Toyota Supra 2019 Review
Toby Hagon’s Toyota Supra Review 2019 with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Interior, Ownership, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: BMW DNA in a swoopy Toyota sports car shell marks the revival of one of Toyota’s most legendary sports cars, the Supra.
2019 Toyota Supra GTS Specifications
Price $94,990+ORCs Warranty 5 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety Not Rated Engine 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo petrol Power 250kW at 5000-6500rpm Torque 500Nm at 1600-4500rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive Rear-wheel drive Dimensions 4379mm (L), 1854mm (W), 1292mm (H), 2460mm (WB) Ground Clearance 119mm claimed Kerb Weight 1495kg Boot Space 290L Spare Repair kit Fuel Tank 52L Thirst 7.7L/100km
It’s been a long time coming, but the fifth generation Supra is finally here to flesh out Toyota’s sports car lineup while adding some much appreciated muscle for those wanting a traditional rear-drive performance machine.
The new A90 is a car that leads on design faithful to the Supra’s traditional long bonnet, and the two-door silhouette instantly screams performance. Beneath the skin, though, there’s lashings of BMW DNA, with the Supra sharing major mechanical components such as the engine, gearbox and basic architecture with the BMW Z4 it was developed alongside.
Toyota Supra video review
What’s the price and what do you get?
The Supra plays in an interesting space, undercutting many European rivals offering similar performance, but sitting well above most mainstream sporties such as the Ford Mustang.
Pricing starts at $84,900 (plus on-road and dealer costs) for the GT model, which comes with an 8.8-inch touchscreen incorporating satellite-navigation, dual-zone ventilation, partial leather trim, powered seats, wireless phone charging, keyless entry, reversing camera, parking sensors front and rear and 18-inch alloy wheels.
It’s officially called the GR Supra GT, the GR denoting Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s relatively fresh motorsports division.
All come with a BMW-built 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo engine matched to an eight-speed automatic.
Safety is taken care of with blind spot monitoring, high speed automatic braking, seven airbags and rear cross traffic alert.
Notable omissions include no sunroof and lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, something being rolled out on other Toyotas, such as the RAV4.
Not that it’s dissuading would-be owners. It’s elbows out (in the virtual world) for people trying to snap them up. Toyota can only get hold of about 300 cars in the first year and already 200 have been allocated, with more set to be sold on Toyota Australia’s website on September 25.
That enthusiast demand is part of the reason it’s the $94,900 GTS that is proving the sales hero, with some 80 percent of early buyers gravitating to its additional equipment which includes 19-inch alloy wheels, 12-speaker JBL sound system, alloy pedals, head-up display, and brake calipers painted red (the rear brakes are also a slightly larger diameter).
GTS variants also have the option of “Nurburgring matte grey” paint for another $2500, along with different trim options inside.
The Supra is available overseas with a four-cylinder turbo engine, but there are no plans to offer that here. Toyota also all but ruled out a convertible or a manual gearbox option.
However, the company says it will make minor changes once a year to keep the enthusiasts keen. That could include themed special additions, styling updates or driving enhancements. Also expect a more powerful GRMN version (sitting above the current GR models) to arrive, which is all part of the imminent expansion of the GR sub-brand.
What’s the interior like?
Whereas the outside has a distinctive Toyota design flavour drawing plenty from the stunning FT1 concept of years ago, the inside is very (very) BMW.
The basic layout, switches and materials are heavily influenced by Munich-based car company. So, too, is the basic layout that makes do with only two seats. Toyota’s designers didn’t have much scribbling to do inside, but then the carry-over parts from BMW are a level above what we’re used to seeing from the Japanese maker.
Though it is an expectedly tight cabin, there are a couple of cupholders near a driver’s elbow rest in the centre console, which at least makes up for the dinky door pockets and minimal hidey holes elsewhere. The boot is quite deep and almost square, making for a useful 290-litre cavity. You can even reach things in the boot from the seats.
So, things are tight and the seats are quite low, reflective of the efforts to keep the centre of gravity low and performance front of mind. That also means getting in requires an extra duck of the head to get below the roof frame, which hangs unusually low.
Headroom is more forthcoming once you’re snug into the seats, the “double bubble” roof providing crucial extra millimetres above each occupant. Keep an eye on the mirrors, though, because vision is restricted courtesy of the slim glasshouse, with even the rear windows tapering in.
But it’s the blind spot created by the rear roof pillar that is a bigger issue, the angle of some intersections making it extremely difficult to see approaching traffic.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
The BMW theme continues when you delve into the details in the cabin.
Digital displays, buttons, finishes and dials are all either identical or very close to those used in various BMWs. The circular iDrive controlled even makes an appearance, albeit without the fancy marketing moniker once it’s entrenched in a Toyota. The head-up display is also pure BMW.
None of which is necessarily a bad thing, because the attention to detail and finishes are a step above what we’ve typically had from Toyota, the gloss carbon fibre surrounding the gear selector a highlight.
There are clear Toyota design elements elsewhere, too. The instrument cluster maintains some of the BMW crispness and orange hues but with some retro-infused modern touches – such as bar displays for the temperature and fuel displays. It makes for more Japanese influence over the European touches prominent elsewhere.
Shame about the steering wheel, which has an oversized central boss accentuated by the relatively small rim surrounding it. It lacks the sporty look of some tillers.
The GTS we spent more time in also had the premium JBL sound system, which steps up the speaker count from 10 to 12. Sound quality is crisp but lacks the bass and punch of the Harman Kardon system used by BMW.
What’s the performance like?
Part of the reason Toyota jumped into bed with BMW to create a new Supra was because the German brand still used inline six-cylinder engines (rather than the more common V6 configuration). That’s something all previous generation Supras have also had, so there’s a nice historical story accompanying the new arrival, even if the flavour is more sophisticated Euro than rorty Japanese. Think the famous 2JZ-GTE motor of the previous Supra.
Outputs are identical to those in the BMW Z4 M40i, which uses the same engine. That translates to 250kW and 500Nm, the latter on tap from as low as 1600rpm. Indeed, the 3.0-litre single turbo engine is a ripper, loaded with luscious flexibility low down in the rev range but zingy and exciting as it spins towards its 7000rpm cutout.
Sure, it may not have the hard-edged character of a sporty Toyota, but it’s hard to argue with the end result that is perfectly suited to the sports car pitch, right down to its synthesised engine sound when you dial up Sport mode.
And it’s brisk without being ballistic. Sprinting from 0-100km/h is claimed to take 4.3 seconds and there’s certainly lashings of enthusiasm when you floor the throttle, and there’s launch control for those who want to build revs at a standstill to extract maximum performance.
An eight-speed automatic is beautifully calibrated for crisp shifts, Sport mode lowering the shift thresholds and sharpening upshifts. It adds more bass to the exhaust and some rumbles and cracks when lifting off the throttle; some of those sounds are artificial as part of the synthesised sound pumped through the sound system.
We also took the Supra hot laps around Phillip Island, a track that favours quick, competent sports cars.
With the speedo touching 230km/h down the main straight it’s just starting to run out of lungs, but the ease with which it swings past 200km/h suggests there’s more than enough on tap to be competitive on the occasional track day.
Fuel use is claimed at 7.7 litres per 100km and it wants premium unleaded, although as we learnt during our road drive it’s more likely to use something into double figures.
What’s it like on the road?
Our first taste of the Supra involved road and track, each of which it tackled with confidence resulting in a guaranteed smile. Very direct steering means you don’t need big inputs to have the long nose pointing assertively, which works beautifully on twisting roads where it’s easy to get a nice flow between the bends without being overly busy. However, we found it best to keep the steering in Normal, which has a more natural feel than the weightier Sport.
Adaptive dampers provide the best ride comfort in Normal mode, which is better suited to Aussie backroads than Sport, naturally. Stiffening up in Sport mode, the ride becomes firmly sprung but with great stability, that was in keeping with the sports car on the track and never felt overly harsh, just firm.
The 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tyres also live up to expectations with good grip, ensuring slick cornering with confidence. Less endearing is the tyre roar at speed, something more pronounced on coarser bitumen surfaces.
But it is absolutely on a track where you appreciate the balance of the Supra. It hunkers down in high-speed bends and is constantly telegraphing its intentions to the driver, any slide decisively contained by the stability control system.
There’s also enough grunt from the engine to encourage some rear-end sliding out of a tighter bend and changeable traction modes to facilitate. At the opposite end of the fun spectrum, brakes slow things reassuringly and don’t give up early after moderate punishment.
Does it have a spare?
There’s no spare tyre, only a repair kit.
What about ownership?
It’s difficult to avoid the BMW comparisons once you scroll down the list of after-sales support.
The Supra gets a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, for example, two years longer than the BMW with the same engine. It’s also two years longer than most of the sports cars it will compete with, which includes everything from a Ford Mustang (also with a five-year warranty) and Chevrolet Camaro all the way up to a BMW M2 or Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG. The Porsche Cayman could even sneak onto the shortlist.
Whereas BMW service intervals vary depending on how you drive the car, the Toyota must be checked every 12 months or 15,000km.
Surprisingly, the Toyota is also cheaper to service, at least for the first five years of ownership. Each service costs $380, for a total of $1900.
What safety features does it have?
There’s a full suite of seven airbags, compromising dual front airbags, side thorax airbags, curtain airbags (to protect the head in a side impact) and a driver’s knee airbag.
Pedestrians are also protected by a bonnet that pops up in an impact, keeping any head impact further away from hard parts under the bonnet.
The Supra hasn’t yet been rated by the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).
Practical Motoring Says
It’s laced with BMW genes that in some ways mask some of the character some may expect from a Japanese sports car. But, history aside, as a raw sports car the Supra nails the brief of being fun to drive and respectably brisk, albeit with a price tag towards the pointy end of what mainstream brands have traditionally got away with.
A sweet engine and competent and engaging dynamics cement it as a sports car with attitude, albeit one with occasional hiccups on the practicality front.