There may be no car released in the past few years more controversial than the 2020 Toyota Supra. Toyota will tell you the 2020 Supra is “the legend, reborn.” At a high level, it makes sense. Turbocharged, inline-six cylinder, fast in a straight line… it’s the evolution of the Supra, made iconic by The Fast & The Furious. After much anticipation, I got some time behind the wheel of the 2020 Toyota Supra.
Toyota wanted me to drive their GR Supra so badly that they brought one to our annual Washington Automotive Press Association rally. I was one of a handful of journalists invited to come along for a day of hot takes.
It’s not the biggest secret that the 2020 Toyota Supra was developed in collaboration with BMW. The platform is shared with the 2020 BMW Z4 roadster, though Toyota is quick to claim the Supra is totally-not-just-a-Z4-in-drag-we-promise. It uses a BMW inline-six making 335 horsepower, paired to a ZF 8-speed automatic.
I knew of the BMW collaboration going in to this drive, had plenty of my own thoughts before slipping in to the driver’s seat, and tried to push them out of my head while I drove.
Unfortunately, forgetting the 2020 Supra is a BMW is quite hard to do. It uses BMW switchgear and fonts, makes that *blungg* door chime that your 2007 335i made, relies on BMW iDrive infotainment (with careful graphics updates to show photos of Supras, not Z4s, on screens) and otherwise makes you feel right at home if you’ve driven a BMW in the last ten years.
I have plenty of thoughts on why this BMW collaboration isn’t the best idea for Toyota’s flagship model, but there is a big positive with all of this. The 2020 Supra is fantastic to drive. If you ignore the badge on the airbag cover, it feels like you’re behind the wheel of a recent, small BMW. Handling, ride quality, and steering were excellent on the back roads I explored. Power is explosive and plentiful. Big brakes slow things down in a hurry with good feel. Controls are placed where you’d expect, iDrive is intuitive, the Supra is overall quite good.
Prior to my drive, I’d heard about buffeting when driving with the windows down. At highway speeds, the wind noise and buffeting are nearly unbearable. This is a consequence of the general cabin and window design, which both shows better in person than photographs and strikes me as generally well-done. I’m a fan of open-air driving, though, so the buffeting was a detractor.
I would love to get some track time with the 2020 Supra to probe more of its undoubtedly good chassis dynamics. Clearly, Toyota believes this Supra isn’t just a straight-line monster as in generations past. Buyers even get a free one-year NASA membership with their purchase, as encouragement to take their 2020 Supras out to track days nationwide.
The 2020 Supra, on the surface, is excellent. It’s fun. It feels “right.” It’s also built by Magna-Steyr in Austria using BMW parts (even the Toyota logo on the nose has a BMW part number). Toyota styled the car and specified the chassis tuning, but beyond that, it’s largely a very well-done BMW with different badges placed everywhere. And that’s absolutely not a bad thing.