Another platform-sharing Toyota sports car. Like the Toyota 86, which generously shares most of its components with the Subaru BRZ, the 2020 Toyota Supra borrows much of its power and tech from the BMW Z4.
While this results in incredible performance that lives up to its iconic nameplate at a relatively low price, there's a fair amount of BMW that bubbles to the surface, leaving Supra traditionalists wondering if it’s worth the cost compared to its more exclusive rivals.
Too much BMW can be a bad thing. If there's one thing to note about the Toyota Supra’s design, it’s that it's bold. In a time where one over-the-top crease or curve can cause buyers to shun a car, Toyota had no fear in going a little heavy on the design.
Yes, it's a polarizing model, but so were previous iterations of the Supra, so this should come as no shock to buyers. Those who find the Supra too over the top will likely feel more comfortable in the F-Type.
One poorly kept secret has been the fact that BMW had a big role in the Supra becoming a reality, so we expected a little Z4 to come out in the Supra’s design. On the outside, Toyota did a great job disguising its BMW roots, but the cabin wasn’t quite as successful.
For the most part, Toyota pulled off the BMW cover-up with a simpler dash, a heavier focus on horizontal lines, and flip-flopping the direction the center console wraps around the gear shifter.
When you dig in deeper, you easily expose the BMW. One key example of this is its electronic gear shifter, but the most obvious is the BMW iDrive rotary knob. There's nothing wrong with the iDrive interface, but it'd be nice to see a more Toyota-like infotainment interface.
Performance for days, but too automated. One fear Supra fans had was that Toyota would deliver a dud in on-track performance. There's still that chance as we await the arrival of a standard four-cylinder engine, but the debut Supra’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine delivers 330 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, trumping the base F-Type P300 by 34 hp and the base Z4 30i by 80 hp.
This power routes through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and out to the rear wheels for a peppy 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph. The sprint time comes up short by 0.4 seconds when compared to the base Corvette, but it tops the F-Type P300 and P340 by 1.3 seconds and 1.0 second, respectively.
Unfortunately, the only transmission option is an eight-speed automatic. Sure, this BMW-sourced transmission delivers crisp and clean shifts, but the traditionalist in us would love the added control of a manual.
The Supra is quite the agile beast, darting in and out of corners and shifting lanes with the best of them. And when you’re not tackling chicanes, you can swap the suspension to “Comfort” mode for a surprisingly compliant ride.
Be careful when pushing things in the Supra, though, as it tends to get a little hairy in at-the-limit cornering and wants to give you a little spin if you’re too aggressive with the brake or gas mid-corner.
Features galore, but skimps on connectivity. The Toyota Supra is a more value-oriented sports car next to the competition, but that doesn’t mean it’s void of standard features.
Its list of base equipment includes an 8.8-inch digital gauge cluster, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, SiriusXM, a 10-speaker audio system, 14-way power seats, LED headlights, 19-inch forged wheels, and more. Apple CarPlay is available, but it’s an option. Being a BMW-sourced infotainment system, the Supra won't offer Android Auto.
For its $50,945 base price, the Supra presents a great value considering its performance and features, but buyers seeking more luxury and tech may find better options.
The F-Type, for example, starts at $62,625 and comes standard with a 10-inch touchscreen, navigation, leather seating, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Corvette is also pricier at $58,990, but it separates itself from the Supra with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, and staggered 19- and 20-inch wheels.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Toyota Supra is, like all sports cars, a compromise. It delivers incredible performance at a relative value, but there are some trade-offs.
The biggest is that until the base four-cylinder model arrives, the Supra’s base price is about the same as the base BMW Z4 without nearly the level of luxury. Granted, the base Z4 is nowhere near the performer the Supra is, but buying a Toyota that's the same price as a BMW may be a tough pill to swallow.
Buyers who can look past that trade-off and see the big performance advantage of owning the Supra will find that pill goes down easily. Then again, once the four-cylinder Supra arrives, we expect the base price to fall and make this all a non-issue.
The other big issue is the Supra’s polarizing looks. Sure, it pulls some great design cues from the well-received Toyota FT-1 concept, but its overall look may be too over the top for a large percentage of buyers. These buyers may need to pony up a little more cash and pick up the more eye-friendly Corvette or F-Type.