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Test drive: LLM motoring editor Lisa Curtiss reviews the Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Pro

By Lisa Curtiss  |  May 16, 2020

Hailed as a true driving enthusiast’s dream, Toyota’s stunning Supra has a long standing loyal following of global fans. The latest incarnation, the GR Supra Pro by Toyota Gazoo Racing, has been conceived as a sports car in its purest form, showcasing an exhilarating blend of power, cart-like agility, precise handling and head-turning good looks.

This fifth generation of the highly respected Supra is a sight to behold viewed in the metal. Low sweeping lines marry with muscular curves to more than hint to its solid performance prowess. You get the feeling gazing at this distinctive and rather beautiful vehicle that its Chief Designer Nobuo Nakamura conceptualised a car of their aesthetic dreams.

The design is functional as well as stylish though – and Nakumara set out to achieve a design which would create the best drag and lift characteristics and an ideal front/rear weight balance. This includes the distinctive double-bubble roof -it’s not simply a heritage- inspired or ‘arty’ feature, but plays an important part in reducing drag by reducing the car’s frontal area, without sacrificing headroom in the cabin.

Slip inside the cockpit and the visual delights continue. The design neatly combines sports car elements with ultra-modern functionality and is designed to help the driver focus entirely on the business of driving. You can clearly see it is directly influenced by the layout of single-seater race cars.

The low, slim horizontal dashboard maximises the forward view through the windscreen, helping the driver place the car with precision in high-speed driving, while the principal controls are tightly grouped for quick and easy operation. The instrument panel, centre console and door trim are combined in a seamless design that gives the cockpit a strong, unified feel.

The line of the cockpit flows down into soft, supportive knee pads in the door trim and on the side of the centre console, their shape defined with the benefit of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s circuit racing experience.

The head-up display, meters and paddle shifts all sit directly in front of the driver, with additional switches located on the three-spoke steering wheel. The wheel itself is contoured for excellent grip and is wrapped in leather. The 8.8-inch high-definition driver’s instrument display is clearly visible through the steering wheel, with the 3D-effect tachometer and shift indicator positioned in the centre; a digital speed read-out to the left; and infotainment and navigation information to the right.

An asymmetric centre console marks a clear division between the enveloping driver’s cockpit and the more open passenger side of the cabin. Knee pads are provided for the passenger, too. The air conditioning control panel sits proud of the console with memory-touch switches for easy operation; an 8.8-inch central multimedia display is mounted above the console, operated using a touchscreen or a rotary controller.

The new Toyota GR Supra’s seats have a racing-influenced design that ensures comfort at all times and excellent support, in particular if the car is being used on-track. Body-holding side bolsters are featured on the cushion and high back, and there is an integrated head restraint. We found these super comfortable and supporting even during long motorway journeys.

The boot space is surprisingly large and roomy enough for two people’s luggage for a weekend away and can be extended with a removable panel, creating space to accommodate a golf bag or all the personal kit needed for a track day.

Gorgeous looks aside, for most of those who will buy it, it’s really all about the guarantee of a spine-tingling drive. The combination of a short wheelbase, wide track, low centre of gravity, rigid body and low weight coupled with a straight-six in-line turbocharged 3.0-litre engine with slick 8-speed box delivers 335bhp and a hefty 500Nm of torque and an impressive 0-62mph sprint of just 4.3secs. Aiding the ride and performance, the Supra’s chassis is designed for optimum balance and performance and the sportscar has active differential, adaptive variable suspension and a sports braking system.

The car is all about putting the driver in control and you can select normal and sports mode which will alter the vehicle’s dynamic set up. A Launch Control function enables powerful acceleration from standstill with maximum traction. Engine sound and response, shift pattern, damping, steering and active differential performance are adjusted when the driver selects Sport mode. The Vehicle Stability Control has a special, selectable “track” setting that reduces the level of system intervention, giving the driver greater control of the vehicle’s dynamic performance.

The Supra GR is tech rich too in terms of the latest safety aids. The Supra Safety+ package, provides a comprehensive range of active safety features including a Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with steering assist; Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam; Adaptive Front-light System and Road Sign Assist. In addition, the car is also equipped with a Blind Spot Monitor with Lane Change Departure Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Rear-end Collision Alert, and Intelligent parking sensors with automatic braking. All Toyota GR Supra versions are fitted with an alarm, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and an eCall function that will send an automatic location alert to the emergency services in the event of a serious collision.

Out on the road this is a car to play in, appreciating its kart like ride and handling and powerful acceleration and large amounts of torque that’s available at all speeds. Toyota Gazoo Racing was instrumental in honing the car’s performance, working extensively on the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife and surrounding roads in Germany to achieve the most agile, stable and rewarding handling possible, along with further extensive testing was carried out on roads around the world. On test it was tempting to take the Supra out for a thrilling drive at the slightest excuse, always returning with a great big smile on my face. You usually have to pay out a lot more than its £54,000 OTR price to experience this heightened kind of driving pleasure.

Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada appreciated the Supra has a huge global following and he went to great lengths to ensure this latest edition more than delight and met the high expectations of even the most hardcore fans. He insisted on visiting enthusiasts’ clubs around the world to talk to owners of previous models – and what he created was based on their requests and what they valued most – and standing his ground to, in his words ‘deliver a pure sports car offering the ultimate driving pleasure.’