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  1. Analysis
December 9, 2021

Interior design and technology – Toyota GR Supra

Designed in Japan, built in Austria and loaded with BMW parts, the Toyota GR Supra has kerb appeal in spades. But how does this straight-six powertrain feel from behind the wheel?

By Matthew Beecham

Inside story

Once seated in the low-slung driving position, it feels undeniably special and doesn’t take long to get comfy. The GR initials stand for Gazoo Racing, the umbrella organisation for the carmaker’s global motorsports programme.

The sports seats are upholstered in black Alcantara and are power-adjustable (including lumbar support), with integrated heating and memory functions. The body-hugging side seat bolsters are featured on the cushion and high back, and there is an integrated head restraint.

The cockpit combines sports car elements with plenty of functionality. The slim dashboard is set low providing good forward visibility over a long, curvaceous bonnet. All the main controls are tightly grouped for easy operation. Instrument panel, centre console and door trim merge to create a seamless design.

The head-up display (3.0 Pro model), meters and paddle shifts all sit directly in front of the driver, with additional switches located on the leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel.

Visible through the steering wheel is the reconfigurable instrument cluster 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.

A 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 both occupants. The air-con control panel incorporates memory-touch switches for easy operation; an 8.8-inch central touchscreen display is mounted centre of the dash and can also be operated using a rotary controller.

Two grades are available – Supra 3.0 and Supra 3.0 Pro. Creature comfort and convenience features inside the  Supra 3.0 include dual-zone automatic air conditioning, smart entry and push-button start, rearview camera and auto-dimming interior and exterior rearview mirrors.

Infotainment and connectivity

The infotainment specifications feature a 10-speaker audio system, a navigation system with Supra Connect, Bluetooth and a single USB port.   The multimedia system provides smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay, allowing dedicated iPhone applications to be accessed using the display. It cannot mirror Android phones, however. Several connected services can also be accessed, including real-time traffic information, map updates and a concierge service.

The phone charging tray is located in the centre console. The charging status is shown on the centre display and if the owner forgets to remove their phone from the tray when leaving the car, a warning message is shown.

Further back, the 290-litre boot space is large enough to fit a weekend’s luggage and can be extended with a removable panel. There is no physical barrier between the cabin area and the boot. That means the interior feels like an echo chamber on the road. Storage-wise, the location of the dual cupholders embedded in the centre console is a little cumbersome to use, the glovebox is reasonable and the door bins are thin and tiny.

Advanced driver assistance systems

In the ADAS department, the Supra Safety+ package includes a Pre-Collision System with a pedestrian detection function and the ability to recognise cyclists during daytime driving; lane departure alert with steering assist; adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam; adaptive front-light system, which adjusts the headlight illumination in line with the car’s steering angle; 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 to help prevent collisions with objects or vehicles approaching from either side when reversing out of a parking space or driveway.

All versions are fitted with an eCall function that will send an automatic location alert to the emergency services in the event of a serious collision.

On the road

The coupe’s sharp aerodynamic profile gives it an edgy, extroverted road stance that attracts attention on the high street.  Out of town, the 3.0-litre 6-cylinder engine sets pulses racing, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in a heartbeat. Coupled with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, it has smooth and powerful acceleration, with large amounts of torque available across the full spectrum of engine speeds.

The first 3.0-litre models were delivered to the UK in September 2019. In January 2021 the UK range was extended to include a 2.0-litre version, equipped with an in-line four-cylinder turbo power plant. The 2.0-litre engine widens GR Supra’s market appeal and, being lighter and more compact than the 3.0-litre unit, improves the car’s inertia characteristics and chassis balance for even sharper handling.  The GR Supra 2.0-litre weighs 100kg less than its 3.0-litre equivalent. The engine’s shorter length means its mass is located closer to the centre of the car, supporting an ideal front/rear balance and better inertia characteristics.

On balance, not only does the Supra look striking with its slick profile but sounds fabulous too. Given the genesis to this model’s design, it is hardly surprising that the interior feels more BMW than Toyota. Although our press review came with a plush black interior, the dark trim makes it harder to truly appreciate the finer details. Yet a black interior is the only choice. The narrow side windows can make it feel a little gloomy on a dark December day. Despite the odd niggle, it’s an interior design triumph with a sprinkling of BMW magic thrown into the mix thanks to Toyota’s partnership with the German carmaker. Throughout the cabin, the quality and finish of the upholstery, expensive-feeling trim materials and detailing continue to reflect the attention to detail that Toyota’s engineers have given this model. All models are manufactured in Graz, Austria. Rival coupe models include the Porsche 718 Cayman, BMW 2 Series and Alpine A110.

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