The Toyota-BMW Supra?
The 2020 Toyota Supra will be on U.S. roads later this year, and as a JDM purist, I’ve had mixed emotions. The Mk. IV Supra is arguably the most iconic Japanese sports car of the ‘90s (ignoring the Skyline because we never got them here), and what made it so iconic was how effortlessly you could raise the horsepower, without sacrificing reliability. That’s something tuners haven’t seen in a long time.
But this new Toyota Supra is barely a Toyota. The engine is 100% BMW, the transmission is the same amazing 8-speed ZF unit BMW has been using for years now, and if you look at the interior, every switch, button, surface, and screen are all BMW’s. So, is that a good thing?
As someone who has owned more ‘90s Japanese sports cars than I car to reveal, my first instinct is to cry sacrilege! But, I’ve also spent the past four years in and around BMWs, and if I’m honest with myself, a bonestock 3-series is more exciting than any of the tuner cars I owned–and poured obscene amounts of money into in the pursuit of speed.
Let’s be honest, BMW isn’t the first name you think of when considering build quality–a negative, but very much deserved reputation BMW gained during the mid 2000s. But in recent years BMW has turned things around, and is pumping out amazing vehicles, both performance and reliability-wise. A statement which I think is backed up by the fact that Toyota–a company long established as the most reliable car maker out there–opted to partner with and use BMW technology to make their flagship sports car.
Last time Toyota partnered with another brand was to create the Scion FR-S/Subaru BR-Z. But even then, Toyota chose another Japanese brand, so as not to sacrifice reliability. So what does that say about their partnership with BMW? It’s doubtful a company as big as Toyota would rebadge another company’s car if it risked hurting their brand.
From everything I’ve read about the Supra, aside from the love-or-hate looks, the car sounds like an amazing vehicle. And while it may not be something you want to try and extract 1,200hp from (the stock 500 seems plenty), the car should be a properly good sports car. And, if that’s the case, you have to give the lion’s share of the credit to BMW. And that’s says a lot about how far BMW has come. Spend a little time in a 435i M-Sport and I think you’ll agree with me.