Review: Toyota Supra (2019)
Great to drive with brilliant six-cylinder soundtrack. Classy interior with lots of standard equipment. Never fails to turn heads.
Badge lacks the cachet of rivals.
Toyota Supra (2019): At A Glance
While it might seem that every car on the road is an SUV, there are a surprising number of new cars on the market that put enjoyment and appearance above things like practicality.
Cars like the Alpine A110, Porsche Cayman, BMW M2, Audi TT RS and Jaguar F-Type all have their selling points - but the new Toyota Supra is arguably the most convincing all-rounder of the lot.
Developed in collaboration with BMW, the new Supra has been a long time coming. It shares a great deal (including a factory) with the latest Z4, but you’d be hard pushed to tell from its design. You’ll love or hate it, with its gawping headlights, wide rear arches and surprisingly compact dimensions.
While Toyota’s more affordable sports car, the GT86, is let down by its below-par interior, the Supra feels just like a BMW inside. There are soft-touch materials everywhere, everything’s logically laid out and a slick 8.8-inch infotainment screen is standard.
You sit low down, so the Supra feels like a proper sports car, while electric seat adjustment means it's very easy to get comfortable.
The Supra clearly isn’t a practical family car, but there’s more than enough room for two adults and a couple of weekend bags. The 290-litre boot isn’t as big as you’d find in rivals and there’s quite a high lip for lifting heavy items over, but it’s no less practical than we’d expect from a car like this.
Of course, the best thing about the Supra is how it drives. Power comes from a 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged petrol BMW engine which sounds fantastic (take note, Porsche Cayman buyers) and offers impressive performance, reaching 62mph in 4.3 seconds.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is quick to respond, and most drivers won't find themselves missing a manual gearbox. There are paddles, too, if you want more control over the transmission.
Alternatives like the Alpine A110 might be more agile on a race track, but in the real world the Supra offers plenty of easily-accessible fun, with superb steering and a balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis.
Resisting the temptation to be lured into a Porsche dealer and buying a Toyota Supra instead makes a bold statement. If you can live with people asking what on earth it is, the Supra is a truly excellent purchase.
What does a Toyota Supra (2019) cost?
Toyota Supra (2019): What's It Like Inside?
While some sports cars have token rear seats, the Toyota Supra is a strict two seater. The advantage of that is there’s plenty of room for two adults, while electrically adjustable seats means it’s easy to get comfortable.
The Supra’s low seating position could be an issue for anyone with limited mobility but it’s a classy, upmarket cabin. You can forget any ideas that this is a back-to-basics sports car with the kind of hard-wearing but sub-premium interior we’re used to from Toyota. This feels like a BMW inside.
Standard equipment is generous. The heated seats, 8.8-inch connected navigation and adaptive cruise control are just a few of the features which contribute to the Supra’s ability to cover long distances without a fuss. This is easily a car you could use every day (not something we’d say about the Alpine A110, for example).
The infotainment system is easy to use. It’s essentially a reskinned version of BMW’s iDrive unit, which is better than that offered in other Toyotas. So that’s a good thing, unless you want to use Android Auto to mirror your phone’s features. That’s not available, although Apple CarPlay is.
There are just two trim levels to pick from: the regular GR Supra and the GR Supra Pro. Most buyers will opt for the high-spec Pro, which adds niceties like a premium sound system and black leather sports seats.
Storage is somewhat lacking. The door bins are pretty narrow and there aren’t many little stowage areas in the car’s cabin.
The boot, meanwhile, is fine. Its 290 litre capacity is about the same as a small hatchback like the Ford Fiesta, and access is reasonable via a hatchback boot. That said, there’s quite a high lip to lift items over, and don’t expect to carry much more than the weekly shop or a couple of weekend bags.
Standard equipment (from launch):
Toyota GR Supra features 19-inch alloy wheel, active sports differential, Toyota Supra Safety+ inc pre-collision system (pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering control, adaptive automatic high beam and road sign assist), adaptive variable suspension, drive mode selector, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor, 8.8-inch connected navigation, 10-speaker audio system, electrically heated Alcantara sports seats with memory function, smart entry and push-button start, LED adaptive headlights, LED daytime running lights and rear lights, reversing camera.
Pro adds black leather sports seats, JBL premium sound system with 12 speakers, wireless mobile phone charger, head-up display.
Child seats that fit a Toyota Supra (2019)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Toyota Supra (2019) like to drive?
There's only one engine available in the Supra in the UK: a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six petrol sourced from BMW. Other markets get a smaller four-cylinder petrol, but that's not coming to the UK - and we're not too sad about that.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, considering the brand's green credentials, is that Toyota hasn't decided to offer the Supra with a hybrid engine. The 3.0-litre straight-six will appeal to the enthusiastic drivers this car's aimed at, though. It will accelerate to 62mph in 4.3 seconds, which is quicker than most of its rivals - provided there's enough grip available to prevent the wheels spinning (a launch control feature is available).
Select the Sport driving mode and the Supra changes character. A flap in the exhaust opens to provide a charismatic sound track with lots of pops and bangs - people will hear you coming, but it’s not a noise any car enthusiast will tire of quickly.
The steering also firms up, providing lots of feedback about how much grip is remaining from the rear tyres. This is useful as there’s plenty of power to overwhelm them, especially in the wet. It’s not an intimidating car to drive quickly, but you’ll need to spend a bit of time getting used to rear-wheel-drive dynamics if you haven’t driven anything faster than a front-wheel-drive hot hatch before.
If it’s ultimate cross-country pace and steering precision you’re looking for, a mid-engined alternative like the Porsche Cayman or Alpine A110 would be a better choice. But the majority of keen drivers will have a lot of fun in the Toyota Supra.
The gearbox - an eight-speed torque-converter auto - suits the car very well. You can't spec the Supra with a manual gearbox, but the standard automatic is quick to respond (although not quite as rapid as the PDK used in the Porsche Cayman). You can take control via the paddles positioned behind the steering wheel, if you like, which adds to the experience when you're in the mood.
Where the Toyota Supra surprises is with its ability to cover long journeys in comfort. This is a car that’s very happy to spend its days on the motorway, returning surprisingly reasonable fuel economy and not being too uncomfortable in the process. It’s a bit firm, perhaps, but you’re not going to hate it after a long journey to the south of France.
It’s also an easy car to drive around town. Visibility is good (although looking up at SUVs might get tiring) and the steering is usefully light. A tight turning circle means negotiating tricky car parks isn’t a bind, either.
|3.0||-||4.3 s||170 g/km|
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