By on February 20, 2019

This one is sure to set tongues wagging and keyboards clacking. The return of the mighty Supra nameplate is — depending to whom you speak — either an abomination the likes of which the motoring world has never seen, or a wonderful harbinger of all things fun and sporty.

For the record, your author is in the latter camp. Don’t @ me.

Three trims of the are new Supra available at launch: Base 3.0, Premium 3.0, and a Launch Edition. Is the entry-level model worth a mention? Or should one proceed directly to one of the more expensive options?

The initial 1500 production Supras for the U.S. market will be Launch Edition models, prices at $55,250 and uniquely numbered with a carbon-fiber badge bearing the likeness of Akio Toyoda’s signature. Snazzy. But beyond any initial exclusivity, there is a better value to be had.

Base 3.0 models are priced at $49,990. I can think of a good many go-fast parts from a burgeoning aftermarket for this car that could be bought with the $5,260 price difference. All Supra coupes are powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine that produces 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Paying extra to the dealers nets you naught in terms of extra power. Entry-level models are also endowed with adaptive suspension, an active rear differential, and launch control.

2020 Supra MatteGrey 02

Sticking with the base car essentially means forgoing a set of leather seats and snazzier infotainment. If you can live without wireless Apple CarPlay, you’ll be just fine. A 12-speaker JBL audio system only serves to add weight anyway, right? Right.

And, yes, I’m well aware base Supra coupes will have different rims than the car in the snappy media image shown in today’s post. Unkind remarks about the Supra’s design, especially around its mouth, should be checked until one sees the thing with their own two eyes. In person, its lines and proportions work together wonderfully.

A raft of safety kit appears on the cheapest Supra. Standard features include the likes of forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure nannies, and automatic high beams. An $1,195 Driver Assist package adds adaptive cruise and the like. Leave it on the table.

Like it or lump it, the new Supra is here. All the Luddites decrying it as a tarted-up BMW are severely missing the point and should be forced to daily commute a Trabant for the next six months. As a statement of intent, the new Supra is a dandy. Combined with the 86, I think we are currently enjoying the best Toyota showroom in ages.

Feel free to yell at me in the comments. But you’ll still be wrong.

[Images: Toyota]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make our automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you’d like to see in our series? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer will probably sell for less.

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62 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Supra...”


  • avatar
    jimmyy

    10 years ago, this would sell. Now, the 20s and early 30s generation does not give a damn about what they drive as long as it is cheap and not too embarrassing. This Supra is a very nice vehicle, but, in the mind of a young person, it is too expensive. You see, the young people do not think pulling up in an expensive car has any value. In fact, many young people are embarrassed to spend a lot of money on any car because their friends will view that as a stupid decision. In my opinion, if Toyota came out with a “Base Delete” model that drove the price much lower, than this would sell. Otherwise, it is a great vehicle for the last generation.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Luckily for Toyota, this car was not made for young people. It was made for people with money. Also, if you think young people don’t appreciate expensive cars anymore, you haven’t been to your local C&C lately.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Here is Southern California, the Supra was always a young person’s sports car … a young person with money. The 40s and up crowd with money looking for a sports car seem to go 911. This is the way it always works. Since young people with money tend to have less money than the 40s and up demographic, for the Supra to sell, I think it needs to be down somewhere in the high 30s.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree, too rich for a lot of people’s blood.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            For reference, 1998 Supra base automatic with naturally aspirated engine that made for a leisurely pairing with the automatic was $47,992 adjusted for inflation. Turbo automatic Supra MKIV was $59,882.75 adjusted for inflation. That being said, the last Supra was a Toyota. It matched this BMW’s performance twenty years ago and was built to last twenty years. This thing is like pouring Jameson into an Eagle Rare bottle and then trying to pass it off as ten year old bourbon.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            ToddAtlasF1, back in the 90s, in Southern California, I knew people on their first job out of college who bought Supras. Lower end models were rolling out of the Toyota dealers at just under 30K. I looked at one back then, but decided not to buy.
            I cheaped out and bought a Accord. New hire engineers were making about 90K.

            Now, new hire engineers are not getting all that much more than that, but the Supra is almost 50K? The math is just not there, inflation adjusted or not.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      I’m 43, love sports cars, and could buy this but would not for 2 reasons:

      1) For the most part the current styling trend is not attractive in my opinion and this car’s looks do nothing for me. The 90’s Supra, for example, seem to be so much easier on the eyes.

      2) No manual transmission.

      Maybe I’m old school but those are a deal breaker for me.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I’m 34 and could afford this car also, but have absolutely no interest in it. It’s also not because I’m afraid to drive something flashy or expensive looking.

        I think it is a real styling miss, and to the author’s point, I have seen it in person. The epitome of overstyled. Automatic only is annoying but not necessarily a deal breaker for me anymore.

        My biggest issue though is trying to understand the value proposition of this thing. For the same money I could be driving a C7 or a GT350, either of which should bury this on street, strip, or road course. Even the BMW version gives you the snob appeal for those who care about that sort of thing (I don’t). If it had opened at $39,990 rather than $49,990 it might be worth a look. As it is, I think you can do better elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I’m 36 and in now way can afford this. That said, while I dont exactly find it attractive, it isnt bad looking. The lack of a manual would absolutely be a deal breaker. A sports car that’s automatic only? Not gonna fly.

        A 4 cylinder with a manual, though, wouldnt be off the table. With a much lower MSRP, of course. Until then, the 86 is the only Toyota I’d consider, no matter the price.

        • 0 avatar
          namesakeone

          I agree with Jimmyy, 28 Cars Later, etc: This car is probably too expensive for a lot of young people. Which is why, like the Infiniti G37, it will be a very popular used car among younger people, several years from now. Not very good for Toyota, except as an image booster, sort of like an expensive Corolla AE86.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think it will be interesting to watch how it pans out but I predict it will maintain steady resale and remain too expensive for most in the aftermarket. I will be curious to see if the market treats it more like a Toyota than a BMW (which it really is).

  • avatar
    tylanner

    This is what Miata owners dream of at night. In fantasy land I’d buy this car for a street legal track monster. Never going to be outright quick as a 1LE or GT350 but it will look damn good doing it.

    Lust-worthy.

  • avatar

    At first glance I see a Z4, every time. (*just back from a quick search and the verdict is in : I am not alone)

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    “Combined with the 86, I think we are currently enjoying the best Toyota showroom in ages.”

    I won’t argue with that point…and that is sadly the case.

    By the way, I see the Supra as a Z4 with a catfish face.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I haven’t seen one in person, nor (obviously) have driven one, but I’m glad to see anything sporting coming to market these days.

    That price is venturing into Porsche 718 territory, and I suspect the Supra will turn in similar sales numbers, which is to say small. It makes good sense to share a platform with another carmaker for these low volume cars.

  • avatar
    Hogey74

    They’re doing a 3 liter straight six atmo? Wow. Suddenly I am interested in one of these. A straight six, but is a manual available anywhere? I’m in Australia, so if they’re at least doing them for RHD… these things are then going to be on my list. Otherwise they’re more of a nostalgia GT for older people whereas I’m thinking of a sweet revving thing to throw around like an MX5 for people who want more power.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m in love with the proportions and sheetmetal of this thing. 10/10, would buy.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Former Supra Turbo owner here. I certainly like that it’s coming back, personally I feel like from the side it looks too much like an FRS, and the front is kinda aping a 2006 WRX. Still wanna drive one :)

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      Another former Supra (turbo) owner here, and I too am not particularly interested in this one. Of course, I am 28 years older now than I was when I bought mine, and this looks too much like a young man’s car, whereas I thought that the ’89 that I had looked very classy, not at all like a Camaro or Mustang.

      Of course, I did not like the styling of the Audi TT when it came out either, and I still ended up buying one to replace my Supra when it became a decade or so old.

      Yes, it was Toyota reliable, but I did not have any significant issues with my TT or my current Audi in the first ten years of ownership either. The only BMW I have personal experience with is my wife’s Mini Cooper S, and that has been reliable too.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    BMW drivers only care about the badge, which is missing. Toyota drivers want cars made by Toyota. What’s the point of a car that’s neither engineered nor built to Toyota standards yet doesn’t wear the badge that superficial customers are looking for? Why is Toyota selling so many cars from lesser car companies? They might be in just as self-destructive mood as Ford and GM.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Best showroom in ages??

    I’m in the nope category.

    In the early 90’s Toyota had the MR2, Celica in GT and convertible trim, the best small truck ever made, Supra (though spendy) Camry was interesting then as well. I am sure i am missing something, but this was when Toyota was on a completely different level than any other manufacturer. IMHO of course, your thoughts may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      Gedrven

      Previa, Land Cruiser, and in ROW, *Ace (HiAce, MasterAce, TownAce, and all their goofy-named variations), and I’m sure I’m forgetting something too, but otherwise you nailed it: Toyota circa 1994 is IMO about as good a showroom as has ever been. A quarter-century later, we see less (if still good) build quality, more weight, interesting models have (not vanished but) decreased, and styling has gone off the deep end. This Zupra seems a poster child of the aforementioned “progress”.

      There may, unfortunately, be a case for 2019 being the best Toyota showroom since 2000 or so.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I want so much to love this…but want and reality are not matching up. How do I support Toyota and BMW doing what it takes to keep bringing sports cars to market (thank God), without buying one? I don’t have the answer to that question yet.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Can’t fathom why I would pick this over a Mustang GT or Camaro SS.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I don’t like the frowny Mustang’s sheetmetal and the Camaro’s design makes it a chore to drive. The “float-tie” is also a bad look IMO. However, from the other comments, I’m one of the few people smitten by the exterior of the Supra.

      If the Supra’s acceleration stats (at least 0-60, quarter mile, 0-100) are within .3 of the V8 pony cars then I’d be okay. Slower than that might be an issue.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Nicely equipped V8 pony cars MSRP at a good $10K cheaper than this as well. That to me is the real issue. If they cost the same, you could at least justify the Supra on lower weight, styling (subjective of course), I-6 powertrain, Toyota/BMW fandom, or any number of legitimate reasons. At the actual price delta (not even taking into account discounts on the domestics and inevitable dealer markups on the Toyota) it really seems like a tough sell. That said, I hope I’m wrong because I’m never sad to see more performance options hit the market.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Or if you feel like living dangerously, go to Lebanon Ford and buy a turbo base Mustang GT.

          Still world’s cheaper than the Supra.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          If it’s within tenths acceleration-wise then I could justify the price difference for the things I like about it over the pony cars.

          Beyond their V8 engines, I don’t really even like the Mustang and Camaro, so they wouldn’t be a shopping factor for me even with their impressive performance/$. I don’t like the Cayman either. So it’s basically C7 vs Supra.

          However, it is notable that I seem to be pretty much the only person on TTAC interested in buying a Supra. So things aren’t looking bright for it.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “However, it is notable that I seem to be pretty much the only person on TTAC interested in buying a Supra. So things aren’t looking bright for it.”

            Notably how many people here are looking at buying a RAV4? Don’t take the B&Bs desires as indicator of actual sales performance.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “So it’s basically C7 vs Supra”

            Tough one.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Or for the married man; a Hellcat Charger. Four doors and child seats; ya know?

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Mustang does not feel like a sportscar. It’s way too boatish. Camaro feels better but has disappointing design and ergonomic factors that make it a no go for me.

      Haven’t driven a Supra but I expect it to feel more like a sportscar than the Camaro or the Mustang. What I don’t like about the car is the lack of a manual option.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    The Zupr4 IS a tarted-up BMW – and not a particularly attractive tart. I actually think you’ve made a good case for shelling out the extra 5k for the top trim – looks like cheaping out for no good reason to do otherwise. Assuming, of course, that for some strange reason one felt compelled to actually buy this thing.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    How do you make an AOB argument without giving the MSRP of all trim levels, not just the base and top, giving a comprehensive assessment of the differing equipment levels in those cars, and a comprehensive assessment of the standalone options? As in, “comprehensive,” not the cherry-picked highlights and lowlights mentioned here.

    Also, “I can think of a good many go-fast parts from a burgeoning aftermarket for this car that could be bought with the $5,260 price difference.”

    Seriously? This car is barely out and it has a burgeoning aftermarket? How does it compare to the aftermarket for the cars that everyone here is shopping it against – the Mustang and the Camaro? Or any BMW, including the Z4?

    Also, not going to pay $50k plus probably ADM and not even have Apple CarPlay. Cars costing like $18k have Apple CarPlay standard.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      It’s “wireless” CarPlay that you’re giving up, which is a thing BMW does. They also charge you an annual subscription fee to use that wireless feature. I wonder if that carried over to the Toyota as well?

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I could live without the infotainment stuff but I would want leather seats.

    The ideal Supra for me would be a decent radio, leather and a manual. It has enough power to make it fun and if it is balanced as good as it wounds it would be a fun car.

    I guess I will stick with my old car.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I’d be interested in it if it had vestigial rear seats for the school run. If going 2 seat only route I’d have to be convinced not to buy a C7 because I think it looks better and has a manual.
    They really should’ve put their new DI 3.5L V6 in this chassis for the base model and offer a true Ace of Base.
    They should’ve superized the 86 with the 2.5L DI 4cyl and call it a day. I don’t think most would notice the higher center of gravity not having a pancake 4 (which sounds horrible anyway) and not even messed with designing this.
    I’m afraid this is going to be more of an LF-A type of design exercise that no one really buys.

  • avatar
    HelloWorld

    So Toyota has taken the BMW Z4 Zagato Concept that BMW apparently didn’t want and modified it slightly and now calls it the Supra?

    https://www.express.de/image/4485168/2×1/940/470/212cf4ef6d0014ecfaf54db413806910/JX/la-ra-mo-bmw-zagato-5-jpg.jpg

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    “All the Luddites decrying it as a tarted-up BMW are severely missing the point and should be forced to daily commute a Trabant for the next six months.”

    The sentence should be being forced to drive an Ecosport for 6 months.

    Reading through the comments here is quite sad. Why not get a Mustang, Corvette, or Camaro? Or what else? This type of thinking is the reason that’s all that’s left.
    We all beg for something different, someone builds it, and we declare anyone who buys it an idiot for not buying the normal thing instead. We are getting the CUV future we deserve.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Value my friend. No one buying a Supra is buying due to its luxurious amenities. This is far removed from a Camaro or Mustang, but not many people are willing to believe it’s worth $10,000-15,000 more than a V8 Camaro or Mustang.

      I like the idea of an inline 6 and this car as it is, but the instant they say “turbo” it’s worth at least $10k less in my head.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    Very interesting video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jbyzmtgU_0

    BMW performance+Toyota Reliability=Toyota Supra

  • avatar
    Highway Cruiser

    Supra is boring as hell, but yes, kind of reliable. no thank you

    P/S/ “But you’ll still be wrong.” of course you’re the only one who is right here

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    For what Toyota wants for a base Supra, you can just go out and pick up a nice MarkIV, which is what most Supra fans really want anyway.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I will forever ask, ‘You built the legendary 2JZ-TE, and you let the other guy supply the engine for this?’ This will sell very well to 40-ish Fast and Furious fans with some coin, two years from now special lease financing, five years from now, out of production. Toyota will say it was only built to ‘honour the legend.’ Anyone encountering a Launch edition will say, who the F is Akio Toyoda? Sad, because since I got my Lexus, I’ve become a big fan of Toyota.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    If you honestly believe an automatic-only *say it louder for those in the back* AUTOMATIC-ONLY BMW from an era where BMWs are devoid of all driving pleasure is “a wonderful harbinger of all things fun and sporty,” then I know how much weight to assign to anything you say from here on out.

  • avatar
    gglockster

    I’m pretty much “done” with BMW. As much as I like BMW’s I6, the electronic nightmare BMW calls a car has me throwing in the towel. I’m interested in this car. I’d like to see how it rides and how reliable it is. Assuming I can fit my 6′ frame in comfort and it reflects Toyota reliability, it at least makes my short list.
    Sure, I’d like a stick and a car of beauty. I’m ok with sacrificing this since I’m on the inside and not gawking on the outside. Also at least I’m driving the car instead of some AI.

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    Ace of base? This aces nothing.

    I’ll reserve esthetic judgment, fine, but I have no reservations about deriding this thing as obese, lazy, and irrelevant. Two pedals, the bigger of which is redundant since the car will brake when it feels like it anyway, and 3400 pounds? In a two-seat RWD sports car with an aluminum 3-liter engine? I know there are mandatory safety standards, but surely this goes above and beyond, straight into the realm of bad engineering.

    I pity a generation of gearheads who grow up thinking that this is what a performance car is supposed to be.

    FT86 was one answer to a particular market demand, hamstrung by a lack of power. This is another answer, fixing the power problem but inexplicably adding two bigger ones. Maybe they’ll get it right on the third try? We want power *and* driver involvment. Treat the 86 like the 80’s Celica: stretch it a bit and give it a turbo flat-6, but for Pete’s sake keep it under 3k (86 is ~2800; this should be doable) and with 3 pedals.


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