Behind the Wheel

2020 Toyota GR Supra Review: Good, but not unique enough to be Supra special

The 2020 Toyota GR Supra is a sleek beast from the side.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

When the 2020 Toyota GR Supra debuted, there were high, high hopes. With near-breathless anticipation automotive journalists lined up to get behind the wheel at the launch in Virginia last year. One by one drivers took to the track, weaving the car over hill and dale.

On the track, the model was a delight. Sure, it wasn't supercar level fantastic, but it fit the bill as a speedy sports coupe. Off the track, however, was another story. It was on Virginia's' rural roads where the model showed its worst characteristics. Its swooping hood and invasive A-pillars severely limit its outward visibility. Sure it had a good growl from the back side and engaging enough handling, but that's not all the things sports car dreams are made of, least of all Supra dreams.

2020 Toyota GR Supra The car rides on standard 19-inch wheels.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Were expectations too high? Did the Supra do what it needed to? It was a conflict not just answered by one day behind the wheel. Finally, about a year after that first ride, the Supra was available for a longer term test.

It was during this test that the model's pain points proved even more problematic.

Getting in and out of the Supra is a chore. That's not totally unexpected, but it is a bit weird how uncomfortable the operation is given that the Lexus LC isn't nearly as problematic nor is an Acura NSX. The roof is low, even for a sports coupe, and its seating position is high. It's easy to see how drivers over six feet tall would be leave the dealer lot disappointed.

2020 Toyota GR Supra The back of the car features a unique design that's instantly recognizable as being part of the Supra.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The car's engine is powerful, but the throttle is easy to control. Its twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 delivers 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque and it does okay on fuel - 26 mpg combined according to the EPA.

The interior of the model is nothing special. It's not particularly tech-heavy nor is it styled with nods to the Supras of the past. It's shifter is depressingly wand-like and its console looks like a mixture of bits and bobs from the BMW and Toyota parts bins. Supra was designed alongside the BMW Z4.

The car gets stares, honks, and waves as you drive it. The general public is excited to see a new Supra on the road. Immediately co-workers, friends, and relatives want to take a peek. "How does it drive?" they ask. The same answer inevitably kept coming out, "I mean, it's fine. It's a sports car."

Then they'd ask how much the tires cost. For the record, the Michelin Pilot Super Sports will set you back upwards of $250 each.

2020 Toyota GR Supra The interior of the car varies from the BMW Z4, its development twin, but it's rather status quo for both automakers.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Mile after mile, was hard to muster much more enthusiasm. The Supra is just fine. It all works as advertised (strong brakes, lithe steering, easy drivability) but it's not the one I'd spend my $55,000 on. The Supra isn't better than a Ford Mustang. It's different. The same rule applies to the other sports coupes - Dodge Challenger, Infiniti Q60, Lexus RC, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ, and a whole host of luxury models.

It doesn't feel unique enough or different enough from the crowd to be special and that's sad.

But, what the Supra does have, is the ability to be tuned, modded, and amped up to a "Fast and Furious"-like degree. Toyota engineers actually made provisions in the car's design for that to make it easier for upfitters. But, the point remains. Right from the dealer, it doesn't feel Supra special.

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The Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition pays homage to vintage aircraft.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

In the aftermath of World War I, company founder Ettore Bugatti showcased the first three vehicles made by the company that bore his name. They were race cars and Bugatti found itself at the pinnacle of the sport very quickly.

By 1930, the company would begin its relationship with the aerospace industry, first with the Bugatti 100P, which never actually flew due to World War II, but served as the inspiration for a number of patents that are filed by the company. The plane went into storage as the Second World War kicked off and Mr. Bugatti would never again work on it during his lifetime.

Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Bugatti is honoring its racing and aviation past with a new series of Chiron Sport models dubbed "Les Légendes du Ciel". The drivers who piloted the Bugattis to success in the early 1900s were often time multitalented with resumes declaring them flying aces, daredevils, and technically skilled pilots.

"Bugatti has had close associations with aviation since the company was established more than 110 years ago. Many successful Bugatti racing drivers, such as Albert Divo, Robert Benoist and Bartolomeo 'Meo' Costantini, flew for the French Air Force, the French aviator legend Roland Garros privately drove a Bugatti Type 18 to be as fast on the road as in the air," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. "It is therefore almost an obligation for us today to pay tribute to the legends of that time and dedicate a special edition to them."

Each of the new models features a special, matte gray "Gris Serpent" paint job, which is inspired by the exterior color of aircrafts from the 1920s. The color extends front to rear with high-contrast, which gloss stripe running up the center. The front wings are adorned with the "Les Légendes du Ciel" logo. The "Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge" tricolor decorates the front area of the side sills made of exposed black carbon fiber.

At the front is Bugatti's traditional horseshoe radiator grille, finished in gloss black. The grille mesh is made of laser-cut and deep-drawn aluminum, and constructed in a dynamic pattern that that is repeated on the car's leather seats. Entry lights project the edition logo on the ground at entry while "Les Légendes du Ciel" logo on the middle console inlays.

Bugatti has covered the engine with black exposed carbon fiber with contrasting white lettering. The material continues at the back where black exposed carbon fibre and a black-coated exhaust trim cover made of 3D printed, high-temperature-resistant Inconel dominate.

The car's interior is almost entirely upholstered in leather. The leather's light brown color was chosen to be reminiscent of the natural leather in early aircrafts. On the door panels there is a hand-sketched racing scene between the Nieuport 17 aircraft and a Bugatti Type 13.

The new Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition is limited to 20 vehicles. Every model is independently numbered and costs $3.5 million.

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Three Bugatti Divos have been delivered to U.S. customers.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti Beverly Hills

Three Bugatti customers on the West Coast have started 2021 off on a better note than the rest of us. Bugatti of Beverly Hills was recently able to deliver three of the four Bugatti Divo supercars that have been commissioned through the dealership to their new owners.

Each of the models has been customized to deliver the high-performance, exclusive drive and ride experience required by its commissioner. Ahead of their delivery, the three Divos took to the track together completing laps at The Thermal Club in Palm Desert, California.

The Divo itself is a unique Bugatti even before customization. It rides on new architecture that features more air inlets than other Bugatti models and a wide front spoiler that works to provide optimal air supply and aid with downforce. The car looks lower and longer than other Bugattis due to its slimmer side line. At the front of the grille is the traditional, 159-gram Bugatti emblem.

U.S.-bound Bugatti Divos

Photo country of Bugatti Beverly Hills

Each model is powered by a 8.0-liter W16 engine that achieves 1500 horsepower. That engine can propel the car up to its 236 mph top speed.

Bugatti's Atelier in Molsheim is charged with the creation of each Divo. The first deliveries of the hyper sports cars took place in August 2020. By the end of the first months of 2021, all Divos will have been delivered to their new homes.

"To see these spectacular automobile works of art go from a piece of paper to sitting here in front of me is a phenomenal feeling," says Tim O'Hara, General Manager Bugatti Beverly Hills. "It was a very involved and lengthy process that demanded our best skills and expertise. To deliver 4 of only 40 to be built in the world and see the project through fruition is deeply gratifying."

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