Yes, the BMW has a more powerful version of the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, and I was among the first to voice my opinion on this matter. Toyota claims the new Supra has a stiffer and more rigid chassis than the Lexus LF-A, and that’s saying a lot. Honestly, if the supposedly inferior chassis of the LF-A can handle a stonking 4.8-liter V10 motor with 560 horsepower, what’s holding back Toyota from giving the Supra more oomph?
When you think about it, my arguments are valid. But then again, I’m acting based on emotion. From a more technical and tangible perspective, I’m beginning to think the 2020 Toyota Supra is the best Toyota sports car yet; and this is despite the things I find wrong with it – which I’ll be talking more about in a bit.
2020 Toyota Supra: Out With The Old
Naturally, I’m expecting the new Supra to be faster and more agile than the previous-gen A80 Supra. The new model has approximately 15 more horsepower than the 2JZ-GTE, and it also has a lighter body. The old Supra had semi-functional rear seats while the new model is strictly a two-plus-two, so I think the new Supra is more of a proper sports car than the old model. I can’t help but think if Toyota purposely went out of its way to wimp out the new Supra to, perhaps, glorify the Z4. I know it sounds ridiculous and that would be totally missing the point.
Let’s look at the nearest competitor of the Supra: the Nissan Skyline GT-R. Before the sixth-gen GT-R came bashing in with its 565 horsepower, turbocharged V6 motor, the fifth-generation Skyline with the RB26DETT inline-six only had 330 horsepower in stock form. That’s a huge jump! And now, the Nissan GT-R is regarded by many as a proper supercar.
Admittedly, I was expecting the new Supra to do the same. Instead, Toyota is talking about balance and how you don’t need a gazillion horsepower to have fun. The funny thing is, they’re right.
Power When You Need It Most
It’s foolish to talk about the Supra’s new inline-six motor without paying homage to the iconic 2JZ-GTE. That engine catapulted the Fast and the Furious movie franchise to dizzying heights. If you had an A80 Supra back in the day, not even a Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6 is fast enough to catch up, and we’re talking stock versus stock.
Naturally, Supra fans were expecting a revival of the 2JZ-GTE. I wouldn’t bat an eyelash if Toyota shoehorned a proper Japanese motor in the Supra for obvious reasons. But instead, the new Supra gets a BMW-derived 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six with continuously variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. It produces 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft. of torque, which sounds measly compared to the 382 horsepower in the BMW Z4.
But with an eight-speed automatic and active differential between the rear wheels, the 2020 Toyota Supra is no slouch. In fact, it is faster than expected. Depending on grip levels and weather conditions, the new Supra can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 to 4.1 seconds. It scoots towards the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds.
When you think about it, these performance numbers are inching towards the Chevrolet Corvette, BMW M2 Competition, and Porsche Cayman GTS. The new Supra is basically a muscle car at heart!
Sporty Stance & Precise Handling
The 2020 Toyota Supra has the styling elements of the FT-1 Concept, albeit in a more subdued manner. Thankfully, the production model retains those bulbous rear haunches to give the new Supra an aura of sophistication. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think the new Supra looks cleaner in the rear.
Toyota GAZOO Racing envisioned the new Supra as having a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, and a lower center of gravity. As a result, the Supra today is riding on a new, double-joint spring front suspension with aluminum control arms. The rear consists of a multi-link rear setup with steel and aluminum components. All Supra models have variable-assist and variable ratio, sport-tuned electric power steering and an adaptive variable suspension.
In order to enhance grip, the wheels and tires in the rear are wider. Those 19-inch forged alloys come with 255/35R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires in the front, and 275/35/R19 in the rear.
2020 Toyota Supra Trim Levels
The 2020 Supra is available in two grades: 3.0 and 3.0 Premium. Both models have the same powertrain. The difference is on the inside. The lower 3.0 grade has Alcantara seats and a 6.5-inch center display with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. Options include a navigation system and premium JBL audio for an additional $2,400. The Supra 3.0 starts at $49,990.
The Supra 3.0 Premium gets a larger, 8.8-inch touchscreen display with navigation, Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto at the moment), a 12-speaker JBL audio system, heated leather seats, wireless charging, Supra Connect telematics services, and a color heads-up display. This model starts at $53,990.
Convenience & Safety Features
Standard on both is a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless smart entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, rear camera, power-folding mirrors, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors. The new Supra comes with a bevy of standard safety features, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high beams. The Driver Assist Package is optional and includes blind spot monitoring, full-speed adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, and parking sonar.
There’s also a Supra Launch Edition at $55,250. This model comes with red mirror caps, 19-inch forged matte black alloy wheels, carbon fiber interior accents, and a red or black-themed cabin.
Color My World
There’s no doubt the 2020 Toyota Supra is still a fun sports car, and the paint colors make it even more so. The palette includes Renaissance Red 2.0, Downshift Blue, Phantom Matte Gray, and Nitro Yellow. If you wish for a more subdued look, go for Absolute Zero White, Nocturnal Black, Turbulence Gray, or Tungsten Silver.
Things We Don’t Exactly Like
There aren’t many, but we have a few caveats. First is the non-availability of a proper manual transmission. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the eight-speed automatic is a delight to drive.
However, if Toyota gave the 86 a six-speed manual, would it hurt for the Supra to get one too?
Next is the interior. It pretty much resembles the cockpit of a BMW. This is not a deal breaker for most people, but many of the buttons and switchgear are clearly out of place in a Japanese sports car. More worrying are the expected maintenance costs given the nature of a car like the Supra. The Toyota name is known for two things: reliability and durability. Admittedly, it will be interesting to see if the new Supra lives up to the bulletproof reliability of the brand. We will find out when it goes on sale in July.
Despite all this, the 2020 Toyota Supra is probably the best Toyota sports car ever made. It’s not the all-conquering hyper beast we’ve come to expect, nor is it the prettiest or the most exclusive among exotic sports cars. Yet, the Toyota Supra is still properly quick and agile without giving the driver an overwhelming sense of danger. It delivers the type of balance that normal drivers can enjoy each time behind the wheel.
And at the end of the day, isn’t this what we want from a Japanese sports car?
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.