Let’s mention the elephant in the room right up-front. The fifth generation Toyota Supra was developed in collaboration with BMW. Tell any car enthusiast you’re driving a new Supra and they’ll immediately comment about German Toyotas or BMW Supras, in a disparaging tone.
The question is, does that matter? Like the GT86 this car wouldn’t exist at all without a collaboration with someone, and why not BMW? More sports cars in the world have to be a great thing in this age of more and more homogeneous SUVs. BMW’s turbocharged inline-six may not be a 2JZ but it is one of the best engines I’ve experienced. Their tech is bang up-to-date. I could go on, but let’s get to the actual car.
After driving the Hilux SR5 Cruiser for a week I was ready to go to the opposite end of the scale and jump into the GR Supra, especially when I confirmed it was the six-speed manual. Would it be a BMW in all-but badge? Or something with its own unique character?
What We Like and Dislike About The 2023 Toyota GR Supra
|What we like||What we don’t like|
Muted engine/exhaust note
What’s In The 2023 Toyota Supra Range?
If you’re in the market for a new GR Supra, you can’t actually buy one right now, but you can go on the list for the 2024 allocation. There are three choices you can make: 8-speed auto or 6-speed manual, one of six exterior colours, and one of two interior colour themes. The cost will be $96,990 plus the Clean Car fee which is around $2000 more for the manual.
Both models have the same 3.0-litre inline-6 cylinder turbocharged motor, making 286kW and an impressive 500Nm of torque, driving the rear wheels.
2023 Toyota GR Supra Standard Equipment Highlights
- Sports Brake Package Front. Power Assisted Ventilated Disc Brakes. Red Brake Calipers with Silver Supra Logo
- Sports Brake Package Rear, Power Assisted Ventilated Disc Brakes, Red Brake Callipers
- Adaptive Variable Suspension.
- Engine Bay Strut Braces
- Wireless Apple CarPlay
- 12 Speaker JBL Premium Audio
- 8.8″ Colour Touchscreen
- Satellite Navigation System
- Blind Spot Monitor
- Lane Departure Warning
- Front Collision Warning with Brake Function
- Active Cornering Assist
- Attentiveness Assistant
- Adaptive Front-lighting System
- Adaptive High-beam System
- Speed Limit Info
- Brake Assist
- Cruise Control
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution
- Hill-start Assist Control
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Traction Control
- Vehicle Stability Control
- Manual Speed Limiter
- Tyre Pressure Monitor
- 7 airbags
- 1 ISOfix
- Reversing Camera with dynamic guidelines
- 6 Front and Rear Parking Sensors
- Alarm and Immobiliser
- Body Colour Front Bumper, Black Front Pillars, Aluminium Bonnet, Mesh Front Grille
- Aluminium Front Wheel Guards and Side Doors, Body Coloured Door Handles
- Polypropylene Boot Lid, Lower Diffuser, Dual Wire Brushed Stainless Steel Exhaust Tips
- Double-bubble Roof Design
- 19×9” front and 19×10” rear forged aluminium wheels
- 6-lens LED Headlights
- Adaptive High-beam System, Adaptive Front-lighting System, Automatic Headlight Leveling, Cornering Lights
- LED Daytime Driving Lights
- Automatic Folding, Auto Dimming (Driver’s Side), Reverse Linked Tilt, Heated
- Rain Sensing Windscreen Wipers
- Leather and Alcantara Accented seats
- Driver Seat 14-way Power Adjustments Including Slide, Recline, Vertical Height, Front Tilt, Side Bolster Width and Lumbar Support
- Front Passenger 12-way Power Adjustments Including Slide, Recline, Vertical Height, Front Tilt, and Lumbar Support
- Heating, Integrated Headrest, Driver’s Seat Position Memory
- Head-up Display
- Smart Entry and Push Button Start Systems
- Dual Zone Automatic Air Conditioning
- Auto Dimming Interior Mirror
- Sub Zero White
- Nocturnal Black
- Renaissance Red
- Nitro Yellow
- Avalanche White
- Dawn Blue
- Volcanic Ash Grey
- Ignition Red
Including the optional equipment our review car’s retail price is $96,990
For a full list of specs and options available for the Toyota GR Supra jump on over to the Toyota New Zealand website
How Does The 2023 Toyota GR Supra Compare To Its Competition?
All prices below exclude the refund or additional cost of the New Zealand Clean Car Programme.
|BMW Z4||3.0 inline 6 Turbocharged||250/500||4.5||7.5||281||$133,800|
|Toyota GR Supra||3.0 inline 6 Turbocharged||285/500||4.4 manual 4.1 auto||9.9||290||$96,990|
|Nissan Z Proto||3.0 inline 6 Twin Turbo||298/475||4.3||8.0||241||$92,990|
First Impressions Of The 2023 Toyota GR Supra
In the semi-matte Avalanche White, the GR Supra stood out from the row of SUVs in the Tasman Toyota car park, like a thoroughbred stallion in a field of donkeys.
With its low, predatory stance, long curved bonnet, twin roof bulges and generous curvy hips, it really does look the part. I love how this car looks, it has that quality that makes you look back every time you walk away from it, usually more than once.
It’s curvy and elegant, but purposeful and muscular. Design cues call back to the mk4 Supra but this is very much its own thing. Black A-pillars give a wrap-around look to the glasshouse. like the visor on a racing helmet.
Vents in the bumpers, bonnet and hips give the impression it has race-bred cooling until you realise they’re all fake. But they do look great.
Black multi-spoke wheels at 19×9” (19×10” at the rear) fill the arches well and show off the bright red brake calipers, while long doors give the car a sleekness, leading the eye to the muscular rear haunches. At the rear you’ll find slim tail lights, bordering the Supra logo and a nicely integrated ducktail spoiler.
Down below there’s a large diffuser with fat twin JDM-style exhaust tips and a low centre light that looks just like a racecar brake light.
The overall package works really well. And it gets attention too. There’s not many Supras on New Plymouth’s roads so when you spot one it makes quite a statement. One guy almost walked into a lamp post as he walked past, unable to draw his eyes away, slack-jawed!
What’s The Interior Like In The 2023 Toyota GR Supra?
Does the interior live up to the outside? Mostly. Open the frameless door and you’re met with a cabin lined in black with red-leather highlights.
The doors look great with their black and red trim, though the door bins won’t fit much more than a wallet or your bag of road trip lollies. They shut with a satisfying weight and thunk.
The seat centres are Alcantara, giving excellent butt stability when cornering, and more cold-morning warmth than leather would. They’re electrically adjusted on both sides and three-stage heated if that’s your thing. The driver gets lumbar adjustment but the passenger doesn’t.
Side bolstering is just right, generous enough to be comfortable if you have a bit of a dad bod, but supportive enough to hold you on tight bends.
There’s loads of headroom, my 6ft 5” colleague still had room to be comfortable.
This is the point where I have to mention ze Germans again. Because the dash, centre screen, air vents, buttons, driver display, pedals and steering wheel, are so very much BMW. The dash itself is a simple design that works really well. It looks good with contrasting stitching and brushed aluminium details. The buttons and knobs are iDrive standard, but they are physical buttons, which we always appreciate. The central 8.8” touch screen is up-high and they have gone for the stuck-on look. It can also be controlled with the knob on the centre console. Either way works really well.
Toyota have not really made any attempt to change the look and feel from the BMW iDrive interface, and I wish they had, it could have been made a lot more Toyota than it is.
The main driver display is also digital, with a large central rev counter, digital speedo to the left, and a gear indicator in the centre. There are fuel and temperature gauges in the bottom corners. There’s a panel to the right which looks like it should be configurable to display more information, but my fiddling around didn’t reveal anything. I didn’t read the manual, I was too keen to just drive the car.
Both displays are clear and easy to read in all conditions. There’s also a heads-up display which, being BMW’s system, is excellent, in full colour and showing all of the information you need.
At the front of the centre console there is a wireless phone charger, and rather than the usual flat plate there’s a little clip that you slot your phone into. This is great because it doesn’t fly around when you’re having fun in the twisties. Because it’s kind of out-of-sight, the car will warn you it’s still there when you exit, with a warning chime and a message on the centre screen. There are two cup holders in the rear of the centre console. They’re okay but not very practical because they’re right where your elbow needs to be when shifting gears, so a coffee in there is okay but irritating, a bottle or can would just be in the way. They’re deep too so a medium coffee goes in right up to the lid, and is hard to get back out.
Despite being quite a long car, there are no back seats, just a flat area with some big bass speakers behind the passenger seats, and they have sturdy grilles over them in case you throw your luggage on top.
The boot is a good size for a sports car at 290 litres, and is open to the cabin so longer items can be slid forward if needed. One thing that’s a bit odd is there’s no button on the boot to open it, you have to use the remote or a button on the dash to the right of the steering wheel.
The 12-Speaker JBL audio system supports Wireless Apple Carplay (no mention in the specs of Android Auto). I half expected the stereo in a sports car to be somewhere that they may have skimped on, but no, this sounds excellent. Great clarity and separation, meaty bass, and loud enough to irritate the neighbours. Love it!
What’s The 2023 Toyota GR Supra Like To Drive?
If you’re in a tight parking space, those long doors can make getting into the GR Supra a bit of a struggle. But with enough room to open them a bit wider, access is easy. It is low, but you soon develop the technique for getting in and out with style and panache. Or at least I like to think that’s what I did.
Close the door and you feel cocooned. Despite the red highlights, it’s dark in the Supra, with black leather, black carpets and black head liner. The high centre console and low seating position add to this feeling. But it’s a good thing. The car feels like it’s wrapped around you. Push in the clutch (Yes!! Three pedals is the best number!) and press that glowing start button. The 3-litre straight six blips into life, making the sort of nice little grumble that gives petrolheads like me a tingle in their nether regions. It is very muted though. Tickling the throttle makes the car rock slightly and produces muted crackles on the overrun for anyone outside to hear.
Look out over the massive, long bonnet, release the electric handbrake and ease out the surprisingly light clutch, and you’re off. In traffic the GR Supra is easy to live with, the clutch is easy, the suspension is comfortable, and it’s kind of ordinary at the low end of the rev range. With plenty of torque throughout the rev range, it’s happy pootling along in 6th gear at 50km/h, barely idling. There are automatic lights and wipers, it’s all very civilised. There’s engine stop/start but you have to put the car into neutral and let the clutch out to activate it. There is an automatic hill-hold feature to help you do this without rolling back and it works seamlessly. The only piece of tech that was a little disappointing was there’s no radar cruise control. It’s standard only
The steering is quick and light, and as you get out of the commuter traffic onto some more interesting roads, you start to notice how eagerly it rotates. This is partly due to Active Cornering Assist which helps to reduce understeer when cornering. “If understeer is detected, such as when turning at high speed with the accelerator pedal depressed, the system will brake the inner wheel (or wheels), causing the vehicle to rotate slightly around its centre axis and help it to follow its intended path around the corner.”
You also notice the tyre roar. The 19” wheels are shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sports with 275/35s at the rear and 255/35s at the front. On the rough chip seal of country roads there’s no getting away from that noise.
But here comes a straight, time to get past that truck that’s dawdling along in front. Slip the tight, short-throw shift into second, the car automatically blips the throttle on the downshift, perfectly rev-matching, plant the right foot on the throttle, and everything happens. The engine note, though still muted, raises in tone, sounding delicious. The rear tyres squirm, the rear end of the car squats and wiggles, then it grips, hard, and launches forward, You grin, watch the virtual needle rush towards the redline, shift up into third. Oops that shift was a little over the speed limit and it’s still pulling hard. Danger to licence! The truck’s already in your rear-view. Onto the brakes, they pull the car down to normal speeds rapidly, giving confidence with their feel. Sorry officer! Won’t happen again! Yeah, right.
This car is cheeky, it wants to be driven hard, it rotates so beautifully on cornering, grips so well, and gives you a real confidence in its abilities. I haven’t driven the BMW Z4 but I’m told the Toyota has its own character, it’s more of a hooligan, cheekier and less controlled. I can believe that.
Once warmed up, the engine noise seemed a bit more pronounced. Pressing the Sport button makes it a little louder but I’d still like just a bit more to add to the grin factor. Sport mode also sharpens up the throttle further and firms up the adaptive dampers. The GR Supra is so good in normal mode, I tended to forget that Sport mode existed and rarely used it.
The GR Supra has LED matrix headlights with adaptive high beam. To quote Toyota: “The system uses a camera to detect the headlights and taillights of vehicles ahead, or bright environments such as city streets, and automatically controls the distribution of light from the headlights as necessary to avoid dazzling other drivers.”. This works beautifully and is fascinating to watch until you get used to it, as it lights the road but avoids oncoming cars.
Is there anything I didn’t like about the GR Supra? Nothing significant, no. The windows both made a squeaking noise when going up. I struggled to find reverse the first time until I realised you just have to push a little harder to the left, to find it. And if you get a bit silly when setting off from a standstill, there’s wheel hop before the traction control reins in your right foot a bit. But these are minor things and all are easily avoided.
The GR Supra joins the short list of cars that I really didn’t want to give back. Don’t let that BMW DNA put you off, this is a great sports car.
Toyota quotes 9.9 litres per 100km, and I managed 11.2 which I think is respectable, especially given the huge amount of fun it gave me.
2023 Toyota GR Supra – Specifications
|Vehicle Type||Sports car|
|Price as Tested||$96,990|
|Engine||3.0-litre direct injection in-line 6-cylinder twin-turbocharged petrol|
|285 at 5800-6500rpm|
500Nm at 1800-5000rpm
|Spare Wheel||Repair kit|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||1,503|
|Length x Width x Height|
|4379 x 2026 x 1299|
|Boot Space / Cargo Capacity,|
(seats up/seats down)
|Fuel tank capacity,|
|Advertised Spec – Combined – 9.9|
Real-World Test – Combined – 11.2
Low Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
|Safety information||ANCAP Rating – Not rated|
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars – PJN720
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