- The long-awaited, fifth-generation Toyota GR Supra went on sale in 2019 for the 2020 model year.
- The Supra comes from an iconic line of cars that dates back to the late 1970s. The new model was controversial because it shares many components — including its engine and transmission — with BMW and is made in Austria.
- I tested a $56,220 Supra that was nicely equipped and had a juicy 335-horsepower inline-six-cylinder engine under the hood.
- I had also sampled the Supra’s mechanical sibling, the BMW Z4, earlier this year.
- I’ve never been a Supra fanatic, but the new car is a compelling combination of value and performance.
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The Toyota Supra is just one of those cars. And I’m not simply talking about the now-iconic MK IV Supra, the fourth-generation two-door that, in flamboyant orange, was piloted by Paul Walker in the first “Fast and Furious” movie. No, I’m going all the way back to my own youth, when the MK I Supra, rolled out in 1979 as a snazzier Celica, hit the road.
Over the decades, Supra became a moniker associated with affordable performance and Japanese reliability. But then, in the late 1990s, Toyota dropped the Supra for the US market, discontinuing the nameplate entirely in 2002.
Seventeen years later, an all-new (and long-rumored) Supra reboot hit the floor of the Detroit auto show. There had been teasing concepts for 10 years, and when the revamped Supra was unveiled, the reaction was … well, rather tepid. We waited all this time for that? Making matters worse, the new Supra would be a cousin to a mechanically similar BMW Z4, with both cars built by contract manufacturer Magna in Austria.
The letdown vanished, however, once folks started driving the Supra. Early reviews were gushing. OK, sure, the innards of the car were suspiciously Bavarian-looking. But all was forgiven once you strapped in and started driving.
I personally had never been a major-league Supra fan, but my curiosity was piqued. And I had driven the new Z4 in early 2019 and come away impressed. That car was a drop-top roadster with a four-cylinder engine, and despite the addition of some BMW M-Sport performance goodies, it didn’t carry as much oomph under the hood as the six-cylinder Supra (both engines are BMW-made).
So I was ready to see if the Supra could do something interesting with the extra power and remain what it had always been: a bang-for-the-buck European sports-car rival.
Read on to see how it went:
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