Adding the time-honored name “Supra” seems to be the final step in Toyota’s revival of its sports-car line, but there’s a twist. This time the styling, interior and tuning are all Toyota, but as the Supra hits showrooms and the NASCAR circuit, under the hood and the chassis will be BMW performance. Much of the machine in the Supra comes from the BMW Z4, and even the console tech inside has German heritage. Supra also starts at a lower price, about $15,000 less for the 3.0-liter, and it will hit the market after the Z4.
Why a new Supra after a twenty-year gap?
It’s not clear why Toyota waited almost twenty years to bring a new production Supra to the public, but the name has been kept alive with previous generations of Supras in movies, television, and racing. Not to mention the huge fan base and the new generation of fans it caught when it started as the FT1 on the racing circuit. Speculation in the press may not answer the "why" but does address the "why now" in a way that is supported by company comments: the company's image has been drifting away from the energy and excitement of motorsports and it sees the Supra as a way to correct that direction.
How much of the 2020 Supra is BMW's design? Where did it come from?
The Supra's essential mechanicals are mostly from the BMW Z4, along with the optional BMW 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system which is fully customized with Supra graphics. The 3.0-liter engine and eight-speed automatic transmission are also BMW's design.
What are the powertrain stats?
A 335-hp version of the B58 3.0-liter inline-six will power it (Z4 gets 382 hp), replacing the old Supra's 2JZ engine, and they will share an eight-speed automatic transmission. A 2.0-liter turbo four will likely follow.
How is the interior? Is the back seat still impossible to use?
Toyota didn’t bother with the 2+2 this time – there’s no rear seat. Beyond that, the interior is one of the best areas that Toyota put their touch into. There's dual-zone climate control, a basic 6.5-inch display and in the premium version, the Supra includes heated leather seats, navigation, JBL sound with a larger screen and a variety of active safety options.
Who designed it? Is it designed specifically for the USA?
Toyota’s designers in California, Calty, provided the design lead for the FT-1 and Supra, but the result goes worldwide. It employs a new "visual mass reduction" concept which is similar to the inward-flowing panels on other vehicles such as the new Murano. The design and interior are "all Toyota," and does flow somewhat like earlier editions of the Supra, with updated lines.
Do they expect to race it?
They started racing a GR Supra concept racing car several years ago, both to put it to the test and raise interest in a new generation of Supra. It will, in a racing edition, be involved in NASCAR, most notably the NASCAR Xfinity series. Aspects of the car have apparently been specifically designed for conformance with required race parameters.
Will there be a special edition on re-launch of the name?
The first production model of the 2020 Toyota GR Supra, with a VIN ending in 20201 (for the year and first production unit), sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction in January 2019 for $2.1 million. It will launch with colors available in red, white or black in the initial 1,500 units, which are the Launch Edition.
What else is important to note about the 2020 Toyota Supra?
Somewhat surprisingly, there is no manual transmission option at this time for the 2020 Toyota Supra. Customer demand shifting to automatic transmissions is most likely the cause for this decision, which affects the 2019 BMW Z4 as well, in case you were wondering. The sports car market itself seems to be shrinking, and production of the latest Z4 was not a sure thing. That does suggest that perhaps working with Toyota on reviving their Supra sports carenabled both projects to move ahead cooperatively. Longer term, perhaps, it's an effort to invigorate and eventually expand the sports car market with more offerings.
Is the auto press excited, confused, ambivalent, or waiting in line for test drives?
This may seem like a strange question, but articles in the motor press have been fairly confused about what Toyota's plans were. Some were surprised that the Supra was being aimed toward racing. Others were puzzling over the timing and of course many were scratching their heads over the use of so much BMW hardware. The 2018 FT-1 gave some clues about what might be on the way, but not when it would be or whether it might be a production offering. Overall, the press has been excited about Supras for a long time and that carried into the current evolution – the original Supras have been iconic, versatile and powerful sports cars and the A90 version is one to watch as well. Extensive testing at the Nürburgring kept press peeking over the wall, too.
How is planned availability and pricing? What options will there be?
Stay tuned for availability dates which are still in the works and expect a base price around $50,000. The first one sold at a charity auction for $2.1 million, as mentioned above. The main competitor Toyota sees is the Porsche 718 Cayman. Observers have noted that the air vents which appear to be decorative are actually potentially usable, word has come out of a four-cylinder version being offered, a 2.0-liter turbo with 197 and 255 hp options and, of course, enough noise from fans about a manual transmission might have an effect, especially if there's something fairly compatible in the BMW parts shed already.
Who will drive it? Is the Supra designed for performance fans, the grand tour, daily use?
It is, company executives say, intended to be a "driver's car," fit for the Grand Tour. That being said, the BMW heritage and racing spec conformance along with the current and future racing activity suggests that Toyota is hoping that they have created a Supra which covers all the bases.
Does this foretell a new sports car emphasis at Toyota? More interesting revelations going forward?
It does seem like a whole division has stepped out of the shadows and has several follow-on plans in mind, including the 2.0-liter engine and possible manual transmission. It most likely depends on customer reception of this long-awaited renewal of a sports car classic, the 2020 Toyota Supra.