What Car? says...
The Toyota GR Supra sports car is another model in the Japanese manufacturer's current line-up with a name that's been dug out, dusted off and glued to the back of a new incarnation.
Like every version before it, the GR Supra was launched with a brawny straight-six petrol engine powering the rear wheels but, in a break with tradition, Toyota has added a cheaper and smaller four-cylinder engine.
Both engines are available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters that allow you to take control of gear changes. The larger engine – identified by a red Supra badge on the boot – now also has the option of a six-speed manual gearbox for more driver involvement.
We’ll let you into a little secret, though. This current generation of Supra has closer ties to Germany than Japan, because under the metal, it's essentially a BMW Z4. With profit margins on sports cars so thin, Toyota and BMW paired up to share the development costs.
That's most obvious inside the car, where you'll find the German manufacturer's iDrive infotainment system, alongside other familiar switches and stalks. Toyota has put its own stamp on the Supra by giving it unique styling and bespoke tuning, and the car lighter and stiffer than its Z4 cousin because it's a coupé rather than a convertible.
So, what's the competition if you're in the market for a bit of fun? Well, the Audi TT is a very useable everyday alternative while, for serious petrolheads, the Alpine A110 and Porsche Cayman are the handling benchmarks. The front-engined, rear-wheel drive Jaguar F-Type is perhaps closest in philosophy to the Supra.
This Toyota GR Supra review will tell you how it compares with rivals for performance, handling, comfort and in other key areas. We'll also tell you which engine and trim combination we recommend.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
We always aim to look after our readers' interests when recommending cars. Often that boils down to value for money, but for the Toyota GR Supra, we think the pricier, 335bhp six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine is the better choice.
Why's that? Well, the GR Supra's handling isn't its key strength, as we'll detail in a bit. It feels more like a long-legged coupé GT than a lithe sports car so this torquey, powerful and smooth engine suits that character better than the 254bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder alternative.
The 3.0-litre car teamed with an automatic gearbox hits 0-62mph in an official 4.3sec, and it's so muscular that you don’t have to work it hard for it to feel quick. With a manual gearbox, it's 0.3sec slower to cover the 0-62mph sprint, but you’d be hard pressed to notice the difference.
When you run it to the red line, it emits a baritone bark, with pops and crackles emanating from the exhaust when you lift off the accelerator. The Porsche Cayman GTS, which has a naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six engine, sounds even crisper, but considering that the Supra's engine was sourced from the BMW Z4, it's surprisingly soulful.
The 2.0-litre Supra, meanwhile, doesn't sound as lush as the 3.0-litre (or the rorty Alpine A110 for that matter), but it has a sporty parp that doesn't sound out of place, and it's still quick. When you rev it out, it can manage 0-62mph in 5.2sec officially, so it's not quite as quick outright as the entry-level 2.0-litre Cayman, but it does feel more flexible at low revs.
The automatic gearbox (available with both engines) is smooth-shifting and responsive. The six-speed manual (available on the 3.0-litre) doesn't feel as snickety to use as the ones fitted in the Toyota GR Yaris and Toyota GR86 but the gear lever slots smoothly into the gate without feeling notchy. We reckon the extra interaction makes the manual version – called the GR Supra MT – the version to go for.
An electronically controlled limited-slip differential is standard on all models. It's meant to help you get the power down on the road, but in truth, the GR Supra wants to break traction more readily than the A110 and Cayman, especially in the wet. A lot of that is down to the Supra's suspension set-up, but it's partly because it's front-engined. The engine weight in the middle of the A110 and Cayman helps to press their rear tyres down harder and generate more grip.
You get adaptive dampers as standard, but whether they are set in Normal mode or the firmer Sport setting, the result is the same: the Supra simply doesn't ride mid-corner crests very well. It has a tendency to hop off every bump, which destabilises the rear wheels and, on a damp surface, leads to a slide if you have the accelerator pressed down.
The good news is that the slide comes progressively, so it's fun rather than threatening to feel the Supra moving around at the rear. The bad news is that it's not a very good trait for a sports car if you want it to be fast.
The GR Supra is better than even the more wayward Z4, but the A110 and Cayman have much better-tuned suspension. They feel more planted, so they carry more speed, and you'll feel a lot more confident behind the wheel.
On the subject of the steering wheel, what that's connected to isn't great. The GR Supra's steering is far too quick and trying to get it to flow down a series of bends is a challenge. It's meant to make it feel sporty but, as the fine-steering A110 and Cayman show, truly sporty steering should feel natural so you don't have to think about your inputs.
While we're talking about the weight of the GR Supra's controls, the brakes also deserve a mention. They’re certainly strong and we've no complaints about its stopping abilities. Unfortunately, the pedal sinks a couple of centimetres with hardly any pressure applied and, at that point, is already generating quite a degree of retardation. Trying to drive smoothly requires practice and patience.
Where the GR Supra absolutely excels is at being a ‘junior’ GT car. When you're cruising at motorway speeds, the suspension is very well judged, giving you a relatively plush ride by sports car standards in its softer mode. You still feel the bumps passing under you, but it never crashes and is only jarring over the most vicious potholes.
The GR Supra is also a lot quieter than most of its rivals. On a motorway, you're well aware of road and wind noise in a Cayman, but you'll hardly need to raise your voice to have a conversation in the Supra.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The Toyota GR Supra's interior has plenty of BMW switches, knobs, stalks and displays because it's very closely related to the BMW Z4. Some people might feel that sullies the Supra legacy or some such nonsense, but all those controls work with precision and the displays are sharp, so it's fine by us.
They also include BMW's iDrive infotainment system, which is the best in the business. For a start, it's a lot easier to use than the set-up in the Alpine A110 and the high-mounted display is right in your line of sight.
The graphics are as slick as the menus are intuitive, and the rotary controller between the seats is easy to use when you're driving. When the car isn't moving, you can also control the system with the touchscreen.
The screen is 8.8in and comes with a DAB radio, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring (you can't have Android Auto though). Our biggest complaint is that the standard four-speaker sound system in the 2.0-litre is flat and uninspiring. The 3.0-litre gains a 10-speaker system while the higher spec 3.0 Pro trim comes with a punchy JBL 12-speaker stereo.
The GR Supra also has one of the best driving positions in the class. The seats – whether they are the standard, manually adjustable items you get with the lower-spec trim level or the electrically operated upgrades that come with the Pro versions – are supportive on a motorway and hold you well through bends.
All versions include adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters so you can get almost everything just so, and that also applies to the reach and rake-adjustable steering wheel, which has loads of extension. You sit low in the GR Supra, in true sports car fashion, ensconced between the high centre console (which makes for a great armrest) and the high window line.
In front of you, the digital dials might not have Audi-levels of configurability, but the graphics look swish and all the key information is displayed clearly. The dashboard is dead easy to use as well, with simple, physical controls for all the functions.
It's nicely made inside, with plenty of smart-looking plastics and gloss-black trims that lift the interior ambience above the A110's. Everything feels like it'll last, too, although the Porsche Cayman has just that extra little bit of integrity that makes it feel more premium.
The high window line makes the Supra trickier to see out of than the Cayman, and the rear bodywork is quite enclosed. You get LED headlights and a rear-view camera as standard on all models, with front and rear parking sensors fitted to all 3.0-litre versions.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The Toyota GR Supra is lower than a snake’s stomach, but its distinctive ‘double bubble’ roof means head room is decent, even if you’re more than six feet tall. The seats slide back far enough to accommodate lanky legs, so leg room shouldn't be a problem, and it's quite broad, so you won't feel on top of your passenger.
There’s a lot more storage space than you get in an Alpine A110 – and that's handy if you intend to do a few road trips. The glovebox is big, and there are cubbies and cup holders, plus two door bins (although they're too small for bottles of a water).
It's a two-seater, of course, so behind the seats is the boot. Literally, in the Supra's case, because there's not even a divider separating you from it (although there is a brace that might get in the way when loading longer items). You can reach between the seats and grab something if you needed to, but that also means that whatever is in there can come and visit you, potentially with some haste if you slam on the brakes.
The lack of an external release for the boot is a bit of a pain, and while the tailgate opens wide, the aperture is quite narrow. The boot is a decent size, though, with a 290-litre capacity – about what you’d get in a Ford Fiesta and much more than the A110. The Porsche Cayman – with its twin boot set-up – is a little more accommodating but we still managed to get four carry-on suitcases in the GR Supra, which is good for a sports car.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
It shouldn't cost a fortune to run because when we tested the 2.0 it averaged a very healthy 37.1mpg, and even the ‘big six' 3.0 should do more than 30mpg if you drive it sensibly. Residual values are on a par with the F-Type, but the Cayman and A110 both beat the Supra. It won't be cheap as a company car because all versions are in the top tax bracket, which is fairly typical for sports cars.
The Supra didn’t feature in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey but Toyota as a brand finished in second place out of 32 car makers. Jaguar was down in 26th place and Porsche was 19th. The Supra comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty as standard – that's longer than rivals' warranties.
Toys-wise, the GR Supra is like Hamleys compared with the sparsely equipped Cayman. Even the 2.0 Pro comes with a long list that includes heated Alcantara seats, two-zone climate control, 18in alloy wheels, keyless entry, auto lights and wipers, and power-folding door mirrors.
The 3.0-litre gets lightweight 19in forged alloy wheels and wireless phone-charging, while the 3.0 Pro gets leather seats, a head-up display, ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control and extra safety kit. The only problem is that if you do want to add something you can't – the only option is metallic paint.
The 3.0 Pro is the one we’d go for because it’s still surprisingly good value – relatively speaking, of course – compared with its rivals. Those who like the idea of saving a bit of weight should go for the lower-spec 3.0, as the simpler gearbox, lighter wheels, manually-adjustable seats and lower-spec audio system save a total of 38kg over the Pro.
Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the GR Supra for safety, but you get plenty of equipment to prevent a crash in the first place. All models have automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure assist, traffic-sign recognition and e-Call emergency assist. The 3.0 models add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
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The fastest Supra you can buy is the 335bhp six-cylinder 3.0-litre. When paired with an automatic gearbox, it can hit 0-62mph in an official 4.3 seconds. Read more here
We think the range-topping six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine is the best choice due to its effortless nature and sonorous soundtrack. We’d pair it with a manual gearbox and the 3.0 Pro trim, which comes packed with kit. Read more here
The Supra’s 8.8in infotainment set-up is based on BMW's iDrive system. That means it is one of the best in the business. Read more here