2023 Toyota GR Supra Pros:
– Toyota decided to grace us with an exceptional grand tourer and we need to be thankful.
– The GR Supra’s styling is spectacular.
– The car exclusive and with near certainty, a future classic.
2023 Toyota GR Supra Cons:
– The chassis’ tune is mostly off where dampening is generally too soft.
– At $70,000, a 3.0 GR Supra nudges itself against some serious competitors.
I often fall into the same trap when I drive most grand touring cars: I mistake them for sports cars. The legend that is the Toyota Supra, based in large part on the Fast & Furious franchise, has most enthusiasts thinking that it’s a high-performance track-monster, but it’s not. What it is, is a fast car that loves to go fast comfortably.
This latest A90 Supra arrived for the 2020 model year and instantly did little to excite sports car buyers. One reason was that Chevrolet launched the C8 Corvette shortly thereafter and it cast a massive shadow on Toyota’s grand tourer. In fact, some of you might remember that some US Toyota dealerships advertised the fact that the GR Supra was immediately available, unlike the Corvette which had long wait times. In my opinion, that was a mistake…
Other reasons explaining why the GR Supra isn’t more common are pricing, the type of vehicle it is, up until 2023, the absence of a manual transmission. As this means of transferring power to the drive wheels slowly goes extinct, the demand from true driving enthusiasts grows. Now, you might be thinking that the C8 is on fire without a manual ‘box but between you and I, they’re not the same type of buyers…
With the help of BMW once more, the GR Supra is now offered with an MT and it serves to elevate the car’s street-cred but it won’t change much. That’s not to say that there’s something off with the clutch’s activation or the shifter’s throws, but it doesn’t help overshadow the fact that the Toyota’s chassis is off.
Too soft but seriously fast
As a Grand Tourer, the Toyota GR Supra isn’t designed to dart out of corners or dive into them for that matter – it’s conceived with long stretches in mind. Again, because it’s not a sports car, the adjustable dampers are too soft in their normal setting, something I don’t think I’ve ever said period. Positioned in “sport”, they then become too unforgiving at the very top of their travel to then once more go soft beyond that point. It feels off, poorly tuned, and the dampers seem to struggle slightly with the Supra’s 4,000 lbs. Is this behaviour acceptable for a GT? I think so, however I think it’s wrong. One way or another, normal is best.
What isn’t wrong is the power. The BMW B58 straight-6-cylinder twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-litre closed-deck block engine puts out 382 hp between 5,800-6,500 rpm and 368 lb-ft of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. This power is omnipresent and effortless. Under a serious throttle mash, the GR Supra propels itself to 100 km/h from a standstill in about 4.5 seconds, or roughly a 1/3 of a second more than with the 8-speed slushbox. The impressive part is not the launch but the sustained lazy push/pull provided by the power. Lazy because the I6, though belching a wonderful throaty sound, feels as though it could easily pound out another 100 hp and equal torque and still not be worried about engine speeds.
The 2023 Toyota GR Supra may not win points for elegance or beauty, but it certainly stands out as unique and instantly identifiable. One of its most distinctive features is its almost boat-tail-like rear end, complete with an integrated, upward-tilting spoiler. Crafting these pronounced rear curves actually necessitated specialized enhancements to Toyota’s metal-stamping technology and I’m once more thankful for the effort. The car’s body also features multiple “non-functional” vents but according to Toyota, these are intended for future modifications and customization by tuners. With that in mind, there’s not much else to criticize.
The tested A91-MT Edition, offered only for the 2023 model year, is accentuated by a red “Supra” emblem and calipers marked with red GR Supra lettering. Two shades were offered, Matte White and Sparkling Copper Gray, and the former was without a doubt the most suitable. Complemented by distinct 19-inch Frozen Gunmetal Gray forged wheels, the already special GR Supra looked even more special.
This same package, limited to just 50 units in Canada, also threw in exclusive amenities such as seats trimmed in Cognac leather, a shift knob wrapped in GR-branded Alcantara, and a 12-speaker JBL sound. For the most part, fit and finish are premium however the steering wheel’s circular airbag cap is disproportionately large and dates the cabin.
GR Supra company
It’s difficult to believe that in 2023-2024, between $70,000 and $80,000 is the going rate for a decent semi-premium high-performance car. In this price range, many options present themselves starting with the Porsche 718 Cayman. Though not as powerful, fast, or well-equipped, even these facts are not arguments against it. Other considerations can include everything between a Honda Civic Type R/Acura Integra Type S, a Volkswagen Golf R, to a Chevrolet Corvette and a Ford Mustang Dark Horse.
The Supra’s most direct foe is the Nissan Z, soon to be offered in Nismo guise for roughly the tested A91-package-equipped car at almost $73,000. This one should be better track-prepared and provide more speed from more power.
Though I like the GR Supra for its aura and legend status, and this is the bottom line, I’m far from my late 50s and so still need to be far more connected to the driving experience. I want a sports car like the Cayman. Power is not everything.