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Toyota unveiled the highly anticipated all-new Supra sports car at the Detroit auto show. Sharing platform and powertrain with the redesigned BMW Z4 roadster, the Supra promises to be a natural heir to the last-generation car. Known as the Mk IV, that Supra left the market two decades ago and is still coveted by enthusiasts today.
The original Supra began as a step up from the Celica coupe, and it ended its run after four generations as a sports car that competed against models that cost twice as much. It earned a starring role in the “The Fast and the Furious” film franchise, and its revered place in the automotive pantheon can be measured by its high resale values today.
This new car builds on that heritage, with similar scale and power, while boasting the improvements and technology one would expect from a 21st-century sports car.
Where the last Supra had a bulbous design, this 2020 edition appears more chiseled. The new Supra screams for attention with its sharp angles, dramatic curves, and overly large scoops and intakes.
The styling draws some inspiration from the previous version, seen in the front bumper and headlights. It has an even shorter wheelbase, and it’s a few inches shorter bumper to bumper. The car also pulls design cues from the outlandish Toyota FT-1 concept car that made the show circuit in 2014 that has been featured in video games since then. But the final car truly looks like a unique beast—one that would be right at home sitting in a (admittedly very large) Hot Wheels package.
The double-bubble roof design is a nod to the classic race cars that used that technique to create enough interior space for a driver’s helmet. This is truly a car that has been bred for track time, and extra headroom is always welcomed there.
The seats were inspired by race cars, and they have integrated head restraints and a narrow, body hugging shape. Additional comforts including leather upholstery, heated elements, and memory settings can be added as options.
The instrument cluster is digital, and it emphasizes the car’s driving-related data. Audio information is tucked off to the right side, or shown on the tablet-like center-dash screen. An optional head-up display can show both driving data and other information.
There are two center screens to choose from: the base 6.5-inch display or an upgraded 8.8-inch one. These are interfaced through a rotary dial that sits in the center console, just like in any recent BMW. That 8.8-inch system also includes telematics services, Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto), and wireless phone charging, among other features.
All Supras will have keyless entry, dual automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and integrated garage door opener.
The two-seater has a modest amount of cargo space accessible at the rear hatch.
What Drives It
The Supra is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces 335 hp and 365 lb.-ft. of torque. That power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the Supra has rear-wheel drive. The driver can select gears through paddle shifters. There is a launch-control feature that can optimize acceleration from a standstill. Toyota claims 0-60 mph times in a scant 4.1 seconds, and the top speed is said to be limited to 155 mph.
The new car is set up with a balanced 50:50 weight distribution, a coveted ratio for sports cars because it helps to create neutral handling, and it’s optimized for high-performance driving.
There are two driving modes, Normal and Sport, that let the driver conjure the personality that’s appropriate for their mood. In Sport mode, the car reduces the intervention of traction-limiting safety systems, while making the throttle more responsive (meaning it takes less pressure on the accelerator to make the car go faster), and increases steering weight, with crisper shifts. On top of all that, it also amplifies the exhaust sound. It adjusts the active differential to better manage power distribution through the rear wheels to help acceleration, braking, and handling in turns.
Safety & Driver-Assist Systems
Like other new Toyotas, the Supra will come with a standard suite of advanced safety systems, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning with steering assist. There are additional available active safety and convenience features, such as adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam and road sign assist, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, and rear-end collision warning.
The Toyota of sports cars returns with more performance, technology, and safety features than ever before. The wild styling may be a bit brash for some shoppers, and it’s certainly a departure from its predecessor.
The new Supra may not be for everyone. But for those craving a true sports car experience, it should be an exciting new option. And if that appearance is a bit much for your taste, there is always the Lexus RC.
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