2020 Toyota Supra first drive review roundup
All-new fifth-generation Toyota Supra tested on road and trackby Andrei Nedelea, on
Toyota recently organized an official launch event for its all-new 2020 Supra that it held on and around the Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia. It was many journalists’ first look at the car, but there was an embargo on their first impressions at first, and it has since lifted. As such, reviews have started to pour in.
The fifth-generation Supra is upon us after a 17-year hiatus in which time the fourth-gen model has attained cult status. In fact, it’s attained more than cult status after that Supra starred in movies and people really got involved with modifying them. The ease with which it could be enhanced is also what drew enthusiasts and Supras around the world began taking different shapes and sizes through sometimes very heavy modifications.
But, the fourth-gen Supra also drove really well straight from the factory. You really didn’t need any extra go, handling, or braking power because it pretty much had those bases covered in stock form. You could modify it if you wanted to, but at the same time, you didn’t really feel the need to do it.
So, in order to keep pleasing fans and be seen as a continuation of that tradition, this new fifth-gen Supra needs to possess those same qualities and more. It needs to go well in a straight line, sound good, steer well, and offer a wide spectrum of possible modifications for those who are into that. And, I’m sure there are many people already interested in modifying this new Supra - I mean there’s a shop that’s hard at work at swapping the 2JZ engine from the old Supra into this new car.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the BMW-sourced, B58, 3.0-liter, straight-six that I remember trying out in the BMW M140i a few years back when the BMW-Toyota collaboration for the Supra was still just a rumor. Back then, that car to me sounded like a modified 1990s Supra (I mean this as a compliment,) so it’s funny how that very engine actually ended up powering the all-new Supra. And, it’s a good choice for a Supra, providing not only oodles of performance anywhere in the rev range, but it also ticks the aforementioned box of having to sound good from the factory.
|Engine||turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder|
|Horsepower||335 hp at 5,000 rpm|
|Torque||365 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm|
|0-60 mph||4.1 seconds|
|Top Speed (electronically limited)||155 mph|
|Top Speed (no limiter)||175 mph (est.)|
What about the handling? Well, this new Supra is shorter but wider than the previous model, and this translates into excellent handling characteristics, according to reviewers. Its wheelbase is even shorter than that of the much less powerful GT86, but with the wide track, you can apparently really throw the Supra into corners and it will relish it. And, with wide tires designed specially for it (wider on the back than up front), it really has a lot fo grip.
For further reference, the new Toyota Supra has almost the same wheelbase as the mid-engined Porsche 718 Cayman, yet its track is some 5 centimeters (2 inches) wider than the Porsche’s.
|2020 Toyota Supra||2019 Porsche 718 Cayman||2019 Chevrolet Corvette|
|Wheelbase:||97.2 inches||97.4 inches||106.7 inches|
|Overall Length:||172.5 inches||173 inches||180 inches|
|Overall Width:||73 inches||71 inches||77 inches|
|Overall Height:||50.9 inches||51 inches||49 inches|
|Track Width (front):||62.8 inches||60.1 inches||63.6 inches|
|Track Width (rear):||62.6 inches||60.6 inches||62.5 inches|
And it drifts too. Its tail steps out quite freely coming out of corners with the electronic aids switched off. The short wheelbase means it’s slightly tricky to maintain a slide, and the driver will have to work quite hard sawing at the wheel to keep it going, but it can be done and it’s still fairly easy to do by modern car standards.
The steering itself is not bad. It is as precise as you’ve come to expect from a sporty BMW but also about as devoid of feel. It’s this lack of feel through the helm that makes keeping the car sideways more difficult than it should be because it’s at these moments that communicative steering is ideal. But at the same time, all modern electrically-assisted steering racks suffer from this numbness, even those in sports cars - they make up for it to a degree through sheer pinpoint precision, but that precision doesn’t make keen drivers forget about the lack of feel.
Styling wise, I’m sure everybody has an opinion and not everybody will like it, but it seems that in person all reviewers seem to fancy the new Supra. Many of them note just how small it looks from the outside - you can easily spot that it is shorter than the old Supra (and much wider also). Inside, it’s a bit of a parts bin situation... BMW parts bin, that is.
We previously published an article detailing the number of visible BMW bits inside the Supra and let me tell you they’re everywhere. The entire architecture inside is pure BMW and if you don’t mind the derivative look of the interior, then you may have a problem with fitting inside it if you’re much taller than 6-foot / 180 centimeters. Some of the reviewers had a hard time sitting upright in their seat with the racing helmet on for the track part of their launch drive of the Supra.
Overall, it seems like everybody is quite pleased with the 2020 Toyota Supra fifth-gen, a car that one can very easily look down upon and call a badge-engineered BMW Z4 with a fixed top. But according to reviewers who have driven both, they have very different characters and handling characteristics and of the two, the more visceral and fun is the Toyota. They will probably prove very popular, especially once the modding community starts getting its hands on them.
Read our full driven review on the 2020 Toyota Supra.
Read our review of the 2020 Toyota Supra