Toyota says the 2020 Supra feels altered to drive than its automated twin, the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i. Actually, aback the start, both carmakers accept been beating about how acclaimed anniversary car is, cogent us they went off their own abstracted means already the aggregate architectonics was laid out.
I’ve been tracking this BMW-Toyota adulation activity for absolutely a while now. It began with me active the new Z4 in its four-cylinder trim aftermost winter bottomward in Palm Springs, a car BMW calls the Z4 SDrive30i. I admired it absolutely a lot.
Then, I collection the G20 3 Series sedan, and finally, this, the Supra and Z4. They all feel actual similar, to be honest. But aback the actual beginning, anybody has wondered which aggregation wore this agent and belvedere best.
Having these two globalized car-siblings in my driveway accustomed an important question: is the Supra still a Supra alike if it’s not… a Toyota? Or, perhaps, added importantly, are these twins absolutely all that different?
(Full disclosure: The befalling to drive both the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i and the 2020 Toyota GR Supra came up aback assignment aide Vincent Aubé and I abutting armament to do a comparo. BMW and Toyota Canada agreed, and prepared us apple-pie cars with a abounding catchbasin of gas.)
The acknowledgment of the Supra has arguably been one of best talked about automotive capacity this year, at atomic amid enthusiasts. Afterwards all, the last-generation Supra, additionally accustomed as the MKIV, garnered itself a allegorical acceptability in the tuner car apple alike afore starring in The Fast and the Furious and an absonant bulk of artery antagonism videos. The Supra is the affiche adolescent of 1990s Japanese performance.
For Toyota to advertise the acknowledgment of its aura sports car 20 years afterwards it died is a big deal, abnormally aback additionally announcement there will be no chiral gearbox and that the car’s affection won’t alike be Japanese.
To be fair, a affiliation like this BMW-Toyota one absolutely makes a lot of faculty from a business standpoint, abnormally in our accustomed era, area sports car sales are in the toilet and electrified crossovers will anon aphorism the roads.
I’m told the antecedent abstraction for the joint-venture came from Toyota, which put the best bulk of money on the table for it to appear and capital the Supra to accept a straight-six like it acclimated to. Meanwhile, BMW got a new auto in the deal, and one they hoped would be added advancing with the Porsche Boxster and Cayman than anytime before.
Production of both cars would be subcontracted by the Magna Steyr auto architect in Graz, Austria, alongside the BMW 5 Series and added German cartage like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
Both cars allotment BMW’s new modular, CLAR platform, as able-bodied as a BMW-sourced turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six akin to a ZF eight-speed automated gearbox. In both cases, adeptness is beatific to the rear auto only.
From a automated standpoint, the Supra and the Z4, or what some accept taken to calling the Zupra, are absolutely absolutely identical. Tire, caster and anchor sizes, all the same. Pop the hood, and alike the finest capacity are carbon copies of one another.
The differences lie in tuning, engineers say—of the suspension, engine, bankrupt agenda and more. Toyota’s association will acquaint you they got the accouterments and ample things out from there. It’s absolutely accessible they feel altered to drive; the catechism is how much?
The end aftereffect is still rather interesting, breeding two absolutely altered types of actual able sports cars, aimed at absolutely altered demographics. One is a affluence two-seat roadster, the added is a sports coupe. The Z4 can be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, article the Supra currently abandoned offers in added markets. The Z4 has added options, while the Supra comes in one all-embracing package.
Also, amid the two columnist units that aria in my driveway, there was a $16,000 CAN ($12,000 US) bulk gap.
BMW claims its more-expensive Z4 M40i, the best able and almighty variant, pumps out 381 application and 368 lb-ft of torque while belief in at 3,622 pounds.
The Supra, on the added hand, puts bottomward a promised 335 application and 365 torques at 3,397 pounds. However, some dyno tests accept appear alike college numbers, suggesting the Toyota absolutely generates arctic of 400 lb-ft of torque. BMW’s abominable for underrating engines, so I do doubtable both are absolutely added able than antecedent numbers would accept you believe.
Many would like to apperceive which of these two carmakers calibrated this belvedere the best. Perhaps, added accessible than that, is the fifth-generation Toyota Supra any good?
One thing’s for certain: Toyota bare a Supra in its portfolio. While the cast has been animate adamantine afresh at address its boring-beige acceptability with fun cars like the 86, the manual-gearbox Corolla hatchback, Lexus models with some edge, and absolutely a few solid offerings for off-road enthusiasts, it still hasn’t had a top-shelf sports car aback the aftermost Supra larboard us in 1997.
Also, with the Nissan GT-R’s abnegation to die and the acknowledgment of the Acura NSX, additional Mazda active abroad with the always-great MX-5 Miata, Toyota affectionate of had to hop aback into the mix.
BMW, on the added hand, didn’t absolutely charge a new Z4, per se. It’s been accomplishing accomplished affairs M cars and high-performance variants of appealing abundant aggregate it sells, including its ever-expanding calendar of SUVs.
Also, with the Mercedes-Benz SLC now gone as able-bodied as an alien approaching for the Audi TT, or the we-might-as-well-pronounce-it-dead Alfa Romeo 4C, the baby exceptional auto articulation isn’t absolutely blooming at the moment. A beginning new Z4, however, allows BMW to be abandoned in that alcove with the Boxster. And if there’s annihilation we apperceive about BMW these days, its adage may be Leave No Alcove Behind.
Because it’s the car that generates the best bulk of excitement, both online and on the street, I’m activity to activate with the Supra.
Its administration is a abundant added in-your-face accomplishment than the Z4’s, with its curves, billowing arches and duckbill addle-brain blind out the back. This is a car that wants your absorption and does a rather acceptable job avaricious it.
My tester was corrective in the Absolute Zero white acrylic job, which looked absolutely adventurous with the allegory red-on-black interior. As a amount of fact, everywhere we collection it, bodies went basics over this thing.
Inside, it’s mostly a archetype and adhesive of BMW’s latest dashboard layouts. The Supra does, however, absorb its own little architecture cues like air vents and barometer readouts. Also, SUPRA! logos actuality and there admonish you what you’re driving.
But let’s not get too agitated abroad here. The absolute centermost console, HVAC controls, and shifter are taken beeline out of the Z4. So is the iDrive infotainment interface which Toyota adorably approved to change with altered colors and images of tiny Supras.
Otherwise, it’s the exact aforementioned arrangement as in all current-generation BMW cars and SUVs. It still can’t affix to Android Auto, but added than that iDrive is good. Probably one of the best appropriate now.
The Supra’s berth is visibly added bedfast than the Z4’s, with an advancing roofline that’s not absolutely affectionate to big guys like me. I kept accepting to lower my arch to attending alfresco the car, and banged it a few times accepting in. I did adore the seats, though. Supportive during adamantine active and adequate for continued trips.
I had a appropriate botheration active the Supra with its windows lowered. Turbulence was acute at freeway speeds, so bad, in fact, that I concluded up active the car with the AC on best of the time.
My antecedent is that the botheration comes from the astronomic pass-through amid abaft the seats. It’s a accessible affection to bandy your clutter in the block from the driver’s seat. But it seems to actualize some affectionate of a venturi aftereffect aback the windows are dropped.
On the road, the Supra feels anon added burning and antic than the Z4. It’s audibly louder and added animate as well, spooling its turbo and abounding advantageous belches out its accompanying exhaust. Adeptness bliss in quick, with actual little credible lag, abnormally for a turbocharged engine.
In case you’re still not aware, the GR brand refers to Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s latest motorsports arm. The accouterments basically tuned, calibrated and activated the absolute car.
There’s abandoned one added drive approach in the Supra, and it’s Sport, which firms up the adaptive dampers, accouterment added aggressively and adds some attrition to the council wheel.
In Sport, all the appearance ancestry listed aloft become alike added apparent, acute you to be absolutely alive abaft the wheel. It’s a agrarian car, activity absolutely abundant added able than its 335-HP agent suggests. It’s additionally a stunningly loud apparatus aback Sport Approach is engaged.
So I’m calling it actuality and now: the Supra is assuredly the added fun car to drive.
And yet I don’t apperceive if it’s because I’m accepting old, or because I capital to assignment on my tan, but I abundant adopted the Z4 over the Supra.
The affair is, alike admitting it’s appreciably added expensive, the Z4 feels like a added complete car. It’s about as if BMW kept all the acceptable actuality for itself.
For instance, its autogenous is acutely added ample and adequate than in the Toyota. One, because, yes, you can drive it with the top down; an added benefit during a balmy Autumn day.
But additionally because already its quick-retracting bendable top is put aback into place, there’s still massive allowance in the cabin.
The seats are additionally plushier, with leg extenders you don’t get in the added car. Autogenous architecture is all BMW, with BMW’s own switchgear, so the absolute berth feels added 18-carat and upscale, with finer-feeling materials. I additionally didn’t accept to accord with that brainless wind botheration during amphitheater driving.
The Z4 doesn’t accept the Supra’s accessible pass-through amid its seats, there’s abandoned a tiny aperture the admeasurement of an iPad to admission the trunk, but absolute burden amplitude charcoal high, about identical to its auto sister, actually.
The Z4 gives way to 9.9 cubic anxiety adjoin 10.1 cubes in the Supra.
The Z4 not abandoned looks added complete than its Japanese-tuned brother, but it additionally drives in a abundant added developed manner. Not that the car isn’t attractive, because it is. I’m alone a fan of its abbreviate LED taillights, they admonish me of the BMW Z8 auto from the aboriginal 2000s.
It does end up activity added bearding as a result. Abutting to the Supra, the Z4 artlessly disappears, actualization like some added snob, big-ticket convertible, and at times appearing to allotment accommodation with a Mercedes-Benz SL.
From abaft the wheel, things are abundant added bass down, civilized, yet appropriately athletic. The Z4 doesn’t wag its appendage beneath adamantine dispatch like the Supra, but rather squats bottomward and burns a bit of elastic as it accuse advanced with a good, able blitz of power.
It about feels like a larger, added automobile, with a decidedly beneath agrarian bankrupt agenda and a added controlled ride.
What the Z4 lacks in flamboyance, it makes up for with greater drive approach flexibility, acceptance it to be a added agreeable circadian driver. For instance, while the Supra abandoned has one alternating mode, the Z4 has a absolute of five, alignment from Sport, Sport , Comfort, EcoPro and Adaptive, which automatically adapts to your active style.
All modes absolutely change the car’s appearance to decidedly abundant lengths.
Another affection I adopted in the BMW, was the adeptness to boost the gearbox in automated S mode, area it still does the alive for you, but in a added advancing address than D.
The Supra doesn’t action this, it artlessly goes from D to chiral mode. Yes, its Sport approach takes affliction of that for you, but you can’t opt for a quick manual and a soft, adequate ride, for instance.
Fun fact: afterwards active this Z4, I spent some time abaft the caster of a 2020 BMW M4 convertible. It acquainted like a slow, abundant anachronistic abutting to this. That’s how beginning and avant-garde that new CLAR belvedere feels, and how quick the Z4 M40i is.
For the account of this comparo, we had abiding some clue time over at Sanair area we could appropriately appraise dispatch times, braking, and all-embracing lap achievement for anniversary car.
While Toyota agilely accustomed to let us accompany the Supra at the track, BMW backed abroad at the aftermost minute due to insurance-related issues. So we couldn’t get absolute numbers down. However, anticipation from our bench of the pants experience, Vincent and I both agreed that the Supra acquainted like the faster car.
There’s no abstinent that both the 2020 Toyota GR Supra and the 2020 BMW Z4 M40i are the aforementioned car. But they are acceptable cars. Their origins don’t in any way backbite from the active adventures they offer.
If anything, these two are up there amid the best almighty achievement machines accessible for beneath $100,000 (please don’t accomplish Corvette C8 jokes).
And the abundant affair is, they do feel different!
The Supra is absolutely aimed at a younger, added driving-oriented buyer, and it does a absurd job accomplishing that mission. If you haven’t apprenticed contempo BMW products, airing central a Toyota banker and ask to analysis drive a Supra, you’re not activity to be disappointed. It’s one hell of a sports car, and you’ll be accepting a lot of achievement for your dollar.
But if you apperceive your cars, if not aloof a tad, you apperceive the differences amid active a Toyota and active a BMW. This Supra doesn’t drive, sound, or alike aroma like a Toyota.
So in that sense, no, the 2020 Toyota Supra doesn’t analyze to its antecedent because it’s not a accurate Japanese effort. It’s too altered in too abounding ways. The fourth-generation car had been developed to, yes, amuse enthusiasts, but additionally to advertise Toyota’s engineering ability adjoin the world, best conspicuously the German carmakers.
Now, it’s the Germans that body the abuse thing.
The Z4, on the added hand, accustomed in the arena quiet and humble, overshadowed by the advertising the Supra had created. It concluded up actuality the car I enjoyed active the most, either because it offers added as a car, but additionally because it feels like a 18-carat BMW effort.
If there’s a higher-level takeaway here, it ability be that there should be an accepted aphorism in the automotive industry: never outsource your aura car.
Those are the automobiles that allure bodies into your showroom, the “hey, attending what we can do” agent that convinces buyers to buy that RAV4 because it shares apparatus with the sports car.
That doesn’t absolutely administer here. As abundant fun as the new Supra is, its abundance isn’t article Toyota can absolutely affirmation for itself.
William Clavey is an automotive announcer in Montreal, Canada and contributes to Jalopnik. He runs claveyscorner.com.
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