2020 Toyota Supra first drive overview: Higher in (nearly) each method


Oh, Supra. We’ve not seen this a lot fan uproar concerning the rebirth of a beloved Japanese sports activities automotive since… effectively, for the reason that NSX, which actually wasn’t all that way back. Identical to with Honda/Acura’s resurrected icon, fan passions run deep with Supra, a automotive that the majority have solely ever touched via a PlayStation controller. The numerous and myriad reactions to its unveiling this previous January in Detroit present simply how strongly individuals really feel concerning the former Quick & Livid hero.

I used to be fortunate to get to drive a prototype of the MkV Supra final 12 months in camouflage type and even then, lengthy earlier than Toyota took the wraps off, I may really feel the flames being stoked within the Roadshow remark part. Immediately, expensive readers, it is time to tamp these fires as a result of the 2020 Toyota Supra is right here, it is good and I do not care that it carries a German coronary heart beating inside a German physique. You should not, both. 


Let’s simply go forward and handle this early: From a {hardware} standpoint, the Toyota Supra is principally a BMW Z4. It shares the identical engine, chassis and suspension, plus numerous different bits. It is even assembled proper alongside the Z4 at Magna Steyr in Austria.

So, sure, the 2020 Toyota Supra has greater than somewhat BMW in it. However if you wish to speak DNA, from a genetic standpoint I am just about indistinguishable from a mouse. In execution, nonetheless, I look somewhat totally different — although I do confess a honest affinity for cheese.

Equally, a automotive’s character comes as a lot from its tune because it does from its {hardware}, and Toyota has gone to nice lengths to distinguish the Supra from its Bavarian counterpart. Throughout principally your complete improvement challenge for the automotive, for years, Toyota and BMW engineers did not share notes. To today the Supra’s foremost improvement driver hasn’t turned a wheel within the new Z4.

The purpose was to create a automotive with a German physique and a Japanese soul, although that spirit shall be laborious to really feel once you’ll have to grip a BMW-style shifter to again out of each parking house. A distinctly iDrive-style knob sits to the best whereas the sound coming from the engine carries the identical type of digital augmentation that has these days crept into BMW interiors.

I perceive how trying previous all that may be troublesome, however belief me after I say it is worthwhile. 

The inspiration

While you say “Supra” to a automotive fanatic, most will instantly envision one particular mannequin: the MkIV Supra Turbo. Manufactured from 1993 till 2002, the Supra’s untimely departure from the US in 1998 solely elevated its standing as the final word tuner automotive. Faster off the showroom flooring than many an Italian unique, the MKIV was nonetheless continuously tweaked to even larger heights of efficiency — or, usually, deeper depths of undrivability.

It is via that distorted, aftermarket lens that many fans bear in mind the Supra, however we should return to the automotive Toyota really offered when contemplating how the brand new, MkV Supra stacks up. Regardless of the German parentage, the 2 automobiles are much more related than they’re totally different.

It begins with the engine, a 3.0-liter, turbocharged, inline-six, identical to earlier than. The place the outdated automotive delivered 321 horsepower, the brand new one manages 335. Not an enormous enhance contemplating the 20 years between, however torque is method up: 365 pound-feet vs. 315 within the outdated automotive. Gas effectivity will get an excellent greater enhance: The brand new Supra does 31 miles per gallon on the freeway, in comparison with simply 22 within the outgoing automotive.

(I’m absolutely conscious that no one’s shopping for a Supra for the gas economic system, however given it was emissions that in the end pressured its early exit from the US market, it is good to know that the brand new automotive is far more environment friendly.)

That engine its within the nostril, however a fast look below the hood reveals it has been pushed dramatically rearward — and that is regardless of the bundle of ugly, black plastic swaddling every thing. Certainly, Toyota has managed an ideal 50:50 weight distribution right here. At 3,397 kilos, MkV is about 100 kilos lighter than an automated MkIV Supra Turbo. That is regardless of the brand new automotive having, amongst its many trendy facilities, eight airbags.

2020 Toyota Supra

Who desires rear seats when you’ll be able to have subwoofers and strut-tower braces?


The brand new Supra is 5 inches shorter than the MKIV and but two inches wider, a stance that may solely do good issues for dealing with. The brand new Supra is actually deceptively small, nearer in size to a Toyota 86. One thing needed to go to ship this dimensional brevity, and it was the rear seats. As an alternative, you get a type of parcel shelf and uncovered strut tower brace.

That 365 pound-feet of torque is distributed rearward via an eight-speed automated transmission. The shortage of a handbook possibility shall be seen as unhealthy information by many, however this is similar ZF unit that performs unobtrusively in lots of different efficiency automobiles and, as I am going to element later, its efficiency is equally fantastic right here.

That energy is then cut up by an electronically actuated, clutch-type limited-slip rear differential. That is a great distance of claiming the automotive does not need to depend on the brakes to maintain one wheel from spinning up. The LSD can go from absolutely open to completely locked in a fraction of a second and it comes commonplace on each Supra. Adaptive suspension can be commonplace, as are Michelin Pilot Tremendous Sport tires on 19-inch wheels, which measure a wholesome nine-inches huge on the entrance and 10 inches on the rear.

The web result’s a automotive that may hop from zero to 60 mph in simply 4.1 seconds after which scream on as much as 155 mph earlier than the digital limiter steps in and slaps the again of your wrist.


Sure, I do understand how quick I used to be going.


On the street

Whereas I want I may say I explored that limiter within the manufacturing Supra, my drive passed off principally in Virginia, a state the place the native legislation tends to skip the wrist slapping and throw individuals proper in jail for rushing. So, I largely used the street portion of the drive as a possibility to set the cruise management and, effectively, cruise.

Boring, maybe, however it is a important perform for the Supra. Whereas it’s a sports activities automotive, it is meant to be an on a regular basis sort of factor. It have to be comfy and sensible and, winding via the scant hills round Virginia, it proved precisely that. My first worry was that the low-profile, 19-inch tires would end in some terrible trip high quality and street noise. I used to be pleasantly stunned to search out neither in extra.

The suspension, on regular mode, is compliant and the seats comfortable. Likewise, the exhaust is mellow within the default setting and the transmission sedate. I would not name it a calming drive, however with the adaptive cruise and the lively lane-keep help methods enabled, I may positively see myself protecting massive miles in a Supra with out criticism.

The hatch even swallowed up my video producer’s full praise of substances plus my backpack, and that is saying one thing. 

This, then, is a superb automotive for hurtling distant with somebody particular, even when they don’t seem to be probably the most environment friendly of packers. Nevertheless, regardless of that on-road prowess, the majority of Toyota’s launch occasion targeted on the Supra’s monitor efficiency. That is why my vacation spot was Summit Level, a motorsports mecca simply over the border of West Virginia.


Maybe the Supra’s most controversial angle.


On the monitor

Of the various circuits Summit Level Motorsports Park has to supply, Toyota chosen Shenendoah, which in my eye is a bit courageous. Shenendoah is a remarkably twisty factor, with 22 numbered turns in its full, 2.2-mile configuration. It is also very slim and somewhat bumpy with many blind, off-camber sequences.

The model we ran, which skipped a lot of the longest straight, was spectacular enjoyable within the agile (if underpowered) Toyota 86. For the Supra, although, I believe I’d have most well-liked one thing somewhat bit greater — like Jarama, maybe, the place I did the preliminary prototype drive. A much bigger monitor would enable the Supra to stretch its legs a bit extra and showcase the finesse of its suspension. On Shenendoah, the Supra’s further weight and physique roll in meant I needed to be much more affected person when hustling via the extra busy sequences.

That is to not say the Supra did not deal with the state of affairs with aplomb. The Pilot Tremendous Sports activities provided oodles of grip on the uneven asphalt and that suspension was by no means phased by the imperfections. Supra proved a composed and reassuring accomplice on a monitor that calls for rather a lot from each automotive and driver. 

Likewise, the limited-slip differential put the ability down cleanly and likewise appeared aggressive below braking, with the rear feeling very tight within the one laborious braking zone on the finish of Again Straight.

Braking was my main concern after driving the prototype final 12 months, and for higher or worse, this explicit stretch of asphalt at Summit Level did not problem the Supra’s 13.7-inch entrance Brembos, nor their four-piston calipers. Nevertheless, given my colleague Steven Ewing’s notes of brake fade when driving the 2019 Z4 at Estoril, I worry that the stoppers should still be the Achilles heel for the Supra. 

Left to its personal gadgets, the eight-speed automated transmission is a delight.


And what about that eight-speed auto? Left to its personal gadgets, the transmission did an appropriate job of selecting the correct cog for the best nook. It is nowhere close to as superior as Porsche’s newest taste of PDK, which is sort of telepathic in its gear choice, and certainly the Toyota often received confused throughout lengthy, low-speed, steady-state corners. However it principally did fantastic — except I attempted to shift for myself. The transmission responded sluggishly to requests from the wheel-mounted paddles. I shortly realized to disregard them.

However there’s one factor that I could not ignore, and that was the unimaginable problem of truly entering into and out of the Supra with a helmet on. I am really beginning to get a headache once more simply serious about the variety of occasions I bumped my helmet in opposition to the door body squeezing into and out of the Supra throughout my day on the monitor. I’ve pushed caged racers with simpler ingress and egress. Make it inside, although, and there is spectacular headroom, that double-bubble roof serving an actual function past inspiring fond ideas of the 2000GT coupe. 

The excellent news is that tall drivers will work within the Supra even with a helmet. The unhealthy information is that they’ll should be moderately versatile and stout of cranium.

Maybe the most effective information about Supra’s on-track efficiency is that Toyota legitimately desires you to pattern it for your self. Each new Supra bought this 12 months comes with a membership to NASA (no, not that NASA, this NASA) and a free monitor day, too. Go get some!

2020 Toyota Supra

You would be forgiven for anticipating the nav system to talk with a Bavarian accent.


Feel and appear

I’ve saved dialogue of the Supra’s design for final as a result of that is, in fact, probably the most subjective bit. I am going to offer you my take right here in a second, however I am going to begin by saying that the 2020 Supra is a dramatically totally different trying automotive in particular person than it’s in photographs. That lengthy hood and people sharp styling cues one way or the other conspire to make it look a lot, a lot greater than it’s. It’s miles extra petite and refined within the flesh than what you are seeing right here. So, do your self a favor and go witness one earlier than you digitally write it off.

That stated, having spent the higher a part of a day contemplating the factor IRL, I’ll confess to not being a complete fan of the way in which it seems. On the constructive facet, I actually like the form and its vacuum-sealed look. Supra cuts an extremely purposeful stance, as if Toyota’s designers whittled away every thing that wasn’t wanted.

Certainly, the corporate calls the design course of for the Supra “perform sculpting,” and that is why I can not assist however really feel dissatisfied that so lots of the automotive’s design parts haven’t any perform in any respect. Faux vents abound on the brand new Supra, from the entrance bumper to the rear, hitting the fenders and doorways alongside the way in which. The black strains are the scars from the cosmetic surgery required to make the FT-1 idea a actuality. They’re a disgrace and, as a lot as I like the pink, I might most likely need to go for a darker colour to cover them. 

On the within, there’s not rather a lot to dislike, nevertheless it’s right here the place the BMW parentage is most readily evident. From the door chime to the shifter to that twisty iDrive knob, all of it feels a bit bizarre. BMW makes a fantastic inside, and that is nothing in need of that, nevertheless it does not really feel notably Toyota. 

There are a couple of key parts, although, together with the steering wheel, smaller and thinner than your typical Bavarian unit, and the gauge cluster, which is extra targeted and racier. The seats, too, strike a fantastic stability between consolation and help. 

So many pretend vents.


Choices and pricing

The 2020 Toyota Supra begins at $49,990, plus $930 vacation spot. For that you simply get what’s formally known as the Supra 3.0. The subsequent step up is named the three.Zero Premium, beginning at $53,990. This replaces the Alcantara seat inserts on the bottom mannequin with leather-based, provides a bigger, 8.8-inch touchscreen (up from 6.4) and red-painted calipers that, apparently, wrap round barely bigger discs on the rear (13.6 inches vs. 13.Zero on the bottom 3.0).

Lastly, there’s the restricted Launch Version, for $55,250. This contains all of the goodies of the three.Zero Premium and provides pink mirror caps and pink, leather-based interiors on these automobiles painted both black or white. Crimson is the third colour out there for the Launch Version, however a number of different hues shall be out there for the common automobiles to return

Each automotive comes with what Toyota calls Supra Security, together with a wholesome mixture of lively security methods like collision warning, automated emergency braking and lane departure warning. Step as much as the Driver Comfort Package deal and also you get adaptive cruise and full lane-keep help.

If you need CarPlay, you will have to both go together with the Premium mannequin or go for the upgraded infotainment system, which comes hooked up to a 500-watt JBL sound system and a head-up show. Android Auto is tragically not out there, and a Toyota consultant was mum on whether or not the corporate would cost an ongoing price for continued entry to CarPlay, one of many most egregious tack-ons from BMW. I sincerely hope Toyota finds a method round that.

Now, when you assume that every one sounds a bit spendy you are not unsuitable, nevertheless it’s an enormous worth over what Toyota was charging for the final Supra Turbo right here within the US. The bottom MKIV Turbo in 1998 began at about $40,000, which in right now’s cash is over $62,000. Imagine it or not, that was really a $10,000 low cost over the 1996 beginning worth of $50,000. That is almost $80,000 in right now’s cash.

Find it irresistible or hate it, you definitely cannot ignore styling this aggressive. 



Toyota’s new Supra is an extremely divisive automotive. I get why, however to easily say that it is one way or the other flawed as a result of it was developed in partnership with BMW ignores the truth that, if not for that partnership, there can be no new Supra in any respect.

It additionally ignores the truth that it is a damned fantastic automotive. Sure, I consider the styling might be cleaner, however possibly Toyota will take a cue from Chevrolet and make a couple of fast tweaks for subsequent 12 months. And sure, this automotive can really feel somewhat too comfortable and possibly even too refined at occasions, however Supra traditionally has been a road-focused sports activities automotive and this new one suits fairly properly in that mildew, providing much more energy, poise and polish than earlier generations. And let’s not neglect extra worth, too. 

If you need one thing extra uncooked, don’t be concerned: tuners worldwide are already weaving their magic, and if this primary iteration finds good success, racier manufacturing unit editions will nearly certainly come. Given the first-year allocation of Supra has already offered out in Japan and in Europe, I might say Toyota’s off to a great begin. 

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