Toyota GR Supra 2.0


How many times have you heard someone tell you that when they next buy a car “It’ll definitely be either Japanese or German”?  I’ve even said it myself. Both countries are considered by those in-the-know (or those supposedly in the know, perhaps) to be the masters of motor manufacturing; their near-legendary reputations for engineering excellence and uncompromising quality come well-earned, and are the envy of their peers.

    So what if there was a car that was built by both the Japanese and the Germans, that really would be something, wouldn’t it?

     If that is case, then it’s the Toyota Supra that promises the offer of the best of both worlds.

   It’s no secret that underneath the Supra’s head-turning and heavily creased bodywork – a homage, albeit a toned-down one, to Toyota’s 2014’s scoop-heavy FT-1 concept -  lie the chassis, the oily bits, and a host of other componentry, from BMW’s Z4. Same engine, same gearbox, same chassis etc. The Supra is even built in the same factory, in Graz, Austria.

    But where once the only engine choice was a straight-six – traditionally Supras have always been six cylindered regardless of whether the engine was product of east or west – you can now buy one that’s powered by four-cylinders instead.

   The lesser-potted GR Supra 2.0 is lighter – by nearly 100kg; it offers increased fuel economy – up to 38.7 mpg; it’s cheaper to buy – £45,995, compared with £53,655 for the straight six: it emits less CO2 per km. And apart from alloy wheels that are an inch smaller in diameter (18 inch rather 19) and some slightly narrower tail-pipes, it looks just as good as a regular, full-fat, 3.0 litre, Supra. It even has the double-bubble roofline. The lighter, (Lesser? We’ll see) Supra is also pretty swift. 0-62 in 5.2 seconds may not be headline news these days nevertheless, it’s certainly not to be sniffed at. Top speed is an electronically limited, and let’s face it near impossible to ever attain, 155mph.  

   So, what’s not to like?

   Thread yourself into the GR Supra 2.0’s snug cabin and on first acquaintance the answer could well be, not very much at all. All of the steering column switchgear, the heater controls, the gear-selector, the electronic handbrake, even the door handles, they’re all instantly recognisable as BMW. You even get an I-Drive click-wheel to help you scroll through some very BMW-looking menus on the very BMW-looking multi-media screen that sits atop the, well, very BMW-looking dashboard. It all feels very solid, very well engineered. Dare I say it? It all feels very Germanic.

    Or it would, were it not for digital Toyota instruments, with their 3D effects, bar-type fuel and temperature gauges, and huge centrally mounted rev-counter.

   The slightly arcade–game looking dials display in white, whereas the Munich-sourced air-con display and centre console buttons light-up in orange. If only they’d have given everything the same font. Better still, the same colours. It feels like a bit of mish-mash, a bit kit-car. The steering wheel is clearly from the Z4 but it’s now resplendent with a Toyota centre boss; the seats are cloth-clad instead of being leather; and there’s nothing to separate the passenger compartment from the luggage space. You can hear, and see, your overnight bags sliding around when you go around roundabouts. Closer inspection makes you wonder quite whether this is how a £43K sports coupe’s interior should feel.

     That same have I been slightly short-changed feeling occurs when you press the starter button. The engine fires instantly – of course it does, you’d expect nothing less from either BMW or Toyota – but the BMW sourced four-cylinder engine, the same one you’d find in a BMW 330I, simply doesn’t sound as smooth or as rich as Toyota’s six. There are advantages however.  

    A lighter engine means less mass over the front axle, which in turn gives the 2.0 litre Supra a greater sense of agility; it feels more eager to change direction. The Supra always feels more GT in character than it does sports car, you sit behind than long bonnet and it rides rather nicely and soaks up the bumps, but now it feels more alive in the twisty bits, like there’s a bit more sport in this unashamedly sports-coupe.

     And there perhaps lies the prospective Supra customer’s quandary. The six-cylinder Supra offered something different – albeit at a price – whereas the four-cylinder car faces competition from the likes of Porsche’s 718 Cayman and Alpine’s A110, both of which feel altogether more-of-piece than the Supra does. And of course there’s the BMW Z4 too.

     After a week in its company I can see certainly see the appeal of the GR Supra 2.0 litre, but I’m still not sure if it’s where I’d spend my hard-earned 46 Grand. I’s not sure if it really is the best of both worlds. Is it perhaps a little more, be careful what you wish for?




Toyota GR Supra 2.0 litre Pro

Engine: 1,998 cc 4-Cyl 16 valve, turbo-charged, petrol

Transmission: 8-speed Sports Automatic

Power:  254 bhp @ 5,000 - 6,500 rpm

Torque: 295 lbft at 1,550 – 4,400 rpm

0-62 Mph:  5.2 Seconds

Max Speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)

CO2: 167 g/km WLTP combined)

MPG: 38.7 (WLTP combined)

Kerb Weight: 1,395 kg

Price: from £46,010 OTR (as driven £46,720)


Many thanks to Graham at Toyota for the loan of the Supra



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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