After years of waiting, the new Supra is here—Toyota showed off the 2020 Supra at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month, and not a moment too soon. Here, we've compiled everything we know about the car, from interviews with various people behind the MkV Supra and our drive of a pre-production prototype last year.
We're also curious to see how the MkV stacks up against its legendary predecessor, the MkIV Turbo. Our first review of a Supra Turbo from March 1993 helps us see what 25- years of progress looks like.
Or not. When you compare the specs of the MkIV Supra Turbo and the MkV on paper, they're strikingly similar. The new car is a little lighter and shorter, but ever so slightly taller and wider. The MkV only has 15 more horsepower and 50 more lb-ft of torque than the MkIV Turbo, though it's shaved almost a second off the 0-60 mph time. The top speeds on both are electronically limited.
The fact that there's so little on-paper improvement isn't necessarily a bad thing. In its day, the MkIV was a supercar-rival, with a spec sheet that inspired folklore; today, the MkV is just a middle-of-the-road sports car. But driving experience is more important than numbers in the sports-car world, so here are a few excerpt from each review.
1993 Supra Turbo:
"[W]hy get on and off the throttle when you can keep it pressed down and thunder to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds? Nice round number, five seconds. And bettered in our Road Test Summary by only the Dodge Viper, Ferrari's 512TR and F40, the Lamborghini Diablo, Shelby's 427 Cobra and the Vector W8 TwinTurbo. . . At approximately $38,000 for the Turbo (and about $32,000 for the naturally aspirated version), it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that the Supra Turbo is one of car-dom's biggest bangs for the buck.
On paper, the right parts and the right size, but what happens at the track? How about 0.98g around the skidpad, 66.0 mph through the slalom and stopping distances from 60 mph on the order of 120 ft. Like the Supra Turbo's acceleration, its handling and braking prowess are close to the best we've ever seen, regardless of cost."
2020 Supra Pre-Production Prototype:
"It’s a legitimate hoot to drive. I had one afternoon to sample the car, including a handful of laps at Jarama Race Circuit and an hour or so summiting the winding mountain roads of rural Spain. It was just enough to make me want more.
Out on the hairpins of Jarama, that short wheelbase makes the Supra more than happy to pivot. You feel the thing squirm around a bit under braking, especially at the end of the straightaway where you’re flirting with 140 mph. Rolling on unique compound Michelin Pilot Super Sports (255s up front, 275s in the rear, on upgrade 19-inch wheels) and optional adaptive dampers, the close-coupled car feels playful and engaging, never squirrely.
It also feels decidedly un-turbocharged. Final calibration is still being done—despite sharing its engine with the Z4, the Supra will have unique drivetrain programming—but I’m told this single-turbo engine maxes out at a little more than seven psi of boost. The torque comes on early and never really drops off; unlike some turbo powerplants, this engine rewards a run all the way to its 6500-rpm redline, and unless you’re demanding full boost at 50 mph in top gear, you’ll never catch the turbo sleeping on the job."
But enough dwelling on the past. Here's everything we know about the MkV Supra.
This story will be continually updated as more information is learned. It was last updated 2/06/2019.
The First One Sold For Crazy Money
Shortly after the Supra debuted, #001 went to auction at Barrett-Jackson where it commanded $2.1 million. The proceeds were donated to charity, but that's still a ton of money to pay for a car that otherwise costs under $60,000. Kinda makes you forget about that $121,000 MkIV Supra Turbo, doesn't it?
It Can Drift
Well, obviously. Being front-engine and rear-wheel drive, it's not too much of a surprise the new Supra is able to drift as well as its predecessor. Pro drifter Fredric Aasbø was able to get behind the wheel for a short session to show off the new car's sideways capabilities. He also talks about how he practices during the off-season on ice with his collection of beat-up Mk IV cars, which is cool.
It Sounds Like This
It sounds, unsurprisingly, like a BMW. Not that we have a problem with it—BMW inline sixes sound lovely.
It's Getting Straight-Six and Four-Cylinder Power
Toyota is developing the rear-wheel drive platform for the Supra with BMW, and one advantage to this partnership is access to smooth, straight-six power. At Goodwood, Toyota confirmed that the Supra will get an inline-six. Chief engineer Tada has been insistent the Supra will come so equipped.
Before specs were confirmed, we uncovered documents from transmission supplier ZF that indicate the Supra's six will offer up 335 hp. This is BMW's single-turbo 3.0-liter B58B30 unit, the same found in the M240i and many other cars from the German brand. We've now found out that those numbers are correct.
Those documents from ZF indicated that the Supra will get a four-cylinder option, too. Specifically, BMW's turbocharged, 2.0-liter codenamed B48B20. Toyota has been reluctant to confirm this engine, but at Goodwood, Tada told us it's a reality. He noted this engine is lighter and offers better weight distribution, and, it's the perfect platform for engine swaps, since it's cheaper. So if you're gonna put a 2JZ in this new Supra, start with the four-cylinder. It'll be offered with two different power levels—197 hp and 255 hp.
But, we won't get a four-cylinder Supra in the US. Jack Hollis, the VP for the Toyota brand in the US, told us he doesn't think there will be much demand in the US. If you want a four-cylinder, rear-drive Toyota sports car here, get an 86.
The Interior Is Nearly All BMW
We knew that the Supra would share a lot with the Z4, but the interior is the most obvious bit of sharing. Everything from the switchgear to the iDrive is straight out of a BMW. Not bad because BMW makes a nice interior, but not great because Toyota's halo car shares switchgear with a totally different brand. An odd choice.
There Might Not Be a Manual Option
Those documents from ZF indicate that both engines will be offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission, with no mention of a manual. In our conversations with Tada, he hasn't ruled out the possibility of a manual Supra, and he knows there are a lot of fans who'd like one.
It Shares a Platform With the New BMW Z4
The Supra is a result of a BMW-Toyota collaboration first announced in 2012. The two companies are working together on engines and lithium-ion batteries, and this rear-wheel drive sports-car platform. In addition to the Supra, this platform underpins the new BMW Z4.
They're not totally twins, though. For starters, the BMW will only come as a roadster, while the Supra is a coupe. And while they'll share a lot of major components, the tuning work for each was carried out separately. We get the sense that the Supra will be the more focused sports car of the two.
Here It Is Running Up the Goodwood Hillclimb
Toyota showed off camouflaged Supra at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, giving us our first look at the car in motion. Both Tada and Toyota master driver Herwig Daenens drove the car up the Festival of Speed's famous hillclimb.
It's Rear-Wheel Drive
We heard rumors that the Supra could go all-wheel drive, but at Geneva, Tada-san confirmed that the MkV will be rear-drive, like all Supras before it. He has some experience developing rear-drive cars, as he was the chief engineer of the Toyota 86.
Tada-san told us that he's taken lessons learned with the 86, and applied them to the Supra, promising it'll be even better to drive. He's targeting a 50-50 front-to-rear weight distribution and an even lower center of gravity than the 86.
last year, Shigeki Tomoyama, the president of Toyota's Gazoo Racing division, said even Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is taking an active role in the Supra's development. Apparently, he wanted it to have a "more mobile" rear axle, which to us, sounds like it'll be all good and slidey.
It's Got Blocked Off Air Vents That Can Be Made Functional
We were initially disappointed to see fake air vents all over the Supra, but they're not actually fake. Rather, they're vents that are blocked off from the factory by removable plastic covers. Tada wanted them to be removable for those trying to build race cars out of their new Supras.
Toyota Developed It at the Nürburgring
There's been no lack of videos showing the Supra in testing at Germany's famous Nürburgring. This is the proving ground of choice for high-performance products, and an indication that Toyota really wants the Supra to be a true driver's car. And it should be pretty quick there, too—Tada thinks it'll run a 7:40 on the famous track.
It'll Be Made in Austria
Last May, we reported the Supra would be built in Austria by contract manufacturer Magna Steyr, which is best known as the company that builds the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. The BMW Z4 will be made there too.
It's Not Horribly Expensive
In an interview with Toyota Europe R&D chief Gerald Killmann said that the Supra "will not be a cheap car." He said this to create a clear space between it and the more-affordable Toyota 86, which starts at $26,255.
Toyota has now confirmed that its new sports car will start at $49,990 $930 for destination charge. But that's for a version powered by the 3.0 liter inline-six. The four-cylinder model should cost less.
A Lightweight Version Could Come
Last year, Tada told Top Gear that he wants to make a lighter version of the Supra, aimed at track-day goers. At a tick under 3400 pounds, the Supra isn't too heavy, but considering the Porsche 718 Cayman—which Toyota considers the Supra's main rival—weighs just over 3000 pounds, it could stand to lose a little.
It Had a Great Super Bowl Ad
Toyota decided to surprise us with a Super Bowl commercial for the new Supra, which featured the car drifting around in a giant pinball machine. We think it was a pretty great way to reintroduce the US to one of Toyota's all-time greats.
It's Going Racing
Toyota didn't announce the return of the Supra with a race-car concept festooned with Gazoo Racing branding for no reason. Tada said that the concept was built to LM GTE specs, so it's likely we'll see it in the World Endurance Championship. Japan's Super GT series seems like an obvious home too.
A less obvious home? NASCAR's Xfinity series, but we'll see there Supra next year. Of course, the Xfinity Supra is a Supra in name (and vague appearance) only, but hey, we like to see it racing anywhere.
Tada told us that Toyota developed the Supra race car alongside the road car, hopefully meaning it should be competitive right out of the gate. We'll find out in due time.