By on January 16, 2019

Supra

It’ll not have escaped your notice that Toyota unveiled a new Supra this week in Detroit. We’ve been expecting such a beast since what seems like forever. In fact, during the reveal, Akio Toyoda himself jokingly called it the “worst kept secret.”

Guaranteed there will be plenty of complaints from armchair CEOs and keyboard racers who’ve never turned a wheel on track about the new Supra, with carping bound to range from its lumpy looks to its rating of “only” 335 horsepower.

Your author will reserve judgement on the former until he sees it in person; the latter until he gets behind the wheel. For now, let’s take a practical approach.

Who’s in the Supra’s gunsight? It’s an open secret the Porsche Cayman served at Toyota’s benchmark, a claim made by chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, for several aspects of the program.

The Porsche 718 Cayman (just called the Cayman and powered by a six-cylinder engine back when Supra development began) is equipped as standard with a 300 horsepower boosted flat-four, giving the Supra a 35 hp edge. Keep that in mind when talking heads bemoan the Toyota’s power output, as they surely will. There is a more powerful unit in the Cayman S, adding fifty horses and a whole lot of money. Supra power, then, sits right in the middle.

Supra

Toyota estimates the Supra will run to 60 mph from rest in about 4.1 seconds when equipped with the company’s eight-speed automatic, the only transmission available. Porsche estimates a 4.6 second acceleration time for a PDK-equipped Cayman S, 4.4 with the manual. The less powerful non-S Cayman launches itself to 60 mph in about 5.0 seconds. Let the argument of driving involvement vs lightning-quick shifts rage on.

With a claimed 50/50 weight distribution, Supra is on the right track to mimic Cayman’s driving dynamics despite the Porsche having its engine tucked in snugly amidships. Yes, centre of gravity is still a thing and even the Supra must adhere to the laws of physics, but its active differential (which uses an electric motor and multi-plate clutches to control lateral torque) should do wonders.

The biggest kicker? Price. Toyota says the Supra will start at $49,990. Porsche fans can’t even get a sniff of the 718 Cayman for that amount, with the P-car starting at $56,900. And good luck trying to find a no-options Cayman at any dealer. Adding the S suffix jacks the Porsche’s sticker to $69,300. That’s a premium of twenty grand; assuming the thing drives well, we will likely be writing articles about how the Supra is a value play in its segment before the year is over.

Despite the company making many overtures about how they’ve tuned and fettled the Supra themselves, there remains a solid connection to BMW. Whether potential buyers see this as a good or bad thing remains to be seen. Check out the tag visible in the door jamb of this press image – “Mfd by Bayerische Motoren Werke” is on display for all to see. For better or worse, there is no doubting this car’s heritage. The “W” which leads the VIN is expected, naturally.

Minor aside: Toyota lists the estimated curb weight of the new Supra at 3397 lbs. The GVWR shown on that door sticker is 4,012 lbs. If you and your passenger are Large Persons, pack lightly.

Other competitors for the 2020 Supra? The 2019 BMW M240i Coupe arrives at the party with a 3.0L turbocharged inline-six, 335 hp, and a starting price of $45,800. Acceleration to 60 mph is about half-a-second adrift of the Supra estimate.

A V6-equipped Jag F-Type also makes for a pretty good foil on paper, with similar power figures but performance far behind the Supra if manufacturer estimates are to be believed. Jag itself pegs 0-60 times for the cheapest V6 F-Type at 5.5 seconds. By that time, the Supra should be in the next area code. Toyota shoppers will also find themselves nearly $20,000 to the good as a 340 hp rear-drive stickshift F-Type starts at $68,850.

2020 Supra MatteGrey 02

It all comes down to, of course, how the Supra acquits itself when driven in anger. Keep an eye out for first-drive impressions over the next few months. Until then, which of these four performance coupes is your pick? The 2020 Z4 M40i and its 382 hp turbo inline-six, by the way, hasn’t been priced yet, but is expected to land in the mid-$60k range.

I’m simply glad not to be talking about yet another milquetoast crossover.

[Images: Toyota]

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57 Comments on “2020 Toyota Supra vs. Its Competition...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Price wise, it looks like the Supra slots between the Mustang/Camaro and its German competition.

    • 0 avatar
      cammark

      I don’t buy into the idea that the competition is German. It’s a German car with a “T” on front, but it’s competition is what buyers are going to cross-shop against it. And you’ve got it right there: Mustang and Camaro. I would add the Nissan Z too.

      They say they bench-marked a Porsche, but who is cross shopping a Porsche and a Toyota?

      It’s probably valid to bench-mark the Caymans chassis dynamics, but don’t forget the boys in Dearborn offer an extra 130hp (GT), a choice of transmission type, a rear seat and decent handling. all of that with only a minor weight penalty.

      I’m a fanboy of none of these, but I understand sizing up the competition and they’re doing it wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        sjd

        I agree that the the Mustang and Camaro should be included in the competition and would also add the Corvette, as its base price isn’t much more than the Supra’s and has 460 horsepower.

      • 0 avatar
        Noble713

        “They say they bench-marked a Porsche, but who is cross shopping a Porsche and a Toyota?”

        Japanese people.

        • 0 avatar
          scott25

          I feel like the Japanese will be leery of the fact one their halo cars is now made in Austria. It’ll be similar to the Australian GTO.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1994-toyota-supra-19/

          https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1993-toyota-supra-10/

          https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1994-toyota-supra-8/

          https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1994-toyota-supra-14/

          https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1998-toyota-supra-6/

          https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1995-toyota-supra-4/

          I’ll post the station wagons that nobody buys later!

  • avatar
    ajla

    The biggest competition is going to be Toyota dealers.

    Are they actually going to be interested in selling the Supra? Or are they going to want one hard-loaded $59K version allocated to them each year that they stick a $5K ADM sticker on and don’t allow test drives?

    • 0 avatar

      You mean like how they treat the Land Cruiser?!

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Nailed it.

      Toy stores are equipped to move mass appeal readily available for all merchandise. I can only imagine how difficult they will make buying this car. That alone will probably move BMW M’s more than otherwise expected.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Toyota gives me 2 years / 24,000 miles service on BMW technology.
        Toyota gives me 3 years / 36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper on BMW technology
        Toyota gives me 6 years / 60,000 miles powertrain on BMW technology
        Toyota wants me to pay more

        BMW gives me 3 years / 36,000 miles service on BMW technology.
        BMW gives me 4 years / 50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper on BMW technology
        BMW gives me 4 years / 50,000 miles powertrain on BMW technology
        BMW wants me to pay less

        I drive a BMW is going to go over better at the gym versus I drive a Toyota.

        • 0 avatar
          cognoscenti

          “I drive a BMW is going to go over better at the gym versus I drive a Toyota.”

          No, it’ll be “I drive a Supra.” Even BMW drivers who only bought for the badge might show more respect at that statement, due to the rich history of the Mark IV across media formats over the years.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Cognoscenti –

            Depends – are you trying to impress an enthusiast or pick up a date?

            If you’re hitting on someone at the gym I suggest “I drive a BMW.”

            (Badge snobbery is alive and well.)

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Anyone under 35 and anyone not a car enthusiast during their lifetime isn’t going to know what the Hell a Supra is. You haven’t been able to buy a new Supra in the US for 21 years.

            They know what a Toyota is.
            They know what a BMW is.

            They know a BMW has more cachet than a Toyota.

            I drive a Supra!

            Oh, what’s that?

            A sports car.

            Oh, who makes it.

            Toyota.

            Oooooooooooooo.

            It’s actually like a BMW.

            (inner thought — but it ISN’T a BMW)

        • 0 avatar
          scott25

          For the price of the Supra you’re going to be getting a 4 cylinder Z4

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            98% of Americans won’t care if it was a 2-cylinder 2-stroke engine. They don’t know. They don’t care.

            What the average American knows (right or wrong) is:

            Toyota: slow, reliable, hybrid, boring, safe, conservative

            BMW: luxury, fast, status symbol, quality

            I’m not saying either is the actual reality – but that is the reality of Americans who don’t read TTAC – which is almost everyone.

    • 0 avatar
      PwrdbyM

      I agree with this 100%. Dealers will mark these up by $10k to account for (artificial) high-demand, and then all we’ll see are stories about how the Supra isn’t selling as expected. Granted there are likely 1-2 people in each dealer region who will pay it to be first on the block, however these customers dry up quickly yet the dealers will continue with the mark-ups for months or years.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Looks great, but I just don’t know if there is a big enough market to support all the entrants into this thin niche. Compared to the 240-260-280Z cars (the last time I was in this market) times have changed…a lot. Traffic is up (no place to enjoy this), disposable income for the under 40 crowd is down, the height of other vehicles is WAY UP, and drivers in my age group, while they can afford the new Supra are too fat or too arthritic to buy it. At least the dealership price gouging hasn’t changed. Although my teen age fantasy may have been to date the high school home coming queen, if she called me up today (as a 70+ year old woman), I’d pass. So too the new Supra….I’ll pass.

  • avatar
    wooootles

    I think that those who would want an alternative to a Cayman or F-Type would just buy the real BMW Z4.
    I think Toyota should have targeted the disenfranchised JDM fans who don’t have much options (at least here in NA) when it comes too 2-door coupes, either too weak/small (Miata, FT86), too old in the tooth (370Z) or too expensive (GT-R), and do not want American muscle/pony cars. I think Toyota priced the Supra a bit high, or it’s underpowered for the price.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Agree with this take. The purists will know this is a BMW and if you paying this much you might as well get the real deal.

      The interior is very UN-Supra like… I think its downright terrible. My wife checked the pictures out and agrees, the interior is a major let down, its not driver focused at all.

      Is this new Supra a hatch? If not I call foul. However with its boosted engine I expect the HP will quickly be pushed MUCH higher in the aftermarket. Not up to the legendary status of old mill but tuners gotta play with this thing.

      I sold my 350Z and got a C7 Z51. Glad I didn’t wait for the Supra because the auto only is deal killer.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …It all comes down to, of course, how the Supra acquits itself when driven in anger…

    For the record, I’ve driven on a track, and I don’t mean Solo II and I don’t mean at Long Beach a week after the IRL race when the barriers and stands are still up along the roadway to the cruise terminal.

    Given the previous performance from a marketing, launch, and real execution standpoint of the 86, color me very skeptical we aren’t seeing round 2 here. Toyota appears, APPEARS, to be making all the same well-documented mistakes. The 86 was a flop. so sayeth Toyota, including in its home market of Japan.

    Driving is going to be…everything at the end of the day. For $6K more bones, sticker, I can get a C7 Corvette, with a manual, that is going to be cheaper and easier to service, produces gobs more power, is faster 0-60, is amazingly lighter than the Supra, and doesn’t come with the reputation of BMW mechanicals. You can find base Stingrays and come on, who pays full sticker on a Corvette? Does anyone really believe dealers aren’t going to put fat ADM on the Supra as they hit lots? Does anyone really believe that people won’t line up screaming, “shut up and take my money,” despite the ADM during the first 6 to 12 months?

    The biggest problem the Supra faces is the exact same issue the 86 faced. Toyota marketing has promised, hyped, promised, hyped, and those waiting have hyped, and hyped, and hyped. This car is never going to live up to the expectations and when the BMW “tax” on that driveline kicks in, the Toyota faithful are going to roast the lazy T for the “quality” issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      The independent, foreign car mechanic I have patronized for the past forty years talks about BMWs with engines full of sludge and serious oil consumption problems at 70k miles. My wife’s nephew had an early 2000s 330i. By the end of the factory warranty, all four window regulators had been replaced. They failed in the order of frequency of use.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      I’d take the Vette every day. And for that same little jump in price (as you said, mitigated by the inevitable ADM) there’s also the Mustang GT350, which might be the sickest sounding car under $100k and is plenty fast.

      And we all know what BMW “quality” is going to be after the warranty is up.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      …You can find base Stingrays and come on, who pays full sticker on a Corvette? …

      When the C7 was introduced, ADM was the norm and there were no test drives. Now nearly five years in you can get a garden variety Stingray for near 20% off list. This is typical of sports cars and the Supra will be the same way.

    • 0 avatar
      Cade Johnson

      Completely agree, though I’d add on top of it all that I’m fairly sure 50k only gets you into the 4 cylinder supra. The (detuned for some insane reason) b58 6 cylinder engine will likely be more like 60k. The vette is the clear choice here. You can even get into a c7 z06 for 60k without much trouble.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    As a previous Supra Turbo owner (a MKIII, in silver of course), I have stayed mum on these Supra discussions so far. I have been in agreement that the new one is not attractive, and the lack of a manual does it no favors. I will say that it looks a bit better in this dark silver color, though, so I will withhold final judgement until I see one in person.

    If I had to pick one though, I would probably pick a couple year old Jaguar F-Type, as it is the more attractive of the two, and they depreciate quickly. It’s not like I am tracking the car anyway. One of my friends has a Cayman, which I drove last year. It was nice, but oddly did not feel much different from my current Audi.

  • avatar
    gasser

    You’ve hit on another big reason that this niche isn’t as popular. 40-50 years ago when the Z-cars/Supra came out, the difference between a sedan and these sports cars was light years wide. Now, with the availability of many decent sports sedans (gee, even some decently handling high powered SUVs) the gulf between sports car and other vehicles isn’t worth the other compromises. Maybe at 500 hp? But at 335 hp??? The world has moved on and the day in the sun of the dedicated sports car has passed. The fact that two major manufacturers needed to partner up to make sense of the business plan, shows just how far the sports car concept has fallen.

    • 0 avatar

      They had 300 horsepower V8 sedans and coupes back in 2000, in the GS and SC. 35 horsepower improvement in 20 years at the cost of two less cylinders.

      Their own turbo I6 at the time was 276 hp.

      Are we really moving forward much anymore?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        GM 3.6 V6 in the Camaro produces what, 325 HP, 335 HP? No turbo (and the timing chain stretching issues were resolved years ago). Also isn’t the engine lighter than the BMW 3.0? (not a defense of the Camaro itself, which is an indefensible vehicle, just calling out you can get more power without boost or exotic massaging in a lighter package)

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          That V6 is a honey, sings sweet at 7500 rpm.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The Camaro V6 has 335hp, but despite being ~100lbs lighter it is slower than the M240i and the Supra should be faster than the 2-Series.

          I really don’t anticipate “too slow” being a big hurdle for the Supra.

          caranddriver.com/reviews/2016-chevrolet-camaro-v-6-automatic-review

          caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-bmw-m240i-coupe-automatic-tested-review

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Again – I am not defending the indefensible (the Camaro the car). I’m only calling out that you can get more ponies from a NA V6 than the boosted BMW engine without exotic massaging. There isn’t exactly anything, exciting, or exotic about the GM 3.6 lump.

            I call out the version in the Camaro specifically as the GM 3.6L V6 comes in flavors today from IIRC 285 HP to 335 HP and varying degrees of torque depending on what vehicle it is sitting in.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “I’m only calling out that you can get more ponies from a NA V6 than the boosted BMW engine without exotic massaging.”

            That’s accurate, but if the BMW engine/transmission combination results in a faster car (even when that car is slightly heavier) then I’m not sure it matters that much.

            I mean, yea 400hp wouldn’t be *bad* or anything. But, if the car actually does 0-60 in ~4.1 I don’t consider the 335hp a huge issue.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Focusing on peak power numbers doesn’t tell the full story.

            The 335 horsepower out of the GM V6 is naturally aspirated (peaky powerband) and accompanied by only 284 lb-ft of torque.

            The Supras turbo I6’s horsepower comes on earlier, and is accompanied by 365 lb-ft of torque.

            The difference can be seen in acceleration figures. In spite of only a 300lb or so weight advantage, the Supra has a 0-60 time of a second faster than the V6 Camaro.

            However, all of the above is rendered moot by the fact that the Camaro SS exists with performance figures very similar to the Supra for much less money.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Ford’s 3.0 turbocharged motor is cranking out 400 HP tuned for a freaking Explorer. The Camaro’s V6 has already been brought up. So yes, some manufacturers are moving forward. Others aren’t.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Thought this thing was going to be made by Magna Steyr in Austria, alongside the Jag I-Pace. But that VIN starts with W for West Germany and BMW does claim to make it on the plate.

    Have production plans changed? Anyone know?

    The BMW nutcases I know get DINAN tunes from California. The BMW warranty remains in effect which is why they have a captive market. Still, amping up the B58 to heroic proportions can already be done. The Stage One tune alone is 412 hp, 438 lb-ft of torque. That’ll make this crab scuttle.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    You can buy a base Cayman but you will have to order it and wait several months. Many people do but it’s because they want a peculiar combination of options that the dealer won’t stock because he thinks no one else will buy it.

  • avatar
    AdamOfAus

    Looks better than it’s cousin, the new Z4.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I see these being collectible but don’t think they will sell many copies.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I just got educated by a MKV Supra fanboi. Supra has a lot of performance goodies you’d have to pay a lot to get in its competitors. The question is whether or not the dealers will make good on selling at MSRP which seems unlikely.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      But you are paying for them…it is 50,000 bucks in it’s most base form. At that price a GT350 with gobs of performance goodies, a manual transmission, and 200+ extra HP for not much more money blows this thing out of the water.

      That is competition the MK IV didn’t have (late 90s Mustangs and Camaros weren’t even close). The MK IV brought legit supercar performance with Toyota reliability. This car isn’t even competitive with Mustangs and Camaros in that regard. Sad.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Supra is automatic-only; it loses to everything

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    The Jag looks and sounds incredible. That is the car I’d like to have of those here.

    Otherwise I’d rather have a Miata over all of them.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    I don’t need to wait until I see it in person – that swoop up into the rear quarter is ungainly. Looking from the front quarter view, what is that slot in the swoop towards the back of the door? Is it functional or is it akin to Landau bars on a 70’s sedan?

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    To answer the question posed in the article – I think thevM2 NOT the Z4 will be the most cross shopped. It’s a real sports car with a turbo inline 6, looks great, 400+ hp, and it starts a $58k with just about everything already included from the factory. Most Supras will be mid $50k avg transaction price anyway, and people in this spending category aren’t fretting over a few grand, let alone $10k.

    Other comments about the F-Type, Z51 Vette, and GT350 are all on the money but are getting older now and I don’t think thousands of people have been holding their breath on the Supra… not like we didn’t know everything about it for the last year now.

  • avatar
    trackratmk1

    There’s really nothing that unique about this car. If it had some interesting feature, like a hatch rear deck (F type), Targa top (mkiv Supra, Vette), manual trans (every car it will be shopped against), special interior, or big power (Challengers)… I could have been a convert with one or two truly unique features. I’ve owned two Supras yet I’m left feeling cold.

  • avatar
    V16

    Looks like the Supra along with the latest Buick Regal GS share very similar front seats.
    Same supplier?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    At the posh country clubs, a Toyota does not have the bragging rights that a Porsche has.
    I can hear the conversations at the bar after a round of golf:

    Member #1: “You wouldn’t believe the car Jim just bought”

    Others: “Noooooo, tell me!! A Bugatti?”

    Member #1: ” Of course not… a Toyota!!”

    Others: “A TOYATAAAA? Seriously, Jim purchased a Toyota?”

    Member #1, smirking: “Sure he did.”

    All Members burst in laughter.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Haven’t seen it mentioned but the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport is likely a direct competitor to the Supra.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    This will be out of production in 5-years when the BMW-style warranty claims, and/or repair bills start coming home to roost. Ironic given the 5-year long ‘introduction’ of the car. Toyota will say, “it was only meant to renew our ‘heritage.\'” BMW will say, “Those idiots at Toyota screwed around with our immaculate engineering.” One generation and done.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Uh it looks like someone punched it in the rear quarter panel and gave it a fat lip. Shame because from the front to the A pillar doesn’t look too bad. Those front seats look really familiar having just visited my Buick dealer this past weekend on a Regal GS. Shame about the BMW mechanicals. I think I’ll stick to the Stang/Camaro/Chally in that order when looking for my next muscle ride.


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