Toyota's GR performance brand is currently on a roll.
First came the GR Supra, which was initially a hard car to get. Stock was limited, demand was huge, and the prices were high. It scored well at CarAdvice, with ratings sitting around the 8.5 mark and above.
Since then, it has launched the GR Yaris. An excellent car in its own right, too, and also quite the sales performer – the first 1000 were gone in a week. I personally gave the car a flat-nine rating and Trent 8.7.
The brand is now proliferating, with stylised 'GR Sport' versions popping up in the wider Toyota range. Its C-HR GR Sport is the first of many jazzed-up second-tier GR products we'll see in Australia.
What's the first cab off the rank for 2021?
|2021 Toyota GR Supra GT|
|Engine||3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged petrol|
|Power and torque||285kW at 5800–6500rpm, 500Nm at 1800–5000rpm|
|Transmission||Eight-speed torque-converter automatic|
|Drive type||Rear-wheel drive|
|Fuel claim combined (ADR)||7.7L/100km|
|Fuel use on test||10.0L/100km|
|ANCAP safety rating||Untested|
|Warranty||5 years/unlimited km|
|Main competitors||BMW M2, Alpine A110|
|Price as tested (before on-roads)||$87,626|
Toyota has decided to give its relatively new sports car a tickle.
As Jez Spinks wrote in our last Supra review, "There’s just the question of whether buyers should wait for the MY21 upgrade due towards the end of the year...".
The upsides to waiting include more power, new suspension tower bracing, revised dampers, and a bigger bill.
The entry-level 2021 Toyota GR Supra GT model, as we're testing here today, is now priced from $87,126, which is $2590 more than the 2020 version.
The top-spec GTS is exactly $10,000 more than the GT, and also wears the same $2590 price increase. Both of these stated costs are before on-roads.
Other cost-related expenses include the choice of six gloss colours other than red at $500, and Nurburg matte grey, offered only on GTS models, at $2500.
I'll address Jez's big question upfront and quickly – is the extra money worth it?
Absolutely, as you do notice an increase in performance. It's more the latter torque spread that rules the roost here, with the engine now feeling more broad-shouldered up top.
Interestingly, Toyota has dropped the engine's compression ratio and fitted a new cylinder head in order to realise more power. The new casting allows for the use of an external exhaust manifold with six ports, in lieu of an integrated item with just two. Throw in a new turbocharger for good measure, and the results are what we see here today.
Changes go beyond a simple ECU tune, which to be honest many have spent more than $2590 on and voided their Supra's warranty in the process. Factoring in the hardware means the increase is not only justified in terms of added power, but also in terms of extra physical componentry. As well as retaining your five-year warranty.
Technical jargon aside, the Supra now makes 285kW, which is 35kW or 14 per cent up versus the previous version. Torque has been bumped, too, with its thick spread now lathered on even greater. The same 500Nm is offered, but from 1800 to 5000rpm. The old car topped out at 4500rpm, which means the new car has plenty more to play with.
The 0–100km/h time drops as a consequence of more potency, down by 0.2 seconds to 4.1 seconds.
It's a rapid car. Foot buried from a standing start will induce wheel spin, but the clever aids quell such ferocity, keeping the Supra on the straight and narrow. On-roll performance is also quite aggressive, with third-gear digs from 3500rpm also turning the tyres in slightly less than ideal conditions.
Fuel use over the week-long loan rose to 10.0L/100km, which is considerably higher than the 7.7L/100km official combined claim.
If you're into muscular mid-ranges, the stuff Japanese turbo cars are known for, you'll love what the Supra offers. While it feels sledgehammer-like, it lacks some precision in some areas that discerning enthusiasts also appreciate.
One area is in terms of controls. The throttle pedal is the most indifferent, feeling inconsistently calibrated and artificial. I understand the pedal is simply sending a signal to a motor that winds the throttle body open, as all new cars do, but the Supra's set-up doesn't feel quite right.
Trying to nail the exact amount of pedal needed to straddle traction in the wet is a hard task. The steering isn't wildly precise either, but is decent enough, and more importantly weighted to feel authentic.
After all, the Supra probably prefers to play the role of GT more than outright sports star. The ride quality speaks to the theory given how pleasantly smooth and interference-free the experience is.
On its regular setting, it rolls over bumps and dodgy roads feeling unfazed. Only the biggest potholes cause the suspension to run out of travel, which in turn creates a reverberating thud throughout the cabin. A rare occurrence, though. It maintains ride comfort while still being sharp and agile.
If you're moseying around and find yourself at the foot of a good road and forget to flick the dampers over, don't stress. The balance between good amounts of body control and suppleness is there, and you won't feel like you've short-changed yourself on the other side when you realise you forgot to turn Sport mode on.
Inside, the cabin is unchanged. Leather seats come as standard, and are well-bolstered enough to earn the 'sport' title. I also forgot how low you sit in a Supra. It's quite an enlightening experience, especially coming from my own GR Yaris, where you feel as if you're sitting on a milk crate on top of a seat.
Also, in the Supra you sit more toward the rear axle, which further amplifies the experience. It's a great driving position that provides a heightened sense of what lateral movement is occurring under throttle.
Such grace comes at a cost of visibility. Seeing out can be tricky despite large side mirrors and a fairly okay-sized rear window. Parking in unfamiliar, tight multi-storey car parks requires focus. Keep an eye out for those low kerbs.
Vehicle controls are mostly BMW, and feel their worth. Despite a handful of small changes having occurred during its transformation into a Toyota, important parts like BMW's excellent rotary controller remain. It allows for ease of use of vehicle systems while on the move.
There are some concerns, however. The biggest elephant in the room is the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Why we miss out bewilders me, as other markets receive it just fine in their Supras.
There's also no dedicated skip function on the steering wheel, which means changing tunes requires you to first tap the wheel, then select skip. A small annoyance, but one that got on my nerves greatly.
General cabin space is decent but storage is lacking. Other than a pair of tight door bins and some cupholders, there isn't anywhere else to throw life's trinkets. Of course, you can place things behind you straight into the boot, but you'll probably have to access them from via the tailgate once you stop. I also wouldn't recommend this strategy for sensitive items.
On the topic of the cargo area, there's 290L worth of space to fill. Ironically, there's more boot space in the Supra than the humble Toyota Corolla. However, the Supra's dimensions are a bit tight, and its boot opening small, too, so don't expect to dash to your favourite flat-pack furniture store as you would in a Corolla.
Using a more relevant barometer, a set of golf clubs will have no problems slotting in. Overall, the space is plenty usable, which makes the Supra a great second car slash toy for the family who value having a performance car in the garage.
If you've been waiting to buy a Toyota Supra, good news – you've made the right decision. With demand slowly petering off, and a new car in play, there's even more reason to walk into your local dealer and negotiate a good deal.
The other car worth considering is the BMW M2, which starts from $109,900 with a seven-speed automatic. There are rumours of Australia's allocation being tight, which means you'll either be waiting a long time or paying a premium for one.
That makes the Supra potentially good buying. Best of luck, and let me know in the comments below if you either own, are considering, or waiting on a 2021 version to arrive.