Toyota Supra GR
By Bill McCarthy
WHEN it comes to show-stopping cars, a few names spring to mind. But for the majority of people, I bet Toyota isn’t one of them.
They would be wrong. The Supra is a bit of a legend with enthusiasts, but has been absent from the roads for a good while.
So the gleaming and sporty looking hunk of metal parked on the drive took a few people by surprise, even a local lad who knocked to door to ask if he could take pictures
The initial four generations of the Supra were produced from 1978 to 2002. This fifth generation has been on sale in May 2019 in three litre form, with this two-litre model on sale from January this year.
The first global GR model from Toyota Gazoo Racing, (hence GR), which the firm says was conceived as a sports car in its purest form, with no compromise
With the focus on all things electric at the moment, the Supra blends performance, agility and velcro-like grip with a choice of a three litre V6 or the two litre model here, both mated with an eight speed auto gearbox. The firm is right, it looks every inch a sports car.
Priced from £45,995 it was developed in collaboration with BMW, and shares much of its underpinnings with the German firm’s Z4.
It does look stunning, with its short wheelbase and wide stance, the long bonnet, double bubble roof, muscular rear haunches and neat spoiler.
Add to this the slim headlights, huge air scoops, and preatory looking low-to-the ground stance, it is neatly finished off with striking 18-inch alloys wheels, and visible high-performance Brembo brakes.
The two-litre driven here offers model-specific Pro specification, with standard features including those 18-inch alloys, a four-speaker 100W audio system with 8.8-inch touchscreen display, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, smart entry and start and heated and powered GR sports seats upholstered in black Alcantara.
The centrepiece touchscreen controls most functions, including navigation and smartphone connectivity and can be controlled via touch or a rotor knob, while the interior is classy and well equipped. In true two-seater style, entry and exit is a bit of an art form, but worth the contortions for the sheer pleasure of driving the car.
Performance isn’t class leading, but hitting 60 mph in a smidge of five seconds is not too shabby either. The three litre is around a second quicker.
But it’s not just about the raw speed off the mark. Handling is a delight, and while the four cylinder engine does not develop the throaty roar of a V6, there is a sporty rasp when accelerating hard, which is just as satisfying.
Maximum power is 254bhp with high levels of torque peaking at 400Nm, so it just keeps pulling hard through the gears.
It feels hugely stable, with its active differential, which can identify the road conditions, calculate the optimum locking degree, and activate the lock accordingly.
That operates both when accelerating and decelerating and can seamlessly adjust from zero to full, 100 per cent lock, with instant response.
In addition adaptive suspension and stability and traction programmes help keep the car safe even when the driver cannot.
In practice, it clings limpet like to the road, with sharp bends dismissed with ease and delivers even harder grip when accelerating out of bends, to deliver a hugely satisfying drive.
The power on tap does not mean the car is thirsty. Official economy of approaching 40mpg is pretty impressive.
It’s a two seater, so practicality is not going to be a top priority, but there is enough space in the boot for a couple of small suitcases.
Safety kit is also comprehensive with multiple airbags, a pre-collision safety system with braking function, pedestrian and cyclist detection with braking function, and lane departure warning.
Icon is a much overused word, but the Supra really does deserve that status and is a welcome return to UK roads. It looks great and is a brilliant drive.
Toyota Supra GR 2.0 Pro
Mechanical: 254bhp, 1998cc, 4-cylinder, petrol engine driving rear wheels via eight-speed manual transmission
Max Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 38.7
Insurance Group: 34e
C02 emissions: 167g/km
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles