Are they really clones, or is there more to it?

Few sports cars can rustle the ‘ole jimmies quite like the 2020 Supra and 2019 BMW Z4. Built as a collaborative effort between the two automaker giants, each is a rebirth of a long-lost nameplate, sliding into a market where sports cars are on the decline. However, despite efforts to meet the demands of an enthusiast-driven public, many decry the Supra and Z4 as nothing more than badge-engineered twins designed to leverage fond memories. But the question remains - how do these two machines stack up against one another?

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Exterior Style

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Let’s kick things off by examining the exterior styling.

The 2020 Toyota Supra takes after the 2014 FT-1 Concept, which draws cues from Toyota’s sports-car past, including the ‘60s-era 2000 GT and the previous-generation Mk. IV Supra, with Nobuo Nakamura credited with the final design.

You can get yours in a number of bright exterior paint colors, including Nitro Yellow, Renaissance Red 2.0, Nocturnal Black, Tungsten Silver, Turbulence Gray, Absolute Zero White, and Downshift Blue. Meanwhile, Phantom Matte Gray is optional.

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Compared to the BMW Z4, the most obvious difference between these two vehicles can found around the roof area, where the Bimmer rocks a soft top compared to the Supra’s coupe-only hard top.

Made from fabric with a black finish as standard (Anthracite silver is optional), the Z4’s roof can open or close in just 10 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph.

Adrian van Hooydonk was tasked with the 2019 BMW Z4’s overall design. Up to eight exterior colors are offered, including Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver, Mineral White, Mediterranean Blue, and San Francisco Red. Frozen Grey and Misano Blue can be had with the optional M Sport Package.

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Generally speaking, the 2019 BMW Z4 looks chunkier and more technical compared to the sharpened, streamlined Toyota Supra.

That said, you can add a little extra aggression to the roadster by upgrading with the Z4’s optional exterior styling package, which includes a slew of M Sport-styling cues thanks to a new front apron, new side skirts, and a new rear apron.

On balance, there’s really no denying that the Supra and Z4 look completely different.

The Supra emphasizes visual impact and sportiness, while the Z4 is much more concerned with elegance and sleekness.

However, the proportions and exterior dimensions are quite similar, with an identical wheelbase measurement and just a few inches between the two vehicles in terms of overall length, overall height, and overall width.

When you look at the numbers, you’ll find that the Toyota Supra is a bit longer, a bit narrower, and a bit lower than the BMW Z4. It’s also worth mentioning that the base-model Z4 offers a slightly wider front and rear track compared to the top-trim M40i model. While not terribly impactful, these small differences do add up, further exaggerating the unique driving features offered by the Supra and Z4 (more on that later in the comparison).

You can check out the full exterior dimensions breakdown below:

Exterior Dimension Comparison

Measurement 2020 Toyota Supra 2019 BMW Z4 M40i (difference)
Wheelbase 97.2 inches 97.2 inches (identical)
Overall Length 172.5 inches 170.7 inches (- 1.8 inches)
Overall Height 50.9 inches 51.4 inches (+ 0.5 inches)
Overall Width 73 inches 73.4 inches (+ 0.4 inches)
Overall Width (including mirrors) N/A 79.7 inches
Track Width (front) 62.8 inches 62.8 inches (identical)
Track Width (rear) 62.6 inches 62.6 inches (identical)

Front Styling

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Viewed head on, the 2020 Toyota Supra offers a wide, sporty stance, which is enhanced by a trio of air intakes and pointed headlight housings set in a horizontal layout. Providing the forward illumination are six-lens LEDs paired to daytime running lights. Up top is a double-bubble roof, which keeps the aero nice and clean without sacrificing interior headroom.

Then there’s the 2019 BMW Z4, which looks more elegant with its classic kidney grille intake and honeycomb mesh grille compared to the Supra’s diamond-shape grille insert.

The Z4’s headlight housings are also smaller and more pointed than those on the Supra, but LEDs are standard, just like the Supra. The Z4 throws in adaptive LED headlights as an available option, which is a feature not offered with the Supra. And of course, the Bimmer gets a simplified soft-top roof, rather than the Supra’s double-bubble.

Side

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Moving around to the sides, we find the Supra offers an aggressive fastback roofline and cab-back proportions, complemented by a short wheelbase and a long hood line. You’ll also notice intake elements placed just ahead of the rear fenders and above the front fenders, which are connected by a lower character line that swoops up and away to the coupe’s wide rear fender flares. The rolling gear includes 19-inch wheels with forged-alloy construction as standard.

The 2019 BMW Z4 also offers a short wheelbase and cab-back proportions, but that’s about where the similarities end.

The character lines are much straighter than those on the Supra, while the fenders don’t look as pronounced, both of which make the Bimmer look more like a luxury car than a sports car compared to the Supra. The Z4 also comes with a single vent element behind the front wheels, unlike the Supra’s plethora of aero elements front to back. The rolling gear includes 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, while 19-inch wheels are optional.

Rear

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In back, the 2020 Toyota Supra gets the sort of squat, planted aesthetic expected of a performance machine, with a large integrated rear spoiler finishing off the roofline in a upturned flick. The taillights look as though they fold down into the wide rear fender flares, and they offer combination-style inner graphics with LED backup lighting elements. The lower diffuser element uses a prominent motorsport-style design, as well as a dual-integrated exhaust tips.

By comparison, the 2019 BMW Z4 offers a much simpler rear-end design, with smaller design elements that look understated next to those of the Supra.

For example, the Z4’s integrated rear spoiler is much smaller, while the lower diffuser element is slimmer as well. There’s also a pair of trapezoidal exhaust pipes compared to the rounded tips on the Supra.

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Interior Design

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Note: 2020 Toyota Supra pictured on the left, 2019 BMW Z4 pictured on the right.
The 2020 Toyota Supra was designed as “an everyday sports car and an occasional track car,” which means riding that fine line between performance and comfort with an extra dose of adrenaline where appropriate.

The Supra’s cabin is laid out with a grand tourer-inspired design, and seats two passengers maximum. In back, there’s enough cargo room to transport a track day tool kit.

There’s also an asymmetrical center console, with knee-pad bolsters for hard cornering, plus well-bolstered sport seats with integrated head restraints, all of which defines its role as a performance-oriented two-door.

Toyota offers the 2020 Supra in two trim levels, starting with the entry-level 3.0, and topped by the 3.0 Premium. Standard spec includes:

  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Alcantara upholstery
  • power-adjusting seats
  • a floating 3D meter dial
  • 6.5-inch display with rotary controller
  • Bluetooth support
  • Keyless Smart Entry
  • dual automatic climate control
  • automatic-dimming rearview mirror
  • rear backup camera
  • rain-sensing windshield wipers

Step it up to the Supra 3.0 Premium, and you get a number of nice upgrades, including:

  • heated seats
  • leather trim and upholstery
  • larger 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation
  • Supra Connect telematics services
  • Apple CarPlay support
  • premium 12-speaker audio from JBL
  • wireless device charging

The Supra’s upgraded stereo and navigation features are offered as optional equipment on the entry-level 3.0 grade. The color heads-up display with integrated driving and nav info is optional. It’s also worth mentioning that the 2020 Toyota Supra comes with loads of standard safety tech too, such as:

  • Forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • lane departure warning with steering assist
  • automatic high beam headlights
  • road sign assist

Further optional safety and convenience bits include full-speed cruise control, a blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and rear end collision warning.

2019 BMW Z4
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Moving over to the interior of the BMW Z4, we find a cabin space that leans more towards comfort compared to the Supra’s performance-oriented attitude.

It all starts with the much more symmetrical cabin layout, while the upholstery options include finery like SensaTec leatherette and Vernasca leather for the base model, as well as a combination of leather and Alcantara for the M Sport models. LED ambient lighting is also optional.

Of course, the Z4 still offers a number of performance cues. For example, electric sport seats are standard, but they aren’t as well-bolstered as those in the Supra.

That said, additional lateral support can be had with the optional M sport seats.

Trunk capacity in the Z4 is rated at 9.9 cubic-feet regardless of the roof’s position, which is a bit less than the Supra’s 10.1 cubic-feet. Two-zone automatic climate control is also optional in the Bimmer, while BMW’s Comfort Access feature lets you remotely open the roof.

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On the infotainment front , the 2019 BMW Z4 comes with BMW’s seventh-generation iDrive system. It’s all controlled by the BMW iDrive Controller, which matches the rotary knob found on the Supra. The Bimmer also gets a larger 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 10.25-inch central display, the latter of which bests the Supra’s smaller 8.8-inch display.

There’s also several features that are standard in the Z4, but optional in the Supra, such as:

  • Upgraded navigation
  • Apple CarPlay support
  • BMW Head-up Display

Meanwhile, driver assistance systems are more or less identical to those on the Supra, and include standard features like:

  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Daytime Pedestrian Detection and City braking
  • Lane Departure Warning

Options include Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Parking Assistant with Back-Up Assistant.

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All told, the interior specs reveal that the Supra is much more focused on performance, while the Z4 is more of a highway cruiser.

For example, where the Toyota comes with carbon, the Bimmer gets polished metal. The Toyota gets big seat bolsters and knee braces, while the Bimmer gets larger screens and nicer a more open layout.

However, despite the obvious philosophical differences in design, we expect the physical dimensions between these two to be more or less identical. Check out the graph below for the Z4’s measurements. For the sake of comparison, we’ve also listed the interior measurements for the 2019 Toyota Prius, which offers similar dimensions up front.

Interior Dimension Comparison

Measurement 2019 BMW Z4 M40i 2019 Toyota Prius
Shoulder Room 54.3 inches 55 inches (front)
Legroom 42.2 inches 42.3 inches (front)
Headroom 38.9 inches 39.4 inches (front)

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Drivetrain And Performance

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Exterior
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From the very beginning, Toyota developed the 2020 Supra to be a performer above all else, with a dash of civility for the road added as a complement afterwards.

The heart of the 2020 Supra is a boosted 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, which comes with a twin-scroll turbo, direct fuel injection, and continuously variable timing for the intake and the exhaust.

Peak output is rated at 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque, with the run from 0 to 60 mph accomplished in 4.1 seconds. The Supra’s top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph, but rumor has it the coupe will hit 180 mph without the limiter in place. Those numbers place it in the same ranks as the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 and older Ford Mustang GT models.

Routing the muscle to the rear wheels is an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shifter operation. Unfortunately, Toyota is not offering the 2020 Supra with a manual transmission, much to the ire of enthusiasts, but if demand is high enough, Toyota says it could reconsider that position.

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Exterior
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On the corner-carving front, the Supra gets double-joint spring struts in front and a five-arm multi-link in the rear.

Aluminum control arms keep weight low, while standard spec throws in adaptive suspension bits with adjustable dampening. The Supra’s drivetrain also comes with a standard active differential, which uses an electric motor and multi-plate clutch to control the torque distribution under acceleration and braking, with step-less variable locking between 0 and 100 percent.

Developed on the Nürburgring and other race tracks with help from Toyota’s performance division, Gazoo Racing, the 2020 Supra comes with unique suspension and chassis tuning compared to its rival from BMW. The Supra’s chassis was stiffened in nine crucial areas to keep the overall torsional rigidity as high as possible, and there’s a 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution to keep the dynamics as predictable as possible. Launch Control gets it off the line. Final details include a variable ratio steering and Toyota-specified stability control tuning. Curb weight is rated at 3,397 pounds.

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Exterior
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The 2020 Toyota Supra gets two driving modes, Normal and Sport, which affect the traction and stability control functions, throttle sharpness, steering weight, transmission response, differential tuning, and exhaust note.

Tire sizing is staggered front to back, with 255/35R19 rubber in front and 275/35R19 rubber in back. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires make the traction. Finally, Brembo brakes throw the anchor with 13.7-inch rotors mated to four-pot calipers in front.

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4
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As for the 2019 BMW Z4, you can have it with one of two engine specs, including the B46 four-cylinder or the B58 six-cylinder.

The fact that BMW offers the Z4 with a four-cylinder underlines its position as a cruiser compared to the balls-out Supra. Go for the entry-level Z4 sDrive30i, and you get a turbocharged 2.0-liter with High Precision Injection and a twin-scroll turbo, all of which add up to output rated at 255 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 1,550 rpm. Properly motivated, the sprint from 0 to 60 mph is completed in 5.2 seconds.

Interestingly, Toyota does offer the Supra with a four-cylinder engine for the Japanese market, including two tunes (194 horsepower and 255 horsepower). That said, it’s no surprise Toyota isn’t bringing the configuration stateside - enthusiasts are already crying foul, and an optional four-banger would undoubtedly make the fan boys cringe even harder.

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Wallpaper quality High Resolution
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The higher-trim Z4 M40i gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, which produces 382 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 369 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm, lowering the 0 to 60 mph sprint to 3.9 seconds.

That makes the top-spec Z4 more-powerful and quicker than the Supra, boasting an additional 47 horsepower, 4 pound-feet of torque, and two-tenths off the 60-mph sprint. As such, it’s tempting to call the Z4 the sportier of the two nameplates, but as we’ll see shortly, that would be incorrect.

Routing the power in the Z4 is an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifting for both engine packages, matching the spec found in the Supra. However, the transmission tuning is different between the BMW and Toyota, and even between the two Bimmer models as well. The BMW also comes with Launch Control, just like the Supra, but once again, the tuning is different.

Curb weight for the Z4 is rated at 3,443 pounds for the top-spec the M40i, and 3,287 pounds for the sDrive 30i. That makes the Supra 46 pounds lighter than the M40i, and 110 pounds heavier than the four-cylinder base-model. Heft is once again distributed at a 50:50 ratio front to back, which was clearly a goal both automakers wanted at the outset of development.

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The Supra and Z4 share an identical suspension setup, with double-joint springs and struts in front, plus a five-link setup in back, plus aluminum control arms

A variable steering ratio once again helps it turn. That said, the tuning between these two vehicles is what makes the difference.

That extends to the Z4’s numerous electronic handling aides, such as Dynamic Stability Control, Anti-lock Braking, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, and Dynamic Brake Control. Additional apex-accuracy can be had with the Adaptive M Sport suspension, M Sport brakes, and an M Sport differential, all of which are standard on the Z4 M40i and optional on the sDrive30i.

By comparison, the 2020 Toyota Supra gets adaptive suspension, an active diff, and burly brakes as standard on the base model, all of which help lend it credibility as the more performance-oriented nameplate next to the Bimmer.

Finally, the Z4 matches the Supra with its own “mixed-size tires,” including 225/45R18 tires in front with 255/40R18 tires in the rear for the base model, and 255/40R18 tires in front with 275/40R18 tires in the rear for the M40i. With both nameplates rocking staggered tire sizing, it reminds us that the underlying platforms for both these models is identical - but that doesn’t mean the way they drive is identical.

Digging Deeper Into Development

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Note: 2020 Toyota Supra pictured on the left, 2019 BMW Z4 pictured on the right.

Both the 2020 Toyota Supra and the 2019 BMW Z4 are based on the same platform, which was created as a joint project between the two automakers. That means both vehicles share the same hard points, wheelbase, track width, and suspension design.

Both cars also share the same six-cylinder engine, which was provided by BMW. Originally, BMW wanted to go with the N55, an all-aluminum 3.0-liter straight-six that was introduced in 2009 and equipped on a variety of Bavarian products, such as the 3-Series, X3, X5, M2, and many more.

However, during the Supra’s development, Toyota quickly determined N55 BMW engine didn’t meet its standards for reliability. In response, BMW and Toyota worked together to develop the B58 that now sits in both the Supra and Z4, with Toyota going over the fresh powerplant with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it was up to snuff.

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The 2020 Toyota Supra and 2019 BMW Z4 also come a BMW-sourced electronic differential (standard on the Toyota, optional on the BMW), but the tuning differs between Toyota and Bimmer.

Furthermore, the transmission is identical between these two models, but it’s not BMW-specific. Rather, it’s ZF’s ubiquitous 8HP, an eight-speed automatic used across the industry, including in numerous models from Audi, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Lamborghini, and many more. In the end, BMW and Toyota settled on the ZF 8HP for its smoothness, shift times, weight, and reliability, but went their own separate ways in the transmission’s final tune.

Finally, it has to be said that both manufacturers did their own performance testing during development, which means the way in which these vehicles drive is quite dissimilar, despite all the shared parts.

AsMotorTrend’s Chris Walton writes, “In Sport+ mode, the Z4 M40i feels immediate and aggressive, frenetically piling on speed and issuing aggressive shifts, like an M-division car. The Supra felt more linear and polished in the way it accelerated, shifts were far smoother, and anybody would be able to discern the Supra’s creamy, more fluid operation but also appreciate the shove of torque it delivers from just 1,600 rpm up to 4,500 rpm.”

Performance And Drivetrain Specs

2020 Toyota Supra 2019 BMW Z4 M40i 2019 BMW Z4 sDrive30i
Engine turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmission eight-speed automatic eight-speed automatic eight-speed automatic
Horsepower 335 hp 382 hp 255 hp
Torque 365 lb-ft 369 lb-ft 295 lb-ft
0-60 mph 4.1 seconds 3.9 seconds 5.2 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph 155 mph 155 mph
Weight (lb) Per Horsepower 10.14 9.01 12.89

Final Thoughts

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There’s one final piece to the puzzle here - price.

The 2020 Toyota Supra starts at $50,920, while the 2019 BMW Z4 starts at $50,595 for the entry-level four-cylinder model, and $64,695 for the top six-cylinder model.

On balance, this price difference really helps to define the focus of each model.

The Supra is all about performance and driving engagement, offering tons of standard go-faster equipment for $15,000 less than an equivalent Z4, while the Z4 places a greater emphasis on style, comfort, and luxury, with more standard infotainment and digital equipment than an equally-priced Supra.

With the 2020 model year bringing the first new Supra in the U.S. in more than two decades, it makes sense that fans are quick to call foul. After all, how could die-hards appreciate the new coupe when there’s so much overlap with the Z4?

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However, the truth is far more nuanced than the plethora of internet comments would let on.

While Toyota did indeed source many of the 2020 Supra’s parts from the Germans, calling these two “clones” would be hugely off the mark. Beyond the underlying platform hard points and powertrain structure, the Supra and Z4 diverge greatly, and given the Japanese automaker’s influence on development, we feel confident in calling the A90 a true Toyota.

Further Reading

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Supra.

2020 Toyota Supra Vs. 2019 BMW Z4 Wallpaper quality High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW Z4.

Video: Is the 2020 Toyota Supra Really Just a Rebadged BMW?
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Video: Is The 2020 Toyota Supra Really Just A Rebadged BMW?

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