I’ve already written previously on how the new Toyota GR Supra is an important entrant to the sports car segment due to how rarely we see brand new, relatively affordable sports cars in an overall market heavily biased towards sport utility vehicles. It’s an achievement worth celebrating, even if Toyota had to partner up with BMW to turn the dream into fruition.
By all accounts the new Supra is a brilliant car to drive, and us car enthusiasts should buy one in support of their efforts. Only by showing up with our wallets at the dealerships will manufacturers continue to put in development money on such delightful cars, a segment so small it might as well be a niche (unless you’re Porsche).
But there’s a problem: I don’t think this iteration of the GR Supra is the one to buy.
As is the wont of Japan-made sports cars, each subsequent model year will have increment improvements, leading up to significant mid-model refreshes after a few years. Just look at the R35 generation Nissan GT-R: the 2012 model year got such an update it rendered the 2008 to 2011 cars to second-class citizenry. I’ve no doubts the GR Supra will follow the same production trajectory, therefore if I were buying one, I’d wait for the forthcoming refresh or special edition models.
There’s already points of improvement easily apparent in the new Supra. First there’s the power level: The same B58 inline-six has a higher level of tune in the BMW Z4 sister car, so it’d be no effort at all for Toyota to bump horsepower to that level, if not further. Second is the gearbox: the GR Supra simply begs for a manual transmission, and Toyota have heard all the clamoring for it. The BMW parts-bin do have a manual gearbox available – the unit currently providing service in the M2 and M3 – and I’d put money that a do-it-yourself stick version of the Supra will happen.
Those two key components, coupled with various upgrades to the suspension and body panels, and avoiding first model-year gremlins, makes it worth the patience to wait for the refresh.
Of course, if you’re so infused with cash you can buy the 2020 GR Supra now and trade that in when invariably a hotter version comes out in a few years. Good for you indeed if you are able to do that.