Surrounded by controversy, the world first saw the highly-anticipated fifth-generation Toyota Supra in January 2019. BMW bones and a German heart left many die-hard fans saddened that this once-iconic model had gone west for its engineering. Despite this, the Supra won over some of its harshest critics thanks to its small size, formidable performance, and sleek styling. However, this sporty two-door has fallen entirely out of the spotlight three years from its unveiling. Sales figures back this sentiment as Toyota sold fewer Supras month over month this year than in 2021.
A big reason could be that the sub-$60,000 sports car segment has grown considerably, including the latest Nissan Z, BMW M240i, Audi RS 3, and Mercedes-AMG CLA 45. With more options available, it became easy for the Supra to fall from the spotlight and into the shadows as it struggled to connect with its target demographic. However, skimming over the new Supra is a mistake. Watching the Supra go up against the newest metal only highlights its true strengths. It may not be the quickest or most powerful, but this sporty two-door delivers an exciting driving experience, surprising performance, and a distinct aesthetic. After a week behind the wheel, it’s clear that this car is not only worthy of praise but your attention as well.
2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Styling/Design
Toyota seriously messed up by unveiling its FT-1 Concept back in 2014. Low-slung, aggressive, and with hips that would have even the best plastic surgeons taking notes, the FT-1 got us all properly excited about the Supra’s future. Seeing the real thing then felt like a bait and switch. Gone were the sleek, stretched-out proportions in exchange for a much smaller, shorter, and narrower body. BMW is largely to blame as the Supra had to make do with the Z4’s structure, which meant morphing and downsizing.
While it may not be exactly its designer’s original vision, that doesn’t stop the Supra from being properly beautiful. You can tell just by looking at it that its creators tried hard to keep the FT-1’s greatest bits. From its pointed nose, sloping roofline, and widened hips, the Supra proves that great things can still come in small packages. There’s even more, to see as you step closer. Its enormous front hood effortlessly blends onto the front arches, removing shut lines and visually widening the front end. A small integrated kick-up spoiler contrasts nicely against the rear arches at the back, leading your eyes upward and away from the downward curves. The Supra needs no additional aero trickery to deploy its appeal. It’s well thought out and instantly recognizable as something special.
The tester I’ve been driving around for the past week is a clear example of this. It sports no exterior options. Even its Renaissance Red 2.0 paint comes standard. While this is for the better, it isn’t despite many choices. The most significant option is the carbon fiber mirror caps for $925. Its classic sports car proportions, widened bodywork, and endless curvy lines are enough to keep your eyes happy.
2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Engine/Performance
There’s more to the Toyota Supra’s performance than what you see on paper. Sure, its turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six delivers a healthy 382 horsepower and 368-pound feet. But that still places it behind competitors like the 400-hp Nissan Z and the 401-hp Audi RS 3. Despite the on-paper deficit, the Supra feels no slower than its competitors in the real world. An eight-speed automatic transmission quickly dispatches all available power to the rear wheels, resulting in a run to 60 mph of 3.9 seconds.
Behind the wheel, you’d swear the Supra pushes out over 400 hp. It feels that quick, both off the line and at speed. Its inline-six is already an overachiever in the AWD M240i, but it has a few hundred pounds less to lug around in the Toyota. Thanks to a sporty exhaust system with enough pops and bangs to rival even the sketchiest backyard tune; you can also hear it roar. Like most inline-sixes, its song is silky smooth, contrasting the Z’s high-pitched V6. Lift off the gas, and the pops roll in. Thankfully, they’re not overdone and fit the Supra’s sporty nature.
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In the canyons, the Supra proves that age has done it well. I recall driving the 2020 model year car, and it left much to be desired. It was less powerful, and its suspension didn’t inspire confidence. This 2022 version is much improved. Not only does it remain stable through the twisty stuff, but it also retains a fair amount of comfort around town. There’s still plenty of body roll here as it’s not entirely flat in the bends. However, this aids the overall driving experience by adding a bit of fun and drama to an otherwise serious-feeling car. BMW’s take on the same platform is much more restrained and composed, so this is the sibling that’s eager to play.
The Supra isn’t a handful to drive. Tight bends at high speeds result in slight bits of understeer from the front end, but it easily transitions into controllable oversteer at the rear. With all the safety systems on, the Supra never steps out of line, inspiring confidence behind the wheel. Speaking of which has decent feedback. Under load, you’ll be able to feel what the front wheels are up to, even if it can get artificially heavy in the sportiest modes. On-center feel isn’t great, but at least the steering lets you know it’s alive from time to time, unlike some of the Supra’s closest competitors.
Stepping on the brakes reveals one of the Supra’s limitations. You won’t find enlarged brakes bringing this coupe to a halt. They seem to be standard BMW brakes. While these perform as intended around town, brake fade isn’t uncommon during a very sporty drive.
2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Interior/Tech
The Toyota Supra’s interior lets you know just how tight it is, even before you step in. If you’re not careful, you may bump your head on its aggressively sloping roof while trying to crouch in. Ask me how I know. Instead, you’ll want to treat it almost like a supercar, requiring a careful maneuver to avoid any impacts. Once inside, you’re met with the Supra’s tiny windshield that doesn’t do much in the way of visibility. The same can be said for the rear window that’ll have you praising the excellent reversing camera. At 5’10, I found there wasn’t much headroom left, so drivers pushing over six feet will likely struggle.
The seat is a different story. Its placement is spot on and offers ample adjustment to score the ideal positioning. While you won’t find aggressive side bolsters, the front chairs do an excellent job of keeping you in place through the corners. An added benefit is that they don’t squeeze you around town, making them perfect for daily driver duties. Ergonomics aside, the leather and build quality are spectacular. This is one of the main benefits of the partnership with BMW. It may be standard for something like a 3 Series but is well above the norm in a Toyota.
Tech-wise, the Supra benefits from BMW’s best bits. It includes a digital instrument cluster and a wide central infotainment screen featuring the latest iDrive system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come standard. However, the native infotainment system is polished and easy to navigate.
2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Pricing
With a base price of $51,640 plus a $1,025 destination fee, the GR Supra 3.0 is priced right in line with its closest competitors. Our Premium trimmed tester brings that base price up to $55,815. Even at this price point, the Supra remains appropriately priced. Thanks to a lack of a long options list, that base price won’t balloon by selecting extras. All of the Supra’s best bits come standard.
2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Closing Thoughts
After a week and a few hundred miles in the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0, it’s clear that it still has plenty of fight left in it. Thanks to its engaging driving dynamics that are easily controllable and exploitable, the Supra delivers fun at all speeds. It may not have a massive power output on paper, but real-world miles reveal it has more than enough grunt. It may also be the best-looking vehicle in its segment. Sure it isn’t FT-1 pretty, but it offers sleek lines and curves its rivals can’t compete with. For those of you shopping in the sub $60,000 range for a sports car, there isn’t a clear winner amongst the crowd, but the Supra makes a strong case for itself as one of the top contenders.