2023 Toyota GR Supra - Review by Bruce Hotchkiss +VIDEO
It Isn't My Vision Of A Supra But It Is Super!
Special Correspondent, West Coast Bureau
THE AUTO CHANNEL
You've all probably seen a video of an old man (it's always an old man) trying to get in or out of a low slung exotic car. That would be me. I am about as ungraceful as anyone can be. So when performing the acts of entry and exit I did not look like the kind of guy you'd expect to see in a Toyota Supra, GR or otherwise.
But once I moaned and groaned my way into the driver's seat I was a much younger Bruce, the kid tearing up Connecticut's backroads. My mind is still young even if my body isn't.
Let me get three thoughts out of the way first. To me this isn't a Supra. All past Supras were 2+2 GTs. Although the meaning of Grand Touring is somewhat vague, generally it refers to a fast, comfortable 2-door. The GR Supra is definitely fast but it only has two seats, and it wouldn't be my choice for a marathon drive on our crumbling roads.
I thought the styling (and size) of the GR Supra was maybe too close to the GR86. The GR Supra is only 4.6" longer than the GR86. A family resemblance can be a good thing but not when you can be mistaken for your little brother. Compare the pictures.
Then there are the Supra's engines (a 4-cylinder and a 6-cylinder). Toyota builds very good engines but for some reason they had to go elsewhere for the Supra engines. Don't get me wrong, the BMW supplied powerplants are sweet, and I'm sure there were economical reasons for buying a ready to go engine, but Toyota could have used one of their own engines. Just saying. None of these thoughts detract from the driving experience. If you think of the Supra GR as a rip-snorting sports coupe you can't go wrong. There are two or three areas the Supra GR excels at and the engine has to be at the top. I am a huge fan of today's turbocharged engines. Turbo lag is a thing of the past. The turbocharged 3.0-liter, DOHC, straight six makes it's maximum torque of 368 lb-ft from 1,800 rpm up to 5,000. Peak horsepower of 382 is from 5,800-6,500 rpm. And the sound is exquisite. Oh my! It's too bad that as with most new cars the engine is hidden. That used to be a big part of the allure of a performance engine, the view under the hood. Now? It's all plastic.
In a recent review of a car with a manual transmission I mentioned how I had trouble shifting smoothly. Maybe it wasn't me because I had no trouble with the clutch feel when shifting the 6-speed manual in the GR Supra. I did find that if I tried to rush a shift from 2nd to 3rd I found 5th now and then but if I let my hand guide the shifter instead of forcing it it just slotted into the right spot. I'll gloss over entry and exit except to say that if I couldn't open the driver's door fully it was even more difficult. The doors are fairly wide and in tight quarters I was leery of going past the first stop. Once I got my butt in the driver's seat all was right, or almost right, with the world. I felt that the gear shift lever was a wee bit too far back for my liking, and if I moved the seat all the way back my left leg would have been fully extended. It was a minor problem that I could easily overlook. The dash featured a large tachometer with a little speedometer but there was a heads up speed display.
The only intrusion into a comfortable ride was the harshness of the suspension and/or tires. There isn't much sidewall flex in the 255/35RZ19 fronts and 275/35ZR19 rears. Even here in California springtime brings out the potholes, and try as I might I hit a few sending a "BAM" up my spine. The handling, even though I didn't fully test it, was exceptional as long as you avoided the potholes and bumps. And the brakes were what I expect from Brembo 4-piston calipers front (rears are single piston) with 13.7" rotors (rears are 13.6"). The brakes seemed to be among the best I've had the pleasure of using - the pedal feel was great and the stopping power exceeding the horsepower, which is as it should be. There are few computer controlled devices I would say are essential on a car like the GR Supra. Certainly ABS is a plus for the real world, and traction control will keep you from doing stupid acceleration stunts (it can be turned off). There was a lane-keeping program that I thought was a pain but not so much that I found the switch to turn it off. One of the assets of a GT in my mind is room for the luggage for two for a long weekend. There is 10.2 cubic feet of luggage space under the hatch. That's not much.
I made a few runs up through the gears up to 6,500 rpm. It was exhilarating. Turning to magazines that professionally test cars you will see that the GR Supra hits 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, the quarter-mile in 12.4, and tops out at 161mph. Unlike many 6-speed manual transmission the GR Supra's only has one overdrive gear - 6th. Final drive is 3.460:1. For a performance car fuel economy is rated fairly well - 27-mpg highway, and 19-mpg in the city. I didn't keep track but I doubt my city mileage was that high; it was too much fun listening to the engine sing. I would prefer a more bare bones GR Supra. A/C and a superb sound system would be required but I could live without most of the amenities. A little more compliant suspension for the real world would be nice as well. One thing Toyota could change is the wireless phone charger. My phone would not stay put; every time a went through a corner at speed it would slide out onto the floor. There really isn't much to fault with the GR Supra. I can gripe about calling it a Supra but I just couldn't keep the grin off my face once I got into the driver's seat. I didn't know what GR stood for so I Googled it. I'm willing to bet that kids know that it stands for Gazoo Racing. You learn something new everyday. There are four versions of the GR Supra - 2.0 (four-cylinder), 3.0, 3.0 Premium (the model tested), and A91-MT (gets you a National Auto Sports Association membership plus more). The test GR Supra Premium with manual transmission starts at $57,345. Seems like a decent price to me.