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2020 Toyota GR Supra
by John Davis
Perhaps no new car has been more widely anticipated by enthusiasts than the 2020 Toyota GR Supra. This sleek 2-seater coupe has been teased and promised for years, and it is finally here. However, the new Supra’s design and engineering did take a somewhat non-conventional path.
To reduce the financial risk of launching a relatively low volume model, Toyota sought out a development partner, much like they did with Subaru in designing the Scion FR-S/Toyota 86/Subaru BR-Z. In the case of the Supra, that partner turned out to be from the other side of their world.
Enter Germany’s BMW. It’s a fact, the all-new Supra shares an architecture with the BMW Z4 roadster. Both cars also share powertrains, in this case BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-6 and 8-speed automatic. But, before you say “clone”, each brand did their own tuning and the Supra six outputs a robust 335-horsepower.
The Supra project was actually spearheaded by the same Toyota chief engineer that oversaw the FR-S/86/BR. In similar fashion, both Toyota and BMW started with a basic modular chassis, but went their separate ways from there, though the Supra is assembled on the same Austrian assembly line as the Z4.
With engineering by Toyota’s GAZOO racing team, the Supra is truly a car in need of a race track, where it equates itself quite well. Even under stress, the Macpherson strut front, and 5-arm multi-link rear suspension, along with adaptive variable dampers, and Brembo brakes, keep the Supra well composed. Rear-wheel drive of course, an electronically controlled active differential can send the full amount to power to the outside wheel to provide the most drive off of corners. It also works to help settle the rear under hard braking. Manually triggering shifts, worked quite well, though not so well that we didn’t wish for a true manual transmission.
Away from the track, in normal mode, not unlike the 86, it’s a quite pleasant daily driver. Only big bumps cause any shudder.
Exterior body panels are a mix of aluminum and steel. The car looks much smaller in person, appearing racy without going full fast and furious. 19-inch wheels come shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sports.
The BMW influence is strongest inside with a very familiar, Bavarian-style control layout. That means there’s iDrive to contend with too. Toyota did add a unique steering wheel and shifter. Seats are also distinctive and quite nice.
For our complete road test of the 2020 Toyota GR Supra, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3845 that begins airing July 12, 2019. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.
While some may still wish that Toyota had gone it alone, many of this Supra’s strongest attributes can be directly attributed to BMW’s experience in building world class performance cars. Toyota chose it’s Supra partner well, for the unique result is a sport coupe that was well worth the wait.