The 2020 Toyota Supra marks the return of a high-performance sports car to Toyota’s lineup (sorry, Toyota 86 fans, but 200 horsepower doesn’t cut it), but the coupe you see here isn’t just the brainchild of Toyota engineers. The new Supra is the result of a collaboration with BMW that also spawned the redesigned 2019 BMW Z4 roadster. So, the new Supra has some interesting characteristics, to say the least.
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For one, it’s about 6 inches longer than the Toyota 86 sports car, but its wheelbase is around 4 inches shorter. The resulting long front overhang goes against contemporary sports car design, which favors shorter noses, but it works relatively well with the Supra’s front end. Photos give the car a bit of a snout right under the Toyota badge between the headlights, but it’s much less noticeable in person. Meanwhile, the bulges in the hood over the front wheels are more prominent than photos suggest.
It does, however, seem like two different styling teams worked on the Supra — one in the front and another for the back. The front is relatively crisp and tidy, but a different aesthetic takes over beginning at the back of the doors, with bulging fenders and a duckbill spoiler growing from the base of the glass liftgate. The exterior is peppered with slits that look like slim air vents, but when you take a closer look, you see that they aren’t real. On a car like this, they need to be.
Sink into the driver’s seat and the Supra’s BMW lineage becomes clear. Many of the controls on the center console and dashboard are from BMW, and the Supra’s dashboard screen uses BMW software that’s been customized for the Supra. The driver’s seat is comfy, but the car is visibility-challenged; over-shoulder views are limited, and my eyes were level with the side of the roof when looking out the side window.
While the lack of a manual transmission seems destined to provoke enthusiast outrage, it’s not surprising given how few people buy cars with stick shifts — even performance cars. Toyota hasn’t, however, completely ruled out a stick shift at some point.
Say the word “Supra” to a group of car enthusiasts and you’ll probably get as strong a reaction as you would if you’d blurted out “Ford Mustang” or “Chevrolet Corvette.” It’s that iconic, and it holds a certain place in the hearts of car people. Will this fifth-generation Supra satisfy the faithful? While looks alone won’t make or break it, the styling and Toyota’s other choices have put more pressure on the driving experience to deliver the goods.
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