Looks like the hype train just crashed headlong into reality

There was a ton of new metal to ogle and argue over at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, but none of the big sheet pulls were as polarizing as the 2020 Toyota Supra. After more than 20 years on the shelf, Toyota finally introduced a fifth-generation for one of the most iconic names in Japanese performance, and well, the trolls are currently lighting their digital torches. Right on schedule, too.

Oh, What Could Have Been

Yes the 2020 Toyota Supra Is a Letdown, But We Should Have Seen This Coming Exterior
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Excuse me as I tap into my inner Internet troll.

I’ll be the first to admit it - the 2020 Toyota Supra is, well, problematic.

Let’s start with the way it looks. Remember the original concept Toyota gave us, a.k.a. the FT-1?

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Note: 2020 Toyota Supra pictured on the left, Toyota FT-1 Concept pictured on the right.

Well, unfortunately, the production version is a bit off the mark. Scratch that - it’s way off the mark. Gone is the low, wide, swooping awesomeness that was the FT-1, replaced by what can only be described as a dumbed-down, bastardized version of the original.

Granted, it’s obvious why it played out like this. For starters, the FT-1 concept is utterly gorgeous, but completely impossible to create as a mass-produced, moderately priced passenger car that can, you know, drive on roads and do car things. Add in the fact the production Supra must share a platform with BMW, plus meet a litany of crash standards and other such rules and regulations, and well, the final product is gonna be compromised.

But again, that’s to be expected. We see it all the time in the transition from concept to production, and Toyota is certainly not unique in that respect. That said, when you consider just how badass the concept was, we can’t help but feel let down. Add in all the fake aero and crap on the production model, and well, it doesn’t help (we count no less than five fake vents).

2020 Toyota Supra Exterior
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Next let’s talk about the engine - a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder co-developed with BMW.

Sounds familiar, so that’s nice, but how about output? Well, for that you’re looking at 335 horsepower. That’s a 10- to 15-pony increase over the outgoing model. Not exactly overwhelming.

We were expecting a bit more to be honest, and to make matters worse, this is the follow-up to the legendary 2JZ, an engine with as much street cred as the GM LS V-8. The 2JZ is known for producing upwards of 1,000 horsepower on a stock bottom end. Don’t expect that from a BMW engine.

On to performance. Toyota quotes a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds, which, if true, is pretty quick. That said, it does seem a bit optimistic, don’t you think?

I mean, how are you gonna run the benchmark in 4.1 seconds with just 335 horsepower and 3,400 pounds of curb weight, plus a RWD-only drivetrain? It just doesn’t make sense. I don’t care how well the traction control works, or how well the tires grip, or how advanced the launch mode might be, or how short the gearing is on the eight-speed automatic transmission. I hope I’m wrong.

2020 Toyota Supra Exterior
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But the biggest sin of them all has to be the price - $50,000. Never mind the fact cherry Mk. IV Supras are going for six-figures these days - the fifth-gen still has a long way to go to prove its worth.

For a price tag like this, you’ve also gotta consider such heavy-hitters as the base model C7 Chevrolet Corvette, which has more than enough engine and grip to completely trounce the fifth-gen Supra on the street. Or you could opt for the Porsche 718 Cayman, which is, you know, a Porsche Cayman - that is, an engineering marvel that handles like it’s from the future. Or you could add some options to the Supra, at which point you’re knocking on the door of stuff like the imminently drool-worthy Jaguar F-Type. Yikes.

What’s more, at this price range, people put a lot of value in badge recognition and exterior styling, and the fifth-generation Supra lacks both, at least for a car that costs $50,000.

In Defense Of The 2020 Toyota Supra

Yes the 2020 Toyota Supra Is a Letdown, But We Should Have Seen This Coming Exterior
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Now that I’ve let me inner troll have his say (back under the bridge with you!), I’ll attempt to be a bit less reactionary, and more logical instead.

First off, I have yet to actually get behind the wheel of the 2020 Toyota Supra, but considering the development that went into this thing, I’d wager it’ll out-handle just about anything in the segment, including the Porsche 718 Cayman. I know that’s a bold statement, but I’m talking about the way it feels to drive fast, not just straight-up lap times. I could be wrong, but from the reports I’ve read, things are looking quite good when it comes to this critical element in sports car satisfaction. With a FR layout, the potential for automative nirvana is there.

What’s more, if you add in the arrival of a go-faster Gazoo Racing version, this could eventually become quite a formidable force come track day.

Toyota Supra Returns After 21 Years with BMW Engine; And it's Not Cheap Exterior
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But beyond all that that, the biggest issue I see with the 2020 Toyota Supra is the hype machine that preceded its debut.

It kinda reminds me of the follow-ups to the Star Wars trilogy, or maybe Ghostbusters 3. Like those movie franchises, the Supra legend was built on a number of starring roles in our collective childhood memories, be it from video games, or the original Fast & Furious, or maybe all those completely bonkers tuner builds. Basically, our memories of the Mk. IV Supra are sugarcoated, no doubt about it.

With those memories comes a metric ton of hype, plus pressure to get every little facet absolutely perfect for every fan out there. That inevitably creates impossibly high expectations, and when the reality of designing, building, selling, and making a profit off a childhood hero hits the prime time, the result is almost always disappointment.

And that’s what we’re left with. Sure, the new Supra has a few new bells and whistles, but the fact is, there’s almost no way we’d ever be happy with it.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them, so post in the comments section below.

2020 Toyota Supra Specifications

2020 Toyota Supra Exterior
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Wheelbase 97.2 in.
Overall Length 172.5 in.
Overall Width 73.0 in.
Overall Height 50.9 in.
Track Width Front 62.8 in.
Track Width Rear 62.6 in.
Curb Weight 3,397 lbs.
0-60 mph 4.1 seconds

2020 Toyota Supra Prices

2020 Toyota Supra Exterior
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Model # Grade MSRP* 20MY
2372 3.0 $49,990
2374 3.0 Premium $53,990
2375 Launch Edition $55,250

Further Reading

2020 Toyota Supra Exterior
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Toyota Supra Returns After 21 Years with BMW Engine; And it’s Not Cheap

2020 Toyota Supra Exterior Spyshots
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Read our speculative review of the 2020 Toyota Supra

2020 Toyota Supra GR
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Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Supra GR.

2014 Toyota FT-1 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Check out our full review of the 2014 Toyota FT-1 Concept

2019 BMW Z4 Wallpaper quality High Resolution
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Convertible Top Can be Stowed in 10 Seconds

Read our full, in-depth review of the 2019 BMW Z4

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