We’ve had this 2020 Toyota GR Supra for nearly two months now. Since reception has been so mixed, we were keen to find out if we could warm to it over a longer period. So far, we’ve found that there are some undeniably good parts, and also some not-so-great elements.
Here’s what we’ve discovered:
When the GR Supra was revealed I wasn’t sold. In fact, I went straight to trying to ‘fix it’ in photoshop to appease my monkey brain that wanted to make it look more like the MkIV. However, as time has passed I think that the GR Supra has come into its own in terms of styling, and that’s without the aid of aftermarket pieces.
Even among its contemporary peers, the Supra looks modern. It looks different and futuristic, but not in a BMW iX ‘I’m trying way too hard’ kind of way. The Mk4 Supra came out in 1993; think about that for a second. We often compare the R34 GT-R to the A80 Supra because that seems correct. But when the A80 came out, the R32 was still on sale. It looked far ahead of its time and aged perfectly for its decade. I think that in a 2020’s world of heinous grilles and tacky led light strips, the A90 will age rather well.
I’ve been taking the A90 out for lots of photography practice recently and I can’t help but notice that no matter what, everyone looks at the thing. Old men reading newspapers, young women out for a jog, excitable children walking back from school - the lot of them all stop and stare at it when it goes past.
I think that’s for two main reasons. Firstly, you don’t see too many around yet. I say ‘yet’ because hopefully that will change as the car gets older and more come out, but unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t, given the current state of sports car sales.
The second reason goes back to the design point. I think Toyota has done a great job at capturing a ‘sports car’ in the A90’s design. Porsche likes to say that if you ask a child to draw a sports car, they will draw a 911, but I disagree. The shape of the A90 speaks far more to the five-year-old inside me, which is why I think people look at it. You don’t need to know it’s an A90 driving past you, it’s just a unique looking ‘sports car’ that even your mum could appreciate.
Driving the A90 in anger is a tale of two sides. On paper, you have 335bhp under your right foot, but as we’ve all found out, that number is far closer to the 400 mark. That makes for a fun highway car, but once you stick it into its ‘sport’ mode, it’s a great backroad blaster too. It’s no featherweight, tipping in at over 1.5 tonnes, but in most cases, it’s comfortable with its weight. It’s only in really tight and twisty sections that the Toyota feels like it’s nervously struggling to keep itself in check.
You can solve that by turning off the stability control, however, which will let the car comfortably swing its way through corners without a care in the world. You’ll want to leave that switched on in the rain, of course - the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is a great tyre in wet weather, but there’s only so much a pair of them can do with 400bhp being chucked their way.
I used to be a die-hard manual activist. Drive a few DCT cars and you’ll realise that that’s all a load of nonsense. Auto gearboxes can be incredible, however this unit in the GR Supra is not one of those. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as slow as an old SMG box, but every time I use it it feels so lacklustre and, well, normal. There’s nothing about it that makes me want to whack the left paddle into a corner and hear the revs sing. It just lazily obliges and does its job before queuing up the next gear in a dejected manner.
Pair that with the incredibly dull noise of the European emissions-compliant B58, and it doesn’t feel like that special of a place to be. Like it’s just doing the job it’s been asked to do. No more, no less. It feels German in that respect, which doesn’t help the A90’s case to distance itself from its Bavarian foster parents. In fact, on multiple occasions, when wanting to go for a spirited drive, I’ve walked straight past the Supra and got into my £1500 Clio 182. The A90 just lacks ‘the fizz’ as a famous Mr Slow would put it.
I still see so many comments mocking the A90 for its BMW underpinnings. ‘Supra?? You mean Z4?’. Yes. Very funny, you win all the comedy awards.
All of us would prefer if Toyota was solely responsible for the GR Supra]. I mean look at how the GR Yaris has shaped up. However, faced between the A90 we have today, and no A90 at all, I’d definitely rather see the iconic name back on the road as is. At £55,000 it’s an expensive car, but think about how much that figure would increase if Toyota needed to offset the R&D cost for developing a brand new inline-six turbo to meet all the regulations of 2020 motoring, especially when it would turn out incredibly similar to the already proven B58 engine. For the love of God if I see one ‘they could have just started reproducing the 2JZ’ comment I will send my keyboard into the stratosphere.
At the end of the day, it’s an incredibly capable car that I personally think is well-deserving of its iconic name plate.
I’ve used the A90 on a few longer journeys so far and it’s beautiful at munching miles. The Supra lineage was always aimed to be a GT platform, and the A90 succeeds. All the amenities you could want, lazy throttle response and comfy enough suspension when you’re in the normal modes. The steering can be a little twitchy when you’re below motorway speeds pootling around town but that may be a modern car gripe more than one aimed at the A90.
If I was to buy one of these (which I will absolutely do when they hit the bottom of the market), I don’t think I could have it as my ‘fun car’, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use one as my daily. Throw some TE37s, a map and an exhaust at it, and you’ve got a cool but functional all-round daily.