 Cayman, remember the German car comes with a luggage space at the front, too. And if you want space from one cargo bay, the Jaguar F-Type Coupe has a bigger rear luggage space than either the Porsche or the Toyota.


Safety

The Toyota GR Supra hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP as yet, but we suspect it would cope pretty well in the rigorous tests. That’s partly because the BMW Z4, with which the Supra shares most of its underpinnings, achieved a very impressive five-star rating when it was tested in 2019. Back then, the convertible car managed a 97% score for adult occupant protection and a 91% score for vulnerable road user safety. Despite being a two-seat roadster, it’s as safe as houses.

Moreover, Toyota has given the GR Supra plenty of standard safety features, including autonomous emergency braking that can stop the car if the driver fails to respond to a hazard and lane departure warning to help prevent the car wandering from its lane. There’s blind-spot monitoring, too, helping with rear visibility, and cruise control is fitted as standard.


Options

In essence, the GR Supra is available in a choice of two flavours, although which ones you can choose depends on which engine you pick. The basic GR Supra, which is only available in 3.0-litre manual form, comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, and adaptive suspension, as well as the usual infotainment system and instrument display. Wireless phone charging is standard, too, along with satellite navigation, push-button ignition and a reversing camera.

However, every version of the GR Supra is available in Pro form, which gets you a JBL premium sound system and a head-up display, as well as heated and electrically adjustable seats. It’s an upgrade that’s worth making, if only for the extra technology.


That’s primarily because optional extras are few and far between. Toyota will sell you a protection pack with a boot liner and some emergency kit – hi-vis jackets and the like – but that’s about your lot. Other than that, it’s simply a case of picking your colour and heading off into the sunset.

For us, sports cars need a bright colour, so the standard-fit Lightning Yellow is a strong choice, while the £650 Prominence Red looks good, too. Perhaps the most striking, though, is the Dawn Blue that offers a metallic sheen and strikes a balance between class and subtlety. Be aware, though, that it clashes slightly with the red Supra logos that mark out the manual versions of the car.


Rival Cars

The two-seat sports car market is not exactly sparsely populated, but it’s no secret that cars like this were once more common than they are now. Nevertheless, there are some really interesting coupes on sale, including the Jaguar F-Type, Alpine A110 and the Porsche 718 Cayman. Those three cars set the benchmark for this class, with all three providing lively handling and plenty of pace.

The F-Type is the most upmarket of the three, although the 2.0-litre versions are competitively priced and almost as potent as the 3.0-litre Supra. However, the 5.0-litre versions are the ones to go for, and they will set you back a few quid. Price aside, though, the F-Type is a fantastic coupe with glorious looks and a smart, but occasionally disappointing cabin.


Similarly, the A110 is let down by its interior, but everything else about it is nothing short of fabulous. The handling is sublime, and though the engine might not be especially large, it is at least punchy. Combine that with slightly retro looks and the A110 is an instant cult hero, made all the more appealing by its rarity and prestige.

But the daddy is the 718 Cayman. Porsche’s engineering know-how seemingly knows no bounds, and the 718 is fantastic in every guise. For us, the GTS 4.0 is the one to have, thanks to its blend of comfort, handling and performance, but the Supra has it licked on the comfort front. While the Porsche is the car you’d take around a track, the Toyota is the one you’d take to work every morning.


Verdict & Next Steps

No matter which version you choose, the GR Supra is a great sports car, offering something for everyone. It might be more comfort-orientated than some of its rivals, but that just makes it more usable every day, and while the Toyota badge may not be laced with premium appeal, it has the promise of reliability on its side. Whichever way you cut it, the GR Supra is a brilliant piece of engineering, and it has earned its place among the best sports coupes in the business.


Where to next?

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*Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews of the Toyota GR Supra

**Prices include VAT. Credit is Subject to Status, Ts and Cs and Arrangement Fees apply. Excess mileage may apply. Stock levels and prices correct as of 15/05/23.

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