By Derek Price
Whatever you’re doing right now, stop it. Then go straight to a Toyota dealer and buy a new Supra.
As much as a professional critic should at least try to feign impartiality, that’s how I feel after spending a week driving Toyota’s two-seat sports car designed for people exactly like me.
I want to run to the dealer and give them all my money because everything about the Supra turns my sports car fantasies into reality.
It looks gorgeous, perhaps the prettiest Toyota-badged car ever created thanks to its voluptuous curves and classic proportions. It’s just stunning in person, sharp enough to make friends and neighbors knock on the door and ask for a ride.
And you better believe I took them.
How could I resist any excuse to wring out the Supra around suburban traffic circles and highway on-ramps? It sounds and feels happy to be pushed hard, whether on the track or during spirited driving on public streets, always delivering a gleeful wail from its turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine.
A lot of performance cars sound angry when you rev them. This one sounds euphoric, bordering on orgasmic.
The handling is also spot-on perfect.
The Supra only comes in rear-wheel drive, like any proper sports car, and is easy to control with the throttle to make that rear end slide around.
Changes for 2023 make the Toyota Supra an even better car for driving enthusiasts, including offering a manual transmission for the first time.
A distinct lack of body roll makes it feel extra fun in corners, yet it still manages to be compliant enough to make for a comfortable daily driver after revisions to the suspension this year.
One reason I’m so enthusiastic about this Supra is that my tester came configured exactly how it should, with the six-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission, a new offering for 2023. The last one I tested back in 2021 was a four-cylinder with an automatic, and it felt like a huge disappointment at the time.
With the turbocharged 3.0-liter six, though, the Supra actually lives up to the body’s visual hype. It’s spectacularly fast with 382 horsepower pushing a cozy 3,400-pound car, lightweight by modern standards.
Heck, even the things the Supra gets wrong still feel right. Every great sports car I’ve ever driven shares three downsides, and the Supra’s got all three.
One, there’s a lack of storage and cabin space because it’s built for light weight, not practicality.
Two, the cupholders are located in awkward places because the cockpit is designed for driving, not for sipping. When you lay out the shifter and driver’s arm rest in the most natural positions, that eliminates the best spots for cups to go. They’re relegated to second-class status, as they should be in cars like this.
The Supra’s cabin is designed around a natural and comfortable position for the driver, making it a great place to experience the sports car’s sensory delights.
Three, the rear visibility is terrible. If you design a car to be gorgeous, first and foremost, you’re going to sacrifice its visibility because gorgeous cars never have giant windows. Those are for office buildings and buses, not sports cars.
Some people criticize the Supra for borrowing too liberally from the BMW parts bin — it was a joint project between the two giant companies, after all — but I don’t even see how that’s a downside. If you’re going to steal parts for a sports car, a BMW warehouse is one of the best places on the planet to do it.
If it shared DNA with a Ferrari, complainers would probably say it’s “too Maranello.” People can be the worst.
The people who green-lighted this car, though, are automotive saints. It’s a Toyota with personality, style, speed, sophistication and stunning good looks, now available with a manual transmission as God intended.
Pricing starts at $44,640 for the four-cylinder Supra 2.0, but the one you really want — the 3.0 — starts at $53,600.
At A Glance
What was tested? 2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium MT ($55,650). Options: Driver assist package ($1,195). Price as tested (including $1,095 destination charge): $57,940
Wheelbase: 97.2 in.
Length: 172.5 in.
Width: 73 in.
Height: 50.9 in.
Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six cylinder (382 hp, 368 lbs.-ft.)
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel economy: 19 city, 27 highway
Why buy it?
It’s a case study in exactly how modern sports cars should be built: beautiful, fast, light and fitted with a manual transmission.