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Toyota Supra: The Legend Lives On

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The Fast and the Furious franchise didn’t just help the careers of budding actors like Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, it made high performance Japanese vehicles become icons. The original film chose the A80 Toyota Supra to be the hero car of main character Brian O’Conner cementing the Supra badge with a cult like following. Toyota ceased production of the Supra for the United States in 1998, three years before The Fast and the Furious was to hit cinemas. 2019 became a big year for motoring enthusiasts and for Toyota with the announcement of the return of the legend. The return of the 2020 Toyota Supra.

Toyota ceased its production of the Supra for the US market in 1998.

Development

The Supra is Toyota’s effort to return to producing performance cars. It was developed under the supervision of the performance arm Toyota Gazoo Racing under the leadership of senior engineer Tetsuya Tada. Much like Tetsuya Tada’s previous creation, the GT86, the new Supra was to be a joint-venture with another car manufacturer. Tada’s reputation comes from the success of his joint-venture developments, the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ. The 2020 Supra will be sharing the architecture and powertrain of the new-gen BMW Z4. Simply put, BMW will work the engineering and components while Toyota pays for its development.

Debut

Toyota became the talk of the town in the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, because of the built-up hype of the 2020 Toyota Supra debut. This was coming five months after the debut of its co developed BMW Z4. An “accidental” video leaked on the internet showing the 2020 Supra a day before its debut only added to the frenzy. Some say it was a ploy of Toyota to get even more social media hype before the big reveal.

The Supra debut was live streamed over the internet and instantly became the talk of the motoring world. The 2020 Toyota Supra dazzled the world with its wide hips and aggressive front stance. Since the start of its development in 2012, Toyota has kept the A90 fifth generation Supra underwraps only revealing a hint of what it may look like with the FT-1 concept from five years ago.

The return of the Supra is part of Toyota’s efforts to produce performance cars again.

A80 vs A90

Though the 1993-1998 (for the US market) A80 Supra solidified its name in the history books as a proven and worthy contender to modern sports cars, it’s still worth looking at what difference 21 years can do. Since production of the A80 Supra ceased, much has changed in car technology.
The A80 was well known for its 2JZ 3.0-Liter in-line six twin-turbo engine which became synonymous with reliability and performance. Mated to that 2JZ engine was a 6-speed manual gearbox which wasn’t stellar, but got the job done. This was all presented with timeless styling and most importantly, a targa top.

Fast forward to the A90 with a single turbo BMW 3.0-Liter in-line six engine. Mated to the BMW engine is an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. Right-hand-drive Supras might get the optional manual transmission. Though time will tell if this styling will stick, the A90’s concept car design is something straight out of the future. A convertible version of the Supra may be made available to the world, perhaps during its mid-cycle refresh.

Is it worth buying the Toyota Supra over the BMW Z4?

This isn’t an apples to oranges question. Both have regional loyalty playing to its favor with hardcore “Pure Euro” and JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) fans from the 90s. There will also be the prestige of owning a BMW hanging over the Toyota brand badge. Without looking at a spec sheet, the most obvious reason why you would purchase one over the other is if you prefer convertibles or coupes. The 2019 BMW Z4 comes with a retractable soft top making it heavier than the Toyota Supra. Though they have the same engine it is rumored that Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division breathed on the BMW engine producing more power than published. If it’s a comparison of just the price tag alone that will sway your decision, the Supra is a steal at $54,920 fully-loaded while the BMW at the similar spec is roughly $73,000. With a price tag north of $18,000 to the Supra, the BMW is creeping into Porsche territory. Want to see how they perform side by side? The guys from Carwow pitted the Z4 and the Supra against each other and the results can speak for themselves.

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