If we awarded one vehicle the 'most anticipated car of the year' title, it would go to the 2020 Toyota GR Supra. Ever since Toyota announced the return of the iconic sports car, enthusiasts have been on the edge of their seats waiting to see if the new 2020 Supra will live up to its legendary name. At the same time, critics have been vocal over concerns that the Supra's new platform and drivetrain hail from BMW, straying from its Japanese sports car roots.
Along with all the hype, the Supra's $50K starting price set our expectations high. We joined the Midwest Automotive Media Association at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, where Toyota's team gave us the inside scoop on the 2020 Supra's key features and then set us loose to take it for a few laps around a track. True Japanese sports car or not, the Supra had plenty to offer thanks to its excellent styling, tech, and performance.
Is the Supra as impressive in the flesh as in the launch photos we've seen to date? In short, yes. For our event, Toyota brought along the 2020 GR Supra in Renaissance Red and in White Metallic. Although we slightly preferred the White Metallic, the Supra's exterior makes a bold statement in both hues. Two grades are available for the 2020 Supra including a 3.0 and 3.0 Premium which is also available as a special Launch Edition.
We learned that the Chief Designer of the 2020 Toyota Supra, Nobuo Nakamura, had one guiding design theme when working on the new model which he labeled "Condensed Extreme". "Condensed" describes the large tire diameter with the short wheelbase and overall length. "Extreme" is for the short cabin with the wide tread. If we had to describe the exterior styling of the 2020 Supra in just one word, we'd call it unique. The Supra's exterior exudes confidence and aggression with a low nose and beltline making the rear spoiler nearly level with the hood. The rear-slanting cabin and double-bubble roof with the strong character lines on the roof sides add to the Supra's racing-inspired and one-of-a-kind exterior.
Interior and Tech
Inside, the Toyota Supra's two-seater cabin is compact but packed with premium materials. Unfortunately, our time behind the wheel of the 2020 Supra was limited. It was a hot ticket item at the event and we were encouraged (forced) to share. The interior space is tight and we wouldn't choose the Supra as our daily driver, but the cabin is outfitted with genuine leather and user-friendly tech. The driver and passenger seats are racecar-inspired with deep bolstering and knee support cushions. The genuine leather-clad seats held us firmly in place even on the sharp turns of the track.
The 14-way power-adjustable seats allow the driver to select the perfect position for track or road drives and the memory function lets them save it. Although the Supra has sufficient legroom and headroom for both driver and passenger, don't plan to bring much else inside the cabin. The trunk offers a few more cubic feet of storage (10 to be exact) but you'll need to get used to packing light.
To complement the fresh styling and interior of the 2020 Supra, Toyota had to bring in tech to match. The Supra 3.0 Premium model that we drove has a standard 8.8-inch multimedia display screen with navigation and Apple CarPlay. Forgoing the 3.0 Premium grade and going with the 3.0 gets you a 6.5-inch screen. Additional tech features we had in the Premium grade included a full-color head-up display, 12-speaker JBL audio system, and wireless charging. Each grade offers convenience features like dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and push-button start and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The 2020 Supra may have been designed to be a performance sports car that is intended to be pushed to the limit, but that doesn't mean Toyota neglected safety. Standard safety tech includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning with steering assist.
We tried out the 2020 Supra on a wet track and were limited to maintaining average highway speeds. This means we didn't push the Supra to its limits. Despite not reaching the speeds warranted by dry conditions, we were impressed by the performance. The Supra handled the corners of the track with ease thanks to its even 50:50 weight distribution. Two driving modes are available including Normal and Sport. We found 'Sport' optimizes the track driving experience and provides a more satisfying exhaust sound. Dare we say, the Supra sounds even better than it looks?
The Supra's 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine provides 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. That's right. No manual transmission for purists. Ugh. Despite not pushing the Supra too hard, we still enjoyed the responsive acceleration and the power that the V6 provided for our track drive. With a 0-60 time of just over 4 seconds, the 2020 Supra is faster than its 4th generation predecessor.
Earlier we mentioned we wouldn't choose the Supra as our primary daily driver. By that, we mean we wouldn't recommend it for your weekly grocery trip or sitting in traffic on your way to work. You won't fit many grocery bags in the small trunk and bumper-to-bumper traffic will not do this car justice. On the other hand, if you're looking for a sports car to take out to the track or if you can find a wide-open road to test out the full potential of its acceleration, you won't be disappointed. 2020 Toyota GR Supra Pricing starts at $49,990 for the 3.0 model and $53,990 for the 3.0 Premium.