Toyota Supra Review
Toyota’s Porsche Cayman rival is fast and fun to drive, yet delivers surprising comfort and everyday practicality
Strengths & weaknesses
- Striking looks
- Strong performance and good to drive
- Surprisingly practical
- Gearbox can be jerky
- Lack of trim and engine choice
- It’s already sold out
The Toyota Supra name has been applied to a long line of high performance sports cars, but it has been nearly two decades since it last appeared in the UK. Pitched against successful models such as the Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110, the Toyota promises to combine a thrilling driving experience with more than a dash of everyday usability - provided you never need to carry any more than two people. That said, you have to pay for the privilege, with prices ranging from £52,695 to £56,945.
For many, the Supra’s bold looks might be worth the price of entry alone. While its sleek profile and long, low bonnet are classic sports car, the Toyota’s daring detailing gives it a look that’s bang up to date. Flowing curves, sharp creases and eye-catching vents all help the Supra stand out on the road.
While the exterior is daringly individual, the interior is more straightforward and, to BMW owners at least, will look rather familiar. That’s because Toyota developed the Supra in collaboration with the German brand and while the Japanese machine’s exterior is entirely bespoke, the interior borrows heavily from BMW, as does the engine, which comes from the BMW Z4 convertible. In many respects that’s a very good thing, because it means an extremely logical layout and top notch materials for the interior and a muscular engine under the bonnet.
More importantly, it gives Toyota access to the BMW’s excellent iDrive media system. Subtly altered screen graphics for the 8.8-inch display try to disguise the setup’s German roots, but the easy to access menus and intuitive transmission tunnel-mounted rotary controller (the screen is also touch sensitive) are pure BMW. If you’ve ever used Toyota’s Touch 2 multimedia system, then the Supra’s setup will be a welcome revelation, as it's far better. Not only is the system easy to use, it’s packed with features such as real time traffic information, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
This focus on technology extends to the safety systems, which are fairly comprehensive and standard across the range. There’s blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning, plus adaptive cruise control that will stop and start the car in slow moving traffic. Also included is autonomous emergency braking that features cyclist and pedestrian detection, while the parking sensors can automatically apply the brakes if they calculate your not going to stop for an obstacle. The Supra has not yet been crash tested by EuroNCAP, but Toyota has a good reputation for safety, so we'd expect the Supra to prove similarly safe.
Obviously you don’t expect a two-seater sports car to be a practical choice, but as models in this class go, the Toyota Supra is pretty good. There’s a versatile hatchback opening at the rear (although the opening is rather narrow), while the boot itself will swallow a useful 290 litres of luggage. The Porsche Cayman musters a larger 405-litre capacity, but this is split between its shallow 275-litre load area behind the seats and a deep 130-litre boot under the bonnet.
Elsewhere, the Toyota Supra’s interior has a decent amount of storage for odds and ends, while both occupants get a fair amount of space and a wide array of seat adjustment. The driver also gets a reach and height adjustable wheel, while the low-set driving position places you firmly at the centre of the action. Ahead is a digital instrument cluster that places the engine rev counter right in the centre, while the high transmission tunnel and window line create a snug atmosphere. That said, over the shoulder visibility is poor, and while the view ahead is much better, the windscreen is rather shallow.
Get moving and the Toyota Supra feels like a real sports car, thanks to its brawny engine and rear-wheel drive layout. The steering responds extremely quickly to your inputs and has a heft to it that helps you feel connected to the road. There’s also loads of grip, allowing you to dart quickly and accurately through corners. It’s a fun car to drive, one that might even encourage you to take the longer and twistier route to your destination.
Despite its sporty character the Supra is also easy to live with. Standard adaptive dampers allow you to firm up the ride for enthusiastic driving or soften the suspension for greater comfort - and in this mode the Toyota does a good job of soaking up the bumps. It’s quiet on a long journey too, and while the limited view out the back can make parking tricky, the controls are light and easy to use, plus front and rear parking sensors are standard.
|Warranty||5 years / 100,000 miles|
|Boot size||290 litres|
|Tax (min to max)||£530 in first year, £145 (£465 for the first five years) thereafter|
Best Toyota Supra for...
Best for Economy – Toyota GR Supra
This is not a car you buy to slash your fuel bills, but 34.5mpg is better than most rivals - and impressive considering the power on tap
Best for Families – Toyota GR Supra
Okay, this isn’t a family car, but it does have a decent 290-litre boot and ISOFIX points on the front passenger seat
Best for Performance – Toyota GR Supra
All models have the same engine and suspension setup, so GR delivers the best bang for your buck, cracking 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds
One to Avoid – Toyota GR Supra A90
There isn't one to avoid as such, but this £56,945 special edition runs to just 90 examples and they have all been sold. You're unlikely to find one on the used market too often
July 2018: Heavily disguised version of the Toyota Supra makes its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of speed
Jan 2019: Toyota Supra makes its full, undisguised debut at the Detroit Motor Show
July 2019: Sales of the Toyota Supra begin in the UK, although supply is limited to just 300 cars
Understanding Toyota Supra names
GR Supra Trim
It’s a fairly straightforward trim line-up. All models are called the GR Supra, with GR standing for Gazoo Racing, which is Toyota’s motorsport division. Pro models add a but more kit, while the limited run A90 gets bespoke paint and interior trim.
3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six Engines
All versions of the Supra get the same turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine that produces a substantial 340hp
Eight-speed automatic Gearbox
The transmission choice is limited to one too - the eight-speed automatic that can be operated by steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters
Toyota Supra Engines
This is the fairly straightforward part because, for now at least, there’s only one engine option for the Supra. That said, the six-cylinder 3.0-litre unit is a bit of a cracker, particularly when it comes to performance. Supplied by BMW and featuring a turbocharger, it packs a very healthy 340hp. More importantly for real world driving it also delivers an extremely muscular 500Nm of low-engine speed torque, all of which is available from just 1,600rpm, so not much above idle in other words.
The official 0-62mph time of just 4.3 seconds hints at its potential, but it’s that thumping torque figure that really dominates. Performance is effortless, the Supra surging forward as if fired from a giant elastic band. Overtaking slower traffic is a doddle, a quick prod of the throttle pedal dispensing with most other road users, while even the steepest inclines are barely felt, the Toyota continuing to accelerate with barely diminished force.
For the most part the engine sounds good, too. There’s a purposeful burble from the exhausts at standstill, which turns to a sporty growl at low to medium revs. However, work the engine really hard and the engine note takes on a strangely synthetic sound, much an engine you might here on a computer game.
As with the engine, there’s only one choice when it comes to the gearbox, which means it’s the eight-speed automatic or nothing. While many drivers of sports cars prefer a manual gearbox, this transmission represents a good compromise. Left to its own devices in Drive it serves up quick and unobtrusive shifts, plus it responds well to applications of the throttle - changing up early if you lift off, yet slipping down a few gears if you stamp on the pedal. It’s also possible to perform crisp manual gear changes using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. The only downside is that in the Sport driver setting (there’s also a Comfort mode) some of the downshifts are a little abrupt.
Toyota Supra Trims
Toyota GR Supra, Pro and A90
Toyota has elected to keep things extremely simple with the Toyota, with effectively just two trim to choose from - and the more expensive version is simply a cheaper model with and option pack. Yes there’s also a flagship A90 model, but just 90 were allocated across Europe and they’re all sold out.
In fairness, the standard GR Supra gets all the kit you’re ever likely to want or need. This is a very well-equipped car - to specify a Porshce Cayman to the same level would require adding thousands of pounds' worth of extras. In fact, the Toyota’s list of equipment would shame many luxury cars, with the items included running to sat-nav, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, climate control and a rear view camera. There are also heated and cooled suede-like Alcantara seats, adaptive LED headlamps and a 10-speaker stereo. And there’s more, because you also get 19-inch forged (lighter and stronger than normal) alloy wheels and adaptive shock absorbers.
Move up to the GR Sport Pro and the seats get a leather finish, while technology enhancements run to a wireless smartphone charging dock, a 12-speaker JBL sound system and a head-up display that beams information such as speed and sat-nav directions onto the windscreen.
The GR Supra A90 (the A90 refers to its internal Toyota codename) was limited to just 90 examples, all of which sold out pretty much immediately. Based on the Pro, it’s essentially a cosmetic makeover, with matt grey paint for the exterior and some garish red leather trim inserts for the steering wheel, seats and dashboard.
In terms of options you’re very limited with the Supra, meaning if you want more than the standard car’s got you have to trade up to the Pro model. Of course there are different paint colours to choose from and there will likely be some dealer fit accessories, but for now what you see is what you get.
Toyota Supra Reliability and warranty
Toyota has almost become a byword for reliability, and it’s clear that the firm certainly has confidence in its product, as evidenced by its impressive five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Perhaps what’s most interesting about this is that most of the mechanical and electrical parts are BMW’s, which covers the same bits only for three years.
The Supra is far too new to have featured in the 2019 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Toyota finished a very creditable 10th overall. Owners were quick to praise their cars’ durability and dependability. Of course it’s worth remembering that BMW supplies most of the hardware, and it languished 25th out of the 30 manufacturers. That said, Toyota will have made sure that any parts they use will match their own rigorous standards.
Used Toyota Supra
Given how new the Toyota Supra is, it’s no surprise to find that there currently aren’t any used examples on BuyaCar. In fact, it’s likely that new owners are still to take delivery of the first batch of UK cars, so it’ll be a good few months or so before the first used examples start to appear on forecourts.
With just 300 of the standard and Pro models slated for the UK in 2019, demand for the new car is likely to be high, and given the low numbers and hype that has surrounded the car it’s highly likely that the first pre-owned examples will change hands for more than the new list price.