Wednesday, June 3, 2020

2020 Toyota Supra GR 3.0 Premium: After 21 Years, It's Back!

Highlight: The GR Supra shares a platform with BMW’s Z4.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $56,220 (Base MSRP: $50,945)

Seating Capacity: 2

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a vehicle stability system a traction control system; a pre-collision braking system with pedestrian protection; a radar activated cruise control system; an automatic brake hold feature; a blind spot monitor with a rear traffic alert system; a lane departure warning system with steering assist; automatic high beams; a hill start assist system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment: 19-inch wheels; Michelin Pilot high performance tires; rear wheel drive; an 8-speed automatic; paddle shifters; launch control; an active rear sport differential; an active exhaust; an automatic engine start/stop system; an adaptive variable sport suspension; hollow front/rear stabilizer bars; sport calibrated electric sport steering wheel; Bembro brake; automatic folding heated outside mirrors with memory function; auto leveling LED headlights; auto-tinting passenger side outside mirrors when in the reverse position; integrated rear spoiler; dual rear exhaust outlets; power front seats; driver’s seat with memory function; leather seats; a keyless entry system; a push button ignition system; a dual zone automatic climate control system; an automatic dimming rearview mirror; storage net (passenger side); and a tilt/telescopic steering wheel

Standard Equipment (Premium): a 12-speaker, 500-watt JBL audio system; 9-inch touchscreen infotainment screen; wireless smartphone charging; heated seats; Brembo red brakes; ventilated disc brakes with rear caliper, cast iron (rear) 13.6x.94; black leather sport seats; sport pedals; real time traffic updates; a heads up display system; heated seats; and a navigation system

Options: a radar activated cruise control system; a blind spot electronic monitor system; a rear cross traffic alert system; parking sensors with emergency braking; and carpeted floor mats

Other Trim Levels

Launch Edition RWD

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 10-HiFi -speaker AM/FM/CD with SiriusXM satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder turbo/335-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage: 22-city/31-hwy

What’s New: After a seventeen year global absence, the stunning Toyota GR Supra nameplate returns in a smaller package, while sharing a platform with BMW’s Z4. Ironically, the original Supra exited the U.S. in 1998.

Why: After disappearing from the U.S. market twenty-one years ago, the snazzy-looking, rear-wheel drive, two-seater liftback made its return in July of 2019, as a 2020 model.

When Toyota initially launched the first generation Supra in 1978, the vehicle was developed to go after Datsun’s popular Z-car, which is now known as the Nissan 370 Z. While both the Toyota and the Nissan have evolved throughout the decades, with the return of the GR-Supra, this has unseated the Z, forcing this sports car to step up its game. In fact, it has been confirmed an all-new iconic Z is in the works. 

During Toyota’s absence, automakers like Hyundai attempted to fill the void in the sports car segment, with its Hyundai Genesis Coupe. While it was a great, during its short tenure, the vehicle still wasn't able to offer the flavor needed to match the Supra's allure.

Mitsubishi and Dodge also entered the sports car segment, with their offerings, one being the 3000 GT and the Stealth, respectively. Both models shared a platform. However, like the Supra during its first run, they have both driven off to car heaven, leaving the market to the Z for nearly two decades.

However, with the return of the Supra, which is now known as a GR Supra, the  iconic vehicle returns with a bang, giving the aging Z some much needed competition again. In fact, the new two seater, with its distinguishable styling cues, is available in three well-equipped trims: Base, Premium or Launch Edition. Prior to the GSR Supra, Toyota enthusiasts seeking a sports car had to turn to the entry-level 86, which was formerly a member of the now defunct Scion family
The all-new Supra, which is available with one engine, is outfitted with one powertrain, a 3.0-liter engine, automatic 8-speed transmission, with a 6-cylinder engine that pushes out 335-horsepower. 

The eye-catching, nimble rear-wheel drive sports car produces 365-lb-ft of torque. According to the folks from Toyota, the GR Supra is the quickest vehicle in the brand's line up, as its capable of accelerating from 0 to 60-mph in roughly 4.1-seconds. In order to enhance the performance (or at least the sound), drivers are able to make modifications to the driving mode by pivoting between two driving modes: normal and sport.

During our time behind the wheel, we purposely placed the driving-oriented vehicle in sports mode, when we wanted to flex the GR Supra's muscles. In sports mode, we were able to amplify the vehicle’s exhaust system, which offered a perfectly pitched crackle. Also when the vehicle is in sports mode, the throttle response is sharpened, the steering weight increases, the shifting of the transmission becomes crisper and the differential tuning become more aggressive, transitioning the GR Supra to beast mode.

The GR Supra with its power operated driving seat, is doable for long drives, curvy roads or Sunday drives. Unlike Mercedes-Benz two seat roadster, the SLS, this vehicle does not require one to roll in or out of the vehicle. Seating and the cabin size is just right for average size adults.

Buyers of the GR Supra have the ability to experience the best of two cultures, the Japanese culture and the German culture. Unlike any other vehicle in the Toyota line up, the Supra shares a platform with the BMW Z4. 

From the placement of the infotainment screen to the i-Drive-like controller to the stalks on the steering wheel, there is no mistaken it’s a BMW-like vehicle. However, while we have not been behind the wheel of the Z4, which is only available as a droptop, the duplicate controls in the GR Supra makes this system much easier to navigate, no pun intended than in BMW's with a similar system. The audio system and the like in this GSR are super easy to control.

And with this Toyota, buyers get the Japanese exterior styling effects too, which combines the best of two cultures, making this an ideal vehicle for those yearning to feel-like James Bond, with its elongated hood, but classic styling. The GR Supra exhibits a cool and sexiness about it that many driving enthusiasts have longed from the brand.

Moreover, this GR Supra incorporates some of the latest driver safety aids infused into many of today’s vehicles. Our test model included everything from a rearview camera to an electronic blind spot lane changing system to a radar-activated cruise control system.

Yes, this is a Supra that has come to play and to also be quiet relevant in this modern era, where there is this push toward self-driving technology, electrification and me-too designs.

But: So, with all of the hoopla over the GR Supra, there are still some areas of opportunity for improvement. 

First, let's address the sign of the roof. Because of the design of the roof, there was no way a sunroof could be added. The gutsy vehicle lacked a manual transmission. Although for those who aren't comfortable driving a straight shift, the clutchless automatic is a great alternative. However, for those who prefer a more engaging driving experience, a manual should be on the driving board. 

Next the center armrest did not allow for storage. And lastly, the rear hatch did not allow for a separation between the passenger area and the cargo area. There is no enclosed trunk space.

Verdict: Toyota’s new GR Supra is priced the same as BMW’s Z4 which shares the same platform. Unlike the BMW, which is available only as a roadster, the GR Supra is only available as a hardtop with the option of a sunroof due to its concaved roof.

However, while we haven’t been behind the wheel of the Z4, the styling cues of Toyota’s iconically-styled sports coupe is just breathtaking. And the ride is exhilarating too. While the 2021 model is expected to offer a 4-cylinder powertrain and add more horses to the 6-cylinder powertrain, we found our test vehicle to be more than adequate in the powertrain area.

So, for those looking to recapture their youth or for those seeking a thrill-seeking, eye-catching two seater in the $50k range, the GSR Supra is worth taking a spin in.

Competition: 2020 BMW Z4 and 2020 370Z

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