By: Jag Dhatt
Twenty-one years – that’s how long it had been for the Toyota Supra to make a return to the roads and boy, and for some, the wait was worth it. If any of you younger folks remember the 1998 Supra, you’ll remember an expensive import tuner car that had some nice curves and that high wing at the back. You’ll also remember it as THE car in the original Fast & Furious movie franchise, racing against the black Ferrari.
For 2020, the car is a joint effort of both BMW and Toyota and while some may find the marriage odd, the child it produced is fantastic.
So, let’s get some basics out of the way. Yes, the 2020 Supra is similar, very similar, to the new BMW Z4 roadster. In fact, it’s got the same chassis, the same 3.0L turbocharged six-cylinder and the same ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. Yes, I can already hear the groans and moans. What? No manual? Nope. Even the Supra’s sibling, the 86, has a manual; however, the collaboration produced only one transmission. But don’t fret as I’ll discuss later, it’s actually pretty darn good. Even in the cabin, there’s a strong BMW presence, but it had to be because of the engine. iDrive had to be used to manage the software and hardwire handshake.
Now for the differences. In terms of pure design and looks, this car can be polarizing. Personally, I loved the look and from my experiences on where I drove, so did most of the onlookers. In fact, when I dropped my girls off to school (one by one, of course), almost everyone did a double take. Even some teachers came out to look. And yes, the bright yellow paint helped make this sports coupe flashy. The 2020 Supra only comes as a coupe, separating itself from the convertible Z4. I can’t say it enough, but for me, every angle of this car is gorgeous.
The interior of the new Supra is a nice mix of mostly BMW and some Toyota. A couple of my friends wished it was more Supra-ish, but they weren’t true Supra purists. This two-seater is definitely driver focused, and has some great features, like an 8” touchscreen, 14-way adjustable seats, heads-up display, carbon fibre inserts and a really nicely built and well-placed wireless charging dock. The only knock on the interior is its dark scheme; whereas the exterior is flashy and bright, the interior all black with white stitching. A matching colour scheme would have been better.
Where the Supra really shines is on the road, and we’re not talking about its looks alone. Even though this Toyota shares the same 3.0L turbocharged six as the Z4, the Supra feels faster because, according to Toyota brass, there’s more lower end torque. And trust me, it’s apparent. There’s 335 HP and 365 lb-ft of torque that all gets pumped to the rear wheels. Again, as alluded to before, the only gripe is the transmission and I wish there was a manual option. Nevertheless, the automatic is sweet and shifts through the gears quickly. Use the paddle shifters and now you’ve got a real sweet drive. Although I didn’t have the chance to take properly timed 0 – 100 km/h run times, I trust the official numbers at 4.3 seconds to be accurate.
Steering is precise. Point the steering where you want to go and the Supra’s front wheels don’t disappoint. The rear wheel setup is perfect and provides the right amount of support for the car to deliver great performance on the road or on the track.
I drove the Supra for a week and, as a daily driver, it felt great in Normal mode. When I needed the exhaust to be throatier and the car to provide more oomph, I just put it into Sport mode and away I went. In Sport, the active suspension is stiffer and the gear shifts are that much sharper. There is also Sport Individual mode that allows the setting to be customizable. And to stop, the Brembo brakes, although not cross-drilled, perform like Brembo brakes should – amazingly.
The seating position in the Supra is perfect and although some may find it tight, it worked for me. The seats provided great support; I stayed firmly planted when taking some tight turns at higher speeds. Controls for infotainment and HVAC are well placed and again, they are, as expected, BMWish. As some of you may know, I’m an audiophile and love to listening to music while driving; it’s my alone time to enjoy cars, especially cars like the Supra. Toyota and Lexus have a great partnership with JBL and the Supra is fitted with a 500-watt, 12 speaker sound system that delivers some great listening experiences.
I’ve got very few gripes with the 2020 Toyota Supra – yes, I wish the cabin had more of a Toyota feel, but it won’t be a deterrent to any buyer.
Toyota made buying the Supra very simple – there’s only one package. So, choose your colour, sign the papers, and drive it away. And the price is attractive, at only $65K.
Some have complained that the new Supra might be having an identity crisis, but I beg to differ. Rather than focusing on that aspect of the vehicle, I suggest that you get behind the wheel, buckle in and drive the car. Then you’ll realize that the 2020 Supra is worthy of the name. If the looks alone don’t get you, trust me, the driving will. Two thumbs up!!!