Itâs too much a BMW, they say. It doesnât feel like a real Supra, thanks to all those German parts underneath. Others (understandably) whined about teaser fatigue, or complained about the carâs styling.
While subjective complaints about a carâs looks are understandable, and while I understand the complaints about the new Supra not being Toyota enough (I did ask for a percentage breakdown of Toyota/BMW parts content; the company politely declined to comment), all of the noise ignored one thing â what itâs like to actually drive the damn thing.
(Full disclosure: Toyota flew me to Virginia, put me in a hotel room thatâs larger than some studio apartments in New York City, and fed me several meals. The company also turned me loose on track at Summit Point and offered a water bottle and Michelin, which provides the carâs tires, offered a visor.)
My report may not placate the screaming masses, but then, nothing likely will. Itâs the Internet, after all. But for those forum-dwellers who actually care, I can say that when the flag drops and the bullshit stops, the Supra is quite delightful.
On road, drive mode set to normal, the Supra is docile enough for daily driving, but the 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque from the BMW-sourced twin-scroll turbo 3.0-liter inline-six is just a flick of the throttle away. Switch things to Sport mode, and the 8-speed automatic transmission holds lower gears like a champ, and the exhaust suddenly comes alive with cracks, burbles, and backfires that were merely hinted at moments before.
On track, the Supraâs electric power steering felt a bit light, but that turned out to be a good thing on a modified version of the Shenandoah Circuit at Summit Point, which has a section that requires a quick left-right-left maneuver. It was also easy to make mid-corner corrections.
Toyota emphasized the Supraâs 50/50 weight distribution and reminded us that balance was the goal. The end result is a car that will let you wag the tail, but is also easily catchable. I encountered oversteer a handful of times (my track runs were in Sport mode, and I usually left the safety nannies on, although I did one run with traction control off) and it was never of the snap variety. One time, the slide was so gentle that it took me a second to notice and adjust.
Understeer did occur on one or two occasions in which I braked a bit too late coming into a tight corner â not surprising, as all the weight is transferred to the front in that scenario. Generally, though, the Supra was as balanced as advertised, and easy enough to control. You can even adjust the line with the throttle with ease.
The front suspension is a double-joint type MacPherson strut setup, while out back itâs a multi-link setup with five-arm construction. The Supra has adaptive dampers as standard. Toyota used an aluminum hood and doors to keep weight down, but the car still weighs 3,397 pounds â more than some versions of the Honda Accord.
Power came on boil almost immediately, and the brakes never offered up any fade as the day went along, although the fronts were smoking after I pitted following one session.
The noise made by an upshift at full zoot is almost worth the price of admission alone. I did find a shady spot on a public road where I could mat the throttle without pissing off the neighbors â or the West Virginia police â and the Supra scooted away from rest with the kind of acceleration that makes you grin, while displaying more than a little tail wag.
Supra looked better in person than in photos â the double-bubble roof reminded me a bit of the old Dodge Viper coupe, and the nose, apparently inspired by F1 cars, looks much more coherent up close. Itâs a head-turning car, in a good way. Worth noting: Most of the aero bits (such as the cooling ducts) are cosmetic, not functional.
The interior, however, is a different story. Itâs pure BMW. Photo comparisons show that itâs not the same layout as that of the Z4 (upon which the Supra shares much of its bones), but itâs all Bimmer nonetheless. The infotainment controls are basically iDrive, the buttons are all Teutonic. Even the steering wheel, which bears a Toyota badge (of course), is clearly borrowed from BMW. So is the shifter. Adding insult to injury, the nav/infotainment system is tacked atop the dash. I did, however, appreciate the driverâs knee pad â it makes track driving more comfortable. No more banging oneâs knee during left-hand cornering.
Itâs not a bad cabin, and itâs comfortable â the seats are snug enough for track driving without sacrificing on-road comfort â and itâs understandable, from an economics perspective, why Toyota would simply use the BMW trappings. But I get why some folks cried foul: It doesnât feel very Toyota/Supra to use another OEMâs interior controls.
Getting in and out of the cockpit will prove challenging for taller drivers â I constantly whacked my noggin, even before donning a helmet for the track festivities. And thereâs not much in-cabin storage. Oh, and thereâs no exterior release for the hatch.
If youâre not tired of teasers and/or put off by the Germanic cabin, you can snag a Supra for $49,990 to start, plus the $930 destination fee.
Since all trims are mechanically similar, the biggest differences are comfort, convenience, and cosmetic. The base car comes with Alcantara seats, Bluetooth, and iPod capability, 19-inch wheels (shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires), keyless entry and starting, heated and folding exterior sideview mirrors, LED exterior lighting all around, rain-sensing wipers, active dual exhaust with brushed stainless steel tips, dual-zone climate control, and driverâs knee pad. Premium audio and nav can be added for $2,460. A driver-assist package that includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, parking sonar, and rear cross-traffic alert is available on the base car (and the other trims) for $1,195.
Standard active safety features include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and lane-departure warning with steering assist.
The next trim up from the base Supra is the Premium trim, which adds a larger infotainment screen, navigation, premium audio, wireless Apple CarPlay support, telematics, wireless cell-phone charging, heated seats, leather seats, and color head-up display.
Toyota is also offering 1,499 Launch Edition models (technically, 1,500, but the first one was already sold at auction). Available in white, black, or red, these cars will have matte black wheels and red mirror caps. White and black cars get a red interior, while red cars get a black interior. Each comes with carbon-fiber accents, and all Launch Edition cars will get a numbered badge signed by Akio Toyoda.
Premium cars will set you back $53,990 before D and D and options, while the Launch Edition, which offers the driverâs assist package as an option, starts at $55,250.
Porscheâs Cayman is the obvious target for Supra, but its pricing puts in range of the Corvette Stingray, the Audi S5, and the higher-performance pony cars. Of course, the âVette offers V8 power, while the pony cars also have V8s along with rear seats (sort of) and different missions, so the amount of cross-shopping among these vehicles may be negligible. Other options that Supra buyers may consider include the BMW M240i, the Z4 itself, of course, and the V6 version of the Jaguar F-Type.
I have yet to drive the Cayman, so I canât tell you if Toyota hit that target, but I can say the Supra is, when stripped of all the noise, a damn good sports car. The BMW interior is a letdown, but that disappointment disappears at speed.
Sure, the A90 generation of Supra isnât pure Toyota. Thing is, does that matter? I donât care for iDrive all that much, either, but itâs not like Toyota interiors are sexier or more functional than BMW cabins these days. Not to mention that the inline-six is smooth as silk and provides plenty of punch.
Forget about the complaints from the keyboard warriors. The Supra, judged on its own merits, is a pretty solid two-seat sports car for under $60K (assuming no dealer shenanigans).
I think we’ll start seeing more of these “mixed-lineage” specialty cars going forward, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing if they’re good to drive, which this car apparently is.
I’m happy for the lineage because there is little chance Toyota is making an I-6 just for this car. Tuners have been getting over 500 hp out of BMW engines for $1500 in parts for years.
The reduced HP number over the BMW twin is just that (reliability), for the Toyota anyway. All bets are off once the boost gets cranked
Random comparison……..If you’ve driven an ATS-V coupe, how does this compare? The Cadillac has a $10k higher starting price but deals can be had to bring them in line price-wise. Based on numbers and the fact the V coupe is in reality a 2 seater, seems like they might compare. I’m not sold on the styling of the Supra yet, but perhaps it’ll grow on me.
I don’t think the criticisms of this car are illegitimate, but they don’t really impact me either. I’m dirty two-pedal driving scum and neither a big Toyota/classic Supra fan nor sour on BMWs.
Overall, I’m very interested in this car and can’t think of what’s obviously a better alternative. I like Corvettes, but the C7’s 8A is proving troublesome and the C8 will likely cost more than I want to spend. On the new side, there’s basically just the 10A Mustang/Camaro and the M240i. Things open up if 2-4YO stuff gets included, but that kind of becomes a different argument.
I still don’t like it. The BMW interior and wheel are particularly offensive to me, on a car which already had an exterior of disappointment.
I didn’t know it got that high gas mileage. It definitely looks better in lighter colors. There’s a neighbor of some close friends of ours that has a pristine MKIII turbo , that’s unmolested. I see it parked outside all the time, despite the owner having a 4 car garage. Sadly, that wedge shape will never return unfortunately due to pedestrian crash standards and the general lack of design talent OEMs are stuck with.
I like the looks of it. If GM screws up the ‘Vette, which they probably will, this thing may be the closest one can get to the outgoing ‘Vettes.
Buying a car this small and tightly would with a slushbox, makes no sense to me at all, but some people obviously don’t mind that.
I fully anticipate GM pushing the next Camaro upmarket to fill the C7âs niche if theyâre making the Corvette mid-engined only.
Is an official execution order signed on the C7? GM has shown more than once they’ll keep an older platform going in parallel with the new one (W-Body Impala sold side-by-side and same model year as Epsilon II is one example).
For the Camaro, the interior remains so Coleman cooler it is going to be a significant undertaking to move it upscale. That and the painful existence one will have if using the Camaro as a daily (as a track warrior, it is brilliant, day-to-day, awful).
GM has announced the final C7 will be auctioned off next month. I think it would make a lot of sense to run both together, but apparently they don’t agree.
Isn’t the Vette the only car built at that factory? If so, how would they be able to produce two very different models at the same plant?
The Camaro is a very different vehicle than the ‘Vette. Completely different segment. Camaro is for young hothead making dope runs with 3 mates. Vette for empty nesters no longer needing even a token backseat, but who still need to bring their Hartman cases to Vegas.
A mid engine ‘Vette? Aside from an initial flurry of the easily impressed, I really don’t know. Trump perhaps, if he wants to be seen “buying American.”
Most of the hate that I see for this car on SupraForums isn’t because it’s an objectively-bad sports car.
Will follow the same path as the 86. Pent up demand created by the Toyota marketing machine will drive, “shut up and take my money,” sales for 12 to 18 months, and then they will crash to earth.
The 800-pound elephant in the room is modern BMW mechanical longevity with Toyota badges on it. As these cars crest 50K miles (or less if used for their designed purpose) the wails of foul are likely going to increase and be loud. when the BMW grade maintenance costs kick in — without the benefit of the BMW cachet.
What? Are you suggesting that BMW’s stock engine internals aren’t up to having the boost pumped up to triple the power levels? You make it sound like Toyotas don’t need new cooling systems every six years or have interior trim that falls off if you park in the sun on a humid day. Toyota is really messing around with their brand. With the plummeting of Honda quality, they’re on the verge of owning the list of models that stay in their first owners’ hands the longest. Now they’re putting their name on cars that most people only rent when they’re new.
The bmw interior is a bit disappointing to say the least. It appears the only ounce of care was the Toyota badge on the steering wheel. Imagine call with the supplier…you want me to do what?
I am pleasantly surprised at the pricing, which I have not given a second of research. 50k seems reasonable, seems like the last supra was much costlier in todays dollars. To counter Tim’s C7 point, if one is patient I am certain that a C7 can be had for a song once the C8 arrives.
Oh, and as to the dealer shenanigans…you can bet their will be serious tomfoolery with Supra pricing.
It looks better in the flesh than photos, you say. Thank goodness for that – it could hardly look worse! Cartoon fantasy as it stands, a mug only an Akio could love and with a duckbill platypus rear spoiler for bad measure, almost as big as a fake Lincoln Continental tire kit from the ’50s. Mercedes started the pagoda roof with the 230SL way back in the sixties, btw, but somehow, somehow they managed to avoid poor taste. Imagine that.
Where’s the missing horsepower from the Z4 which puts out over 380? If you delve into the matter, seems BMW kept the good engine for itself, and it’s more than software turbo boost increase in the difference.
If a dealer wants more than list for this thing, walk away. A Honda S2000 type original it ain’t. A BMW M240i is this beast’s competitor if you want a tin top and it has the same 335 hp engine – just went on their website, and it can be equipped with a 6 speed manual. Sometimes it’s better to buy an original rather than an ersatz concoction. No doubt the newer chassis with its wider track is a bit better in the Supra and it does have an LSD, but who wants to look like a pseud driving around in this goof-up? Apart from the body and maybe some bushing changes, the Supra is pure BMW and all the Toyota boasting about how they sweated this and that detail can be taken with a grain of salt. Wait until your average Toyota mechanic gets his hands on it. The mind boggles – they are useless with the FR-S beyond oil changes.
I saw/read/heard somewhere that engineers at Toyota, after disassembling the engine, lowered HP output for longevity.
Toyota should have brought back the 2JZ and just tech’d the F out of it; twin scroll, vvt, direct injection, aftercooler, whatever! OR, how about a twin-turbo tried & true 2GR? Anything is better than this POS BMW lump of junk.
The price is a joke – Toyota is banking on some nostalgic customers to run out and buy these, but in fact they’ve moved on to other rides and/or other stations in life. An objective customer will say it’s not worth $50k+.
In 1993, the MSRP of a Toyota Supra Twin Turbo was $43,709. That’s what it says on the window sticker of the one that just sold for $128,000 on Bring A Trailer. Adjusted for inflation, that is $76,893. On the other hand, Supras didn’t fly off of Toyota’s lots for 50% more than this fraud costs. The joke is that the BMW Supra gets better gas mileage but is improved over what Toyota could make twenty five years ago in no other perceptible way.
“The joke is that the BMW Supra gets better gas mileage but is improved over what Toyota could make twenty five years ago in no other perceptible way.”
To be fair, it weighs slightly less. And as well as a Mk4 Supra drove, it still didn’t have quite the handling finesse of a BMW. Otherwise, you’re quite right: in a quarter-century it’s gained nothing, and lost styling and a pedal.
An even more unfavorable comparison is to the E46 M3, with the same weight, same power (granted, less torque, but a better song), usable rear seats, and a far cleaner design inside and out.
E36s drove considerably sharper than RFT-EPS-turbo-slushbox BMWs do today, and I’d certainly try a low mileage 1994 Supra 6-speed before I declared it worse than a new BMW to drive. E46s were the generation that turned my former BMW buddies and I into Japanese car drivers. They didn’t drive as well as E36s, but they self-recycled just as quickly. E39s were better drivers, but they turned into pumpkins just as fast as E90s and F30s.
I might take a chance on a new Supra at the asking price if it had a stick-shift instead of a Nokia phone case attached to a transmission I’ve hated in two cars I used to have as daily drivers. Actually, a Supra 6-speed for a BMW-style subsidized lease would be very interesting. It won’t happen though.
The whole thing is pretty ugly IMO, but the nose especially. I couldn’t put my finger on it until the fourth photo down, and now I can’t un-see an elephant with silver eyeliner.
The nose is a tribute to Toyota’s miserable failure of a German Formula 1 team. German employment law doesn’t let you fire incompetents, so eventually they had the biggest payroll in motorsport. Much of it went to people who were sitting at home where they could do less damage to the program. Mercedes-Benz’ dominant F1 team is based in England, where you can send dead weight packing.
I really love the new Supra’s looks. If it was available with a manual I would be seriously considering it as a toy. Good looking car in an era of boring cuvs.
You would think they would have done a little bit more to distinguish it from the BMW lineage but it’s still a good effort by the sound of it.
I’m sorry, but all of those creases and lumps make the Supra looks like a Hot Wheels car that was melted in the oven and reshaped by a nine year old.
No Supra customer is going to be into a BMW. They would have already bought a bmw. They want a Supra. Engineered by Toyota. With a Toyota engine. Toyota parts.
And any Toyota customer that might happen to think, âoh cool, a sports car from a Toyota!â is gonna be shocked when the repair bills start rolling in while their 8th Camry or RAV4 in the garage next to it has 200,000 miles on it with only tires, brakes, and oil changes and still runs and drives like a champ. All the Supra is gonna do is burn bridges for the ONE reason you buy a Toyota… they donât break. Because face it, pretty much every other car or car company makes better driving, better looking, flashier, vehicles. The only reason you buy the Toyota is because you know it will last forever and resale will be good. That wonât exist here.
I actually think the 86 and BRZ make more sense than this thing. Hell a motored-up 86 would probably be a more legit Supra than this thing will ever be.
Oh and I know we harp on auto and manual around here. Iâm sad to see options dying but I donât shed too many tears I canât get a manual in a family sedan or crossover or truck. But I will draw the line here. And it applies to Ferrari and Lamborghini and everyone else…. what is the point in a sports car if you canât row your own? I swear half the fun of driving one is winding it out, nailing that downshift, getting the heel and toe around a tight corner. If a sports car is all about the drive and how you feel, a manual HAS to be available. So the fact they donât even offer one makes this âsports carâ a big poser in my eye.
Have to agree. This should have been based on the RCF. Take out as much weight as possible, use a Toyota interior. Call it done. People who want a BMW will buy that. Actual Toyota buyers will not want a rebadged German car with the same maintenance cost but none of the brand prestige.
Yeah, the RC is kinda the elephant in the room. It’s a heavy, Toyota-made coupe. Add a real engine, cut some weight, add a manual and a Toyota badge. Done!
Here is how to get a “solid sports car for $50K”. Go to Tesla.com and order Model 3. Weld the rear doors, maybe even throw away the rear seats. Grow a mullet. Bam! You gots yourself a Supra beater and still have money left for high waist blue jeans and white velcroed sneakers.
I guess the question that this to be asked is why am i buying this instead of a Cayman? The Porsche looks a 1,000 times better and will likely depreciate less.
I’m no fan of the Supra, but this is a bit unfair. A Cayman S (comparable power) with comparable equipment is going to be in the $70s. $20k above the Toyota or more.
You people are hilarious – yeah, perish the thought that Toyota had the car built for them by a company that actually does build 2019 model-year performance cars (and built 2018 model-year ones, and 2017 model-year ones, and…), rather than trying to build it themselves.
People complain about how long it’s taken for Toyota to bring this to market, but consider how much longer it would have taken if Toyota had decided to build their own direct-injection, forced induction engine, rather than buying one – considering that they’ve never built one for mass production before – ? You guys think that Toyota is capable, within, say, two years, of building something as good as a 1LE Camaro or Performance Pack Mustang GT, considering they’re been out of the high-performance RWD market for like 25 years – ?
As for the longevity/reliability questions, I dunno – Toyota took this guy to Summit Point and let him lap all day, sounds like…and the car BMW built for Toyota didn’t break. I guess the comparisons here will remain unresolved, because I don’t see too many owners of 200,000-mile Camrys and RAV4s posting data on how many laps they get out of a set of Hawk Blues at Summit Point.
I have no trouble believing that a Camry or RAV4, driven the way I see them driven, will last 200,000 miles.
ToddAtlasF1, get ahold of the owner of that Mk4 Supra he got from bringatrailer…let him bring his car to Summit Point for some hot laps against the new ones – we’ll see how it does…if you really don’t think the new one is any improvement over the old. We’ll even let him use modern tires.
-The LS500 has a direct-injected, turbo V6, making 416 hp. That is the engine I would have preferred to see them use. I think the I-6 nostalgia (and nostalgia in general) is overrated in actual car purchases. If you can point out one person who would have bought the car with an I-6 but absolutely refuses to buy with a V6, then I’ll buy you a beer.
-I question very strongly whether the car as-built is as good as a Camaro 1LE or Mustang PP. They have also had a lot more than 2 years of development time (more like 9 since the first rumors started and trademarks taken out)
-My concerns with reliability are not the kind that would show themselves after a day of hard lapping, more like after 4-5 years of daily driving. BMW customers used to leasing may not mind, but Toyota customers are used to a different experience.
-I wouldn’t bet on a 330i or X3 driven softly to make it 200,000 miles without expensive repairs either, like I would with a Rav4 or Camry. Perhaps that is my bias and I’ll be proven wrong with the Supra. I’d rather not bet $50,000 to find out.
Akio so desperately wants to turn Toyota from an appliance maker to a fun, sporty brand. BUT the bean counters don’t share his enthusiasm and don’t want to spend the Yen, so they team up with Subaru and BMW. Teaming up is fine, because “they” always talk about how expensive it is to develop a car.
But, as you can see in the finished product, Toyota is the most cynical car company in the world. They spend nothing to distinguish the Scion/86 from the BRZ. They hear the moaning about how it needs a turbo, but it falls on deaf ears ’cause bolting on a turbo costs, wait for it, Money! They spent some Yen to drape the Supra with some of the ugliest, most bulbous sheetmetal ever stamped, but then that emptied the deliberately limited budget, so the interior is pure BMW.
Meh. I just don’t think I can trust these ‘gas cars’ to get me home on a winter’s day. Plus what’s the deal with the accelerator – you push it, then a bit later the car goes? I like cars that accelerate right when you push the pedal.
It’s just not convenient, always needing to find a gas station, usually when I’m busy with other stuff. Easier and faster to plug in at home.
As a (used) C7 owner I am glad I didn’t wait for this thing. It’s ugly and the BMW interior is a mess. I can’t imagine it handles any better then my C7 which has gobs more power at the same weight, plus a targa roof which even the Cayman doesn’t have. As a bonus my C7 has three pedals just like God intended.
This car might be a fine Z4, but its NOT a Supra. Sadly given the limited choices in RWD sports cars I guess I’ll just be happy they actually built this. Just wish Toyota had given it more effort then slapping on a badge, there was basically no effort here.
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It has a color problem. In white/light colors it looks bland and un-Toyota like but put on some dark reds, blues or blacks and it pops and looks pretty wicked.
The Beemer connection is certainly no selling point and Toyota may choose to downplay this in publicity..
Automatic only overpriced barf on wheels with a cheap interior. Whats not to like? The fact that so much of it’s lineage is BMW makes my wallet cringe. Proof that Toyota’s heart is not in the sports car market judging by how little effort they put into this.
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