2020 Toyota Supra Performance Review

We put a rally driver behind the wheel of the new Toyota Supra to see what it's like around the track

Performance Editor
PROS
  • Great chassis that performs well at the limit
  • Very consistent and easy to drive for a rear wheel drive car
  • Has the ability to be taken to another level with small upgrades
CONS
  • Missing an extra suspension option for Australian roads
  • The engine has so much more potential, it feels a little safe
  • A more sporty steering wheel would work well

Welcome to our series of track reviews, conducted by our in-house racing driver, Chris Atkinson.

Our track reviews take place against the clock at Queensland Raceway Sprint Circuit, before Chris drives the car on the public road at road speeds to determine whether it can be used as a daily driver and a weekend track car.

While we evolve this series, we’d love to get your feedback on what you like, what you don’t like and what you’d like to see.

Overall Track Performance

The Supra is very capable on the track, it has a well balanced chassis which gives consistent feedback. Although you might be hesitant in a rear wheel drive car, I found it very easy to drive and I was able do consistent lap times, which is a sign of a really good chassis.

With such a good base package, it could easily handle more power and would definitely benefit from increased dampening especially for track work. Overall it was a real surprise package on the track, exceeding my expectations and was really enjoyable to steer.

Overall Road Performance

Easy to drive and effortlessly quick. I felt like it would benefit from a suspension setting between Sport and Normal for Australian road conditions, something with a little more control without being too harsh.

Its almost subdued nature on the road hides its true potential. Having explored the limits on the track, I would be much more comfortable enjoying the car on a nice section of road.

Engine

The engine is drivable and very user friendly. It has a nice wide power band that makes it easy for road use and also makes it sneaky fast on the track.

Once you are able to get to full power, it gains speed even more rapidly than you would expect from the power figures that are given.

Ideally a slightly quicker response from the bottom end would be a bonus and enable you to extract a bit more pace.

Braking

Braking is consistent throughout a lap. I would prefer a slightly firmer pedal which would help for modulation and feel.

I was impressed how little interference there was from the ABS which gave me confidence and control to brake late and still get the car to enter the corner well.

The only negative is that I found the pedal sensitive and reactive at very low speeds in traffic around town, but this wasn’t an issue on the track at all.

Chassis

A really great chassis that is well balanced, consistent and engaging. Front grip on entry and mid corner is excellent allowing you to slightly rotate the car before getting on the throttle.

Corner exit is really good, with a subtle weight transfer which builds rear grip without causing the front to push at all. My guess is the engineering team tuned the car on a track, with slower and medium corners being the focus.

I really found it hard to fault and could really enjoy trying to get the most out of the car. It has a really good fit as a car for someone to try and enjoy some small amounts of track work without being scary, but still feeling like a bit of a challenge.

Transmission and Differentials 

Gear shifts are smooth and quick, but with such a wide power band I feel like seconds and third gear could be spaced a bit further apart for track work. I found myself quickly getting to the limiter exiting corners, but that’s a compliment to the traction and mid-range power of the car.

The differential worked well, with enough freedom on entry to allow some rotation, but not coming together too aggressively on drive so that it would destroy the exit.

Suspension

If I was going to pick on one part of this car, this would be it… But only because the chassis could handle so much more.

For the road I felt like the Normal setting was a little too soft when you picked up the pace, especially on the rebound side.

This caused a bit of an overreaction from bigger bumps, which meant the car took too much time to recover for the next corner.

The Sport setting on the other hand was restricting the use of the suspension travel and not absorbing the bumps, this was causing a reaction a different way.

I actually preferred the Normal setting, as I could trust it more on the road. On the track it was a surprise, as it felt like Sport was almost too soft in roll and dive.

I would have liked more low to medium speed damping to control the body movement on heavy braking and fast corners, but it was perfect for slow speed corners and traction.

Steering

I thought the steering worked well and the weighting and assistance was good. I really felt like I could take the tyres right to the limit and know when I was starting to overstep the mark, which for me is a sign of a good steering package.

Wheels and Tyres

A good package for the car, which worked well on the track and road. As expected, it dropped off a little on the track but not too much, only down one tenth of a second on the second and third lap.

The quality of the chassis and geometry really enabled the tyre to work with the road and not fight against it. Sometimes it’s easy to criticise the tyre when it’s the chassis that is not really helping the situation. That isn’t the case here at all.

Driver Aids (Electronics)

The fastest lap was with the everything on, showing it wasn’t intervening too much. On the exit of tight corners it allowed some slide without too much oversteer. I did one lap at the end with everything turned off and the lap time was almost identical, but required a bit more thought with the right foot.

Cockpit (Ergonomics)

This was very impressive, it really feels like you are part of the car. Seating and pedal position were perfect and you could brace your leg against the tunnel easily during fast cornering. It was nice to be able to adjust the lateral support of the seat as well.

During normal driving you notice the steering wheel is quite large, but to be honest I didn’t feel this caused any issue on the track. Visibility was really good considering how low the seating position is, I had no issue and the track and could place the car really well.

Lap Time

The lap time of 58.95 surprised me almost as much as how enjoyable it was to drive. You could make small mistakes and the drivability along with the well balanced chassis enabled you to recover quickly with barely any time lost.

The Supra did it really easy and even driving with slightly different styles and using different settings, I was able to achieve very similar lap times. I also feel with some small upgrades to the engine and suspension this could do some really impressive lap times, this is because the base package is so well thought-out and developed.

Atko’s 3

  1. Make the most of the front grip, get the car rotated, and get ready to be launched.
  2. Trust the rear but don’t be greedy on the throttle, it can bite.
  3. Don’t expect the absolute maximum, just enjoy the experience.

CarExpert Performance Reviews are brought to you by former World Rally Championship and current Rallycross driver Chris Atkinson.