2020 Toyota Supra – Video Review
Since the end of the fourth-generation Supra in 2002, fans have been begging for a return of the Supra. While in between, we were given a severely insufficient Toyota 86 to hold our tongues; finally, the Supra has made its return. An exoskeleton of the BMW Z4, Toyota has built upon that along with a little Toyota flare to become the by-product of the next great sports car.
Underneath, the Supra shares a platform, running gear, engine, gearbox, and large chunks of the interior with the latest Z4. Not being the first example of Toyota partnering with others to collaborate on a version with a Toyota badge. (Subaru BRZ/Scion FRS/Toyota 86).
But this partnership is different because the Supra is a huge deal. It’s not a run of the mill newly introduced small coupe. The Supra badge has a history as a staple in Japanese car culture alongside the greats like the Honda NSX, Nissan Skyline, and Nissan GT-R.
While the DNA is the same, The Supra, in my opinion, is better looking than the Z4, no doubt about it. It’s well proportioned, striking, and eye-catching throughout.
Under the hood sits BMW’s B58 single turbo 3.0-liter straight six, developing identical power figures (335bhp and 369lb ft of torque) to the Z4 M40i. This is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. 0-100km takes 4.3 seconds. The body is more rigid than the Lexus LFA’s, weight distribution is 50:50. Leaving aside the BMW controversy, you’ve got to admit it looks good on paper.
It’s excellent to drive. The Supra is crisp, responsive, well connected, confidence-inspiring, and quick. The fact that Toyota has been able to take the same mechanicals as BMW and shape them into a proper sports car that’s perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Supra. But it is not all entirely successful, so let’s start there. The paddle downshifts can be a fraction delayed and upshifts can surge on you.
Similarly, the engine has plenty of mid-range shove, but at higher RPM’s there’s not much point. The brakes do fade, but it does have bigger brakes, using 13.7-inch vented discs in front and 13.6-inch vented discs in the rear, 1.0 inch and 0.8 inches larger than the old car (which also had vented discs). But it’s the good stuff that dominates the experience. The front wheels unfailingly go where you aim them, and the rear axle is communicative and well supported. What this means is that the Supra moves into corners well, and it gets out of them well, too. The steering set-up – especially in Sport (that or Normal are your only choices) – is lovely, well-weighted, and responsive. It’s too light in Normal. Turning is decisive, and it feels agile, thanks to its short 2,470mm wheelbase.
Here is the thing; we can forgive the non-Toyota engine, but it’s hard to forgive the lack of innovation in the cabin. The Supra is a BMW inside. Of course, this means it’s got the material quality and tactility it wouldn’t have had otherwise, and some people will see that as a plus. And once again, if you aren’t familiar with BMW, it’s not going to offend you. But here’s Toyota, the world’s largest car company, having slapped a body on top of a BMW, It’s just an odd thing to do with a brand with such history for Toyota.
The rev counter is Toyota’s own, but the steering wheel definitely isn’t. The same goes for the heating controls, graphics, USB slots, switchgear, door handles, etc. Ignoring the BMW influences then: the driving position is excellent. You sit low, the standard seats wrap around your back as bucket seats do, however over the shoulder visibility is horrible. Two seats and two people have adequate space inside. The infotainment is intuitive as BMW’s go. No complaints as the rotary are easy to manage and operate.
After all is said and done, it’s like BMW built a better Toyota. It’s impossible to separate the new Supra from its underpinnings – not least because they are always staring you in the face when you get in. But in the end, Toyota has built a very talented driver’s car. It’s a very complete coupe. Big enough inside, well equipped, handsome, rapid, and good-natured. It’s grown-up yet compact, agile, and smooth. It’s a smart piece of engineering. A car you’d enjoy driving anywhere, a car that probably strikes the best compromise of GT and sportiness of any car in its class.