The Mk.5 Toyota Supra is automotive gluten.

For some, one ingredient will make it truly intolerable. Others will claim they’re sensitive, but they’re deluding and depriving themselves. And for most, it’s an entirely enjoyable recipe that really oughtn’t stir so much fuss.

The gluten, of course, is the Z4-twinning-Supra’s BMW DNA. And while I told myself I wouldn’t write about that whole bit, climbing aboard one for the first time made it pretty hard to ignore. We’ll get to the gluten later, however, because 2JZ mouthbreathers be damned, I have access to 368 rear-spun lb-ft of torque and an empty track.

Cutting to it, the Mk.5 Supra boots a whole lot faster than you probably think. Sure it looks sporty, but past Supras were sporting GTs that weren’t exactly quick. Not so here: acceleration figures depend on who you ask, but whether it’s low fours or high threes, the Supra 3.0 offers plenty. Likewise, while top speed is electronically limited to 249 km/h, we all know what that means to the import sports car crowd.

Bury it down the straight at Cayuga, and the Supra’s speedo will hit high-hundreds by the time your right foot plunges to the left. Maintenance throttle through that first broad turn, and it’ll do it all again along the next straight. Unleashed with the freedom of an empty track, the accompanying soundtrack may be that of a BMW six — but I’d dare a Supra-celiac to maintain their disdain as that flat-footed growl fills the cabin.

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

Quick as it may be, straight-line speed is seldom the true purpose or soul of a proper sports car. The real joy is in the turns, and the Supra returns a warm — if imperfect — experience.

Let off and knock the trusty ZF 8HP transmission down a gear ahead of a gentle bend, and the Supra returns a deliberate but relatively restrained injection of overrun crackles. Mild but supportive buckets keep the casual driver securely anchored, and on a steady surface, the near 50:50-balanced car holds neutrally from turn-in.

Both front and rear tires are a full three centimetres wider than those under the platform-sharing BMW M240i, but get going too enthusiastically or over the wrong asphalt, and your cheeks would be hard-pressed to tell. In short, the Supra offers appropriate traction for its power — until it very suddenly doesn’t.

Thus, in the years since launch, community experience and ingenuity has uncovered that the Supra’s real flaw isn’t the BMW parts list, but an oversight in its suspension geometry. The Mk.5 uses a five-point multilink setup, but toe-in behaviours on rebound over bumps can start the rear rotating when you’d rather it didn’t, and with greater frequency than some drivers might like. Steer tighter into a decreasing-radius turn, and this rather literal Achilles’ heel can fling the otherwise-steady rear into jerky bump-steer. With traction control on, the tail shudders unpleasantly as the car’s computers bring it back into line; turn that off, and you’d better know how to feather that right foot to manage some sudden yaw. Aftermarket solutions exist to keep those wheels straight, but at the peril of your warranty.

Fortunately, electronic chassis management does an effective job of taming that sway and keeping the Supra’s impressive thrust on-target. Still, this oversight makes the Supra more of a handful than it ought to be, and it’s difficult to see why Toyota would let this out the door when such an easy solution is available. Even enthusiastic turns through intersections can unsettle the car, and drivers will feel pangs of shame as TCS tugs from far lower thresholds than in comparable peers.

In town, it’s all still a good bit of fun. Atrocious sightlines and notorious window buffeting notwithstanding, this cozy coupe darts with delight. Near-perfectly balanced and so sharply responsive around tight city corners, the Supra processes driver inputs with what seems a stiffer focus than its more comfort-oriented BMW kin. It’s semi-usable too, with a touring-sized boot and enough adaptive damping range to make it almost (but not actually) passably comfortable on rough urban roads.

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

Amusing as it is, that compromised usability and odd market positioning do make this a slightly confusing value proposition. Entering at more nearly double the price of the delightful 86 (or whatever it’s called this week), the fifth-gen Supra is a market oddity. A parallel enthusiast model that isn’t quite plush enough to follow its grand touring roots, the fifth-gen Supra is at once too BMW to satisfy purists who’d buy for the name, and perhaps too niche for the mass market.

There’s a 2.0L four-cylinder model for some $11k less, but anyone entertaining that 60-plus delivered spend should see that the step up to the 3.0 is the way to go. Understandably, however, the decision to spend BMW money on a Toyota badge clearly hasn’t come easily to many shoppers. With the arrival of the same-priced manual option in 2023 models, however, interest may still grow.

With the exception of that off-the-shelf bump-steer and a ride that may test non-enthusiast partners’ or passengers’ patience, the BMW partnership has produced an enjoyable sports car that breathes rare investment into the endangered sports car segment. Tricky as it is to pin down this car’s buyer, anecdotal feedback from those who have rings largely positive. And with the introduction of the 6MTs to come, that enthusiasm and appeal could indeed grow.

The F&F kids can feign celiac all they like; for the grownups actually in this market, the glutenous Supra should prove as sweet a carb as any.

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

track test: 2022 toyota gr supra 3.0 premium

Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Photo by Elle Alder

Keyword: Track Test: 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium

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