Does the 2020 Toyota Supra Have a Bad Alignment from the Factory?
Owner complaints over handling issues might hint at a deeper problem.
Think back to when Acura released the new NSX. Pundit after pundit heaped disdain on the hybrid-electric supercar. Articles, editorials, and reviews were mad with misplaced nostalgia. Then, people learned how to actually drive the car, and recently opinions have flipped to praise and love. The opposite might be happening with the 2020 Toyota Supra.
At the launch of the Supra, auto outlets—including The Drive—had nothing but universal approval for the new sports car. It has sharp turn in, the BMW-sourced turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine making more horsepower than advertised, and it’s a comfortable daily on the street. Everything a Supra should be, then and now. But a few months in, and owners seem to be finding issues with the Toyota's steering and suspension settings.
Last week, a German YouTuber named Misha Charoudin took his Toyota Supra to the Nurburgring and left feeling like something wasn't right with the stock handling, as if the rear was set up to be too loose. Charoudin then brought his Supra to Manthey Racing to get the steering and suspension checked over. The shop discovered that the rear alignment was off, with the rear tires set at 0 degrees of toe and rear right wheel in particular having too much negative camber.
Toe is the angle of a given tire in relation to the centerline of the vehicle as viewed from above, while camber is the angle of the wheel in relation to the flat ground beneath. The dead-on toe angle isn't necessarily an error, but it does make the car "quite lively in the rear" as Manthey's technician euphemistically puts it. Having a small degree of toe-in would boost higher-speed stability. Meanwhile, the 2.1 degrees of camber on the right rear wheel versus 1.7 on the left rear does seem like an issue.
Elsewhere, Road & Track’s contributing editor Jason Cammisa delivered a similar verdict on the Supra, saying rather emphatically, “It’s broken.” Cammisa had similar complaints about the car’s sketchy behavior: “The car was so ill-behaved on track that I honestly thought something was broken... There’s an abrupt steering-ratio change at around 30º off-center, with no commensurate change in weight. In fact, the change itself isn’t consistent, so it feels like bushing deflection. Never the same twice. Lots of body motions, but unlike the floppy Miata, everything upsets this car. It’s twitchy AF, continually kicking out the tail, especially when you don’t want it to. To call it 'uncontrollable' is perhaps a stretch, but it’s a nightmare at the limit.”
Cammisa’s experience mirrors Charoudin’s, but are Supras actually coming out of the factory with unplanned issues, or did Toyota simply design them to be tail-happy? It's hard to land on a definitive answer from a handful of owner accounts and our own limited time with the car so far. What we do know is that when Toyota and BMW started the joint Supra/Z4 project, one key aspect that Toyota said it would adjust on its car was the Supra’s suspension settings.
And while these new reviews say the car is twitchy, the original stories from this spring all described the Supra’s tail as easily caught mid-drift. Perhaps Toyota changed some settings once production began in earnest and went a little too far with loosening the rear end?
Another possibility is a simple issue with one of Toyota’s suspension parts suppliers. Again, this is a fairly common occurrence given how many suppliers are used by major automakers these days. A single issue with a part like a minor tolerance change, or change in metallic composition, could have massive repercussions throughout the car’s chassis.
The Drive reached out to Toyota for comment on what could be giving these impressions, but we have yet to hear back at the time of publishing and will update this post when it responds.