Surprising: The 2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium
Updated: Apr 2, 2022
Spend enough time reading stuff online and you're likely to get good and confused. That describes so many things about life on earth right now, but let's stick with the 2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium.
Ever since the fourth generation Supra vanished from American shores in 1998, there's been a contingent calling for a comeback. But you would have thought Toyota re-invented the Yugo when it unveiled the 2020 model. Fanbois weren't fanboi-ing anymore. "It's a BMW", they cried, as though a fixed-roof version of the new BMW Z4 roadster might be a bad thing.
True, we'll never know what might have happened had Toyota delivered a smaller $60,000 version of its own Lexus LC 500, but what its partnership with BMW has produced is pretty damn wonderful in its own right.
Let's start under the hood. That's a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, the kind of engine BMW built its reputation on. Their sixes are revered for a reason. This one makes 305 horsepower, 365 pounds per foot of torque, is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and turns standing still into 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds---at which point it's just getting started. 100 happens, according to Car and Driver, in 9.5 and top speed is an electronically limited 155 miles per hour. Yes, it has launch control.
All that power underfoot doesn't send fuel efficiency through the floor, though. The EPA estimate for the 2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium is 24 city/31 highway, and we were able to confirm those numbers while we had the Supra.
We also are able to report first-hand that the new Supra eats every winding road you can put it on all day long. It's rear-wheel-drive, so it pushes instead of pulls. There's an active rear sport differential, a double joint-type McPherson strut front suspension, and multi-link in the rear. There's an adaptive variable sport suspension, 19-inch forged alminum wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (255/35 ZR 19s in the rear, 275/35 ZR 19s up front), Brembo four-piston ventilated disc brakes with red calipers front and rear, aero underbody panels and sport pedals.
As I mentioned in my review of the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0T, we traveled to Mendocino County, California for a socially-distanced, mask-wearing family funeral. We were still there on the day the Santa Fe had to go back and the Supra was arrived, so we arranged for the swap to happen there---meaning the Supra would be our ride home. My wife and I tend to plan a different route home from the one we take pretty much anywhere, and for the Supra, I cooked up the run you see above...down spectacular Highway 1 along the Pacific from Fort Bragg to Manchester, then inland to Boonville, south to Windsor, east to Calistoga, then down through Napa Valley to Interstate 80 and home to Folsom, east of Sacramento---a great mix of winding seaside and mountain roads, two-lane blacktop through some of California's best wine country and a 75-mile stretch of freeway.
But the best part, by far, was this:
That set of squiggles connecting Manchester and Boonville is Mountain View Road. It began as a stagecoach road, and even though it's paved and gorgeous, it's still rarely used, probably because most people don't love the twisties like the Supra and I do. It's 26.3 miles and it takes a good 45 minutes, even in the Supra, at least on the first pass. I'll be back, and I hope it's in another Supra. The Supra is incredibly responsive. The lack of a manual gearbox might trouble some purists, but I'll bet this automatic shifts better than they do. And the handling is crisp, clean and forgiving. The only thing I'd ask for is more feedback through the steering wheel. The sport-calibrated electric power steering is exactly that---it delivers because of the sport calibration, but it's not talking to you while it does it.
The base price of the 2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium is $53,990. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but among the highlights on the standard equipment list are rain-sensing windshield wipers, a full-color head-up display, 14-way power heated black leather sport seats, a 12-speaker JBL audio system with amplifier, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation, wireless charging and Bluetooth-capable Apple CarPlay.
Our tester also had some extra-cost options---$1,195 for the Driver Assist Package (full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors with emergency braking function), $49 for a cargo tote, which helps keep items in the very small (9.8 cubic feet) cargo area from flailing about in the corners, $80 for a carpeted cargo mat, $925 for carbon fiber mirror caps, and $65 for wheel locks.
And that's it. Add the $955 delivery, processing and handling fee and we're talking $57,259.
Styling is always a matter of taste and some online have said they find it all a bit much. But during the week I had the 2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium, I was mobbed by people who couldn't wait to tell me how amazing they thought it was. I was given more thumbs up in traffic than I think I've had in 23 years of driving two new cars a week. By any measure, the new Supra is a desirable car. And I'll be thrilled to have it back in my driveway anytime.