A90 Toyota GR Supra Review: No Revelation, But Don't Let That Put You Off

The new Toyota Supra doesn't tear up the rule book or do anything unexpected, but it's a fun, slightly feisty sports car that could be a great starting point for much more
A90 Toyota GR Supra Review: No Revelation, But Don't Let That Put You Off

Years after being previewed by a concept car and following a relentless teaser campaign, we finally saw the final production rebirth of a legend. It revived a name we hadn’t seen on a new car for the best part of two decades, and expectations were high. And for many, those lofty expectations weren’t quite met.

I’m not talking about the A90 Toyota GR Supra. Nope, I’m referring to the hybrid Honda NSX, a car with which Toyota’s new sports car can draw many parallels. It’s another Japanese performance machine resurrecting a badge that has an almost terrifying level of adoration attached to it, and which has arrived after a similarly lengthy gestation period. On paper, nothing about it stands out as extraordinary, so is this going to be another NSX moment?

After finally driving it, we’d have to say no, but not because it does anything that tears up the rule book.

A90 Toyota GR Supra Review: No Revelation, But Don't Let That Put You Off

What we should note from the off is that it does, despite sharing a platform and engine, drive quite differently to the BMW Z4. Which is a good thing. While the BMW feels ponderous and less-than willing to change direction quickly, the much more rigid Supra hides its weight brilliantly. It tips the scales at a relatively porky 1570kg, but you’d swear it’s a couple of hundred kilos less.

In fact, it turns in rather beautifully, a surprisingly active rear end - so long as you’ve switched to ESP Sport - making the car feel all pointy. It’s actually quite feisty, the meaty mid-range of that B58 inline-six often overpowering the 275mm-wide Michelin Pilot Supersports out back.

A90 Toyota GR Supra Review: No Revelation, But Don't Let That Put You Off

Damping is, on the whole, very good, letting the Supra shrug off ill-placed yumps on corner entry, and you don’t feel like you’re about to be spat off into a barrier. In Sport mode the low-speed ride isn’t the smoothest, but that’s about our only complaint.

The steering is very 2019, by which we mean it’s all fast and darty off-centre, but a little light and not exactly feelsome. We can live with it. The 335bhp engine, though? Perhaps not.

A90 Toyota GR Supra Review: No Revelation, But Don't Let That Put You Off

The whole inspiration behind the Supra project was BMW’s inline-six. The car’s chief engineer Tetsuya Tada took the idea of a joint relationship with Munich as a ‘sign’ that the new Supra should happen, BMW being the only mainstream company making high-performance straight-sixes.

The trouble is, the B58 is weirdly lacking in character. It has neither the boosty attitude of its 1M-powering N54 ancestor, nor the outright aggression of the S55 found in the M stuff. You never really want to rev it out, as at anything over 5000rpm it feels strained and almost breathless. Most of the time you’ll end up keeping it in the mid-range.

A90 Toyota GR Supra Review: No Revelation, But Don't Let That Put You Off

Yes, it’s a turbocharged inline-six, nicely matching the engine configuration of the fabled, nay, worshipped MkIV Supra, but it’s far from a remarkable engine. It’s a shame Toyota didn’t at least engineer some pops and bangs on the upshifts to add some drama.

On the subject of the gearbox, it’s a similar story to the engine. The quiet and efficient eight-speed ZF torque converter is perfectly adequate for the job, but nothing memorable. It’s a little reluctant on down-shifts too. A manual was never on the cards, but a snappier DCT - for both the Z4 and the Supra - would have been more befitting.

The BMW tech is pretty conspicuous, but it’s a better bet than an infotainment system from Toyota itself...
The BMW tech is pretty conspicuous, but it’s a better bet than an…

Despite all this, the Supra is a perfectly worthy, nicely sorted sports car. It’s just that it isn’t mind-blowing, even if you take the unreasonable expectations that come with the name out of the equation.

For many, that’ll be just fine, so long as they’re happy with the cabin being rather titchy. It’s a distinctive-looking coupe that’s just a little bit spicy to drive while still being approachable. When making such a car right now is so unfashionable, you can’t help but be pleased it’s here.

A90 Toyota GR Supra Review: No Revelation, But Don't Let That Put You Off

You could instead look at it as a solid starting point. Tada-san told us that a GRMN version has to happen, which for anyone not quite taken by the base GR Supra should be good news. Let’s just hope they stuff the S55 into it…



Really good shots in this, if I ever get one, i’d get it in that yellow.

05/14/2019 - 18:47 |
34 | 0

they should just sell it in this yellow, and that first edition Gray

the red and white look terrible

05/14/2019 - 19:40 |
2 | 2

That’s how Car Throttle Articles should be, good writing and awsome Pictures.

On another note, anyone else share my thought that the A80 will be higher in Price then the A90 like 1 or 2 months after sales start?

05/14/2019 - 19:02 |
10 | 0

a little hard for constant articles, due to cash ig?

unlike other car websites which just reuse archived magazine articles for web articles, at least CT is being original

05/14/2019 - 19:39 |
4 | 0
EJ22 (A&P Performance co-owner)

Yellow cars other than taxis have gotten rare… so nice to see they offer that on the Supra

05/14/2019 - 19:04 |
8 | 0
Duggan (koalafan) (koalafan7) (Esprit Team) (Z32 Group) (Lot

In reply to by EJ22 (A&P Perf…

I honestly feel like they don’t have enough colors for the Supra but I do appreciate yellow

05/14/2019 - 19:35 |
0 | 0
The Stig 6

Arent the boxter, m2 competition,alpine, Mustang, camaro all vastly superior cars?
Or a hot hatch?
Or buy a cheaper sports car and mod it(GT86, MIATA).
I dont see fhe point of rhis car (based on current reviews)

05/14/2019 - 19:28 |
2 | 0

what this is,

is a car thats fun fast and just as capable on the track and all the cars you mentioned

with the daily usabilty of a Toyota.

also in that logic, people shouldnt buy an S Class, when the E class is just as good.

also at least everyone would fit in this.

05/14/2019 - 19:42 |
6 | 0

It runs right with mustang and Camaro in terms of straight line speed and given the power to weight, balance, and skid reviews, it’s still best bang for buck

05/15/2019 - 03:00 |
0 | 0

Maisto or Bburago should make a 1/18 model of this. I will buy.

05/14/2019 - 19:47 |
0 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Hell, Hot Wheels should make a 1/64 out of this

05/15/2019 - 10:28 |
2 | 0

It looks soooo nice, yellow fits the car perfectly

05/14/2019 - 19:50 |
2 | 0

It’s a shame Toyota didn’t at least engineer some pops and bangs on the upshifts to add some drama.

Then there’s the sound, On or off throttle, but especially off, you’re treated to a symphony of pops and bangs that rivals that of the V6 and V8 Jaguar F-Type in terms of volume and quality. It’s truly one of the better-sounding sports cars you can buy right now.

i bamboozled

05/14/2019 - 19:50 |
34 | 0

All the US reviewers are raving about the engine and all the Euro reviewers are saying it’s boring. I wonder if some EU exhaust regulations made the euro spec car sound boring

05/14/2019 - 22:54 |
10 | 0
Griffin Mackenzie

as much as I think this car is mildly interesting I do believe it fails to live up to the supra’s legendary status. It’s certainly missing that certain magic the mk4 had

05/14/2019 - 22:16 |
4 | 6

The only thing legendary about the mk4 supra was the aftermarket potential, and the hype provided by the F&F series and video games; again all based on aftermarket potential. This bmw engine has been proven reliable on a completely stock block and head up to 700hp, very similar to the mk4. As for looks, there’s already many aftermarket companies with kits in the works, just give it some time. One thing i think itll lose out on is the lack of a manual transmission. But look wise, i personally think toyota did an amazing job with the bodywork

05/14/2019 - 22:55 |
10 | 0

The more i see this kind of comments and opinions the more i understand.

The mk4 was really legendary for its engine, and the fact that it got alot of aftermarket parts has to do with it, although i agree with that statement, i do have too much interest on the new supra, i believe it may have failed the bloodline for being a pure toyota and jdm, but I’m also glad it didn’t have a hybrid system, or worst, ends up a crossover suv, and also hybrid.

08/07/2019 - 00:19 |
0 | 0
Basith Penna-Hakkim

I don’t care what the haters say
The Supra is a great sports car for what it is and it will live up to its name
Hopefully, it comes with a manual transmission the Supra deserves

05/14/2019 - 23:59 |
12 | 0

There is something really weird about your B58 review CT…

You said in nov 2016 about the N55 M2 : “Its 3.0-litre engine doesn’t make the most inspiring noise, but it’s eager and surprisingly revvy.” Now most BMW entusiast know that the B58 is noticeably more rev happy than its predecessor the N55 (the debate we can have is about the fact the N55 may sound better than all the other 6 cyl produced by BMW from the N54 included..but that’s not the question there). Thus it’s really surprising that you are saying “You never really want to rev it out, as at anything over 5000rpm it feels strained and almost breathless”. If this really is the case then you probably always shifted before 4000rpm in your test of the N55 powered M2 ?

However, you got a point about the ZF8 being a real disappointment in place of the DCT (BMW trying to bambouzel us saying it’s about reliability, ect…when it’s all about cost saving..).

05/15/2019 - 00:10 |
0 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Euro spec cars have to use particulate filters in the exhausts now, which in the Supra seem to have killed the rev happy nature of the B58. If you read reviews from Car and Driver or Jalopnik, which have a hold of the US spec car, they praise the engine for being rev happy and sounding amazing. Emissions regulations kill everything I guess

05/15/2019 - 06:50 |
2 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

the ZF 8 speed is faster and smoother than the dct bmw used before it though

05/15/2019 - 08:15 |
0 | 0



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