Hey, Enthusiasts: The Toyota Supra is the BMW Sports Car You’ve Been Asking For

The new Toyota Supra is the hottest BMW in 20 years.

2020 Toyota GR Supra Column
Chris Chin

BMW’s "Ultimate Driving Machine" moniker has been contested by the aficionadi of late. Enthusiasts, brand loyalists, and those in the know have howled into the void as they’ve watched the Bavarian brand produced larger, heavier, and more complex machines over the last 20 years. Gone are the days of simple performance, replaced with a confused luxury identity. Well, take note of the Toyota Supra, internet denizens: It might have a different badge on the hood, but it's what you've been asking BMW to build for decades.

Looking back, the media is partly to blame for the vitriol and eye-rolling comments. Whenever there’s a new BMW released, there’s always a disparaging connotation in the headlines: More is less. "New BMW M3 Heavier Than Outgoing Model," and "All-New BMW M5 Longer By Five Inches Than Previous Generation," or our favorite, "Has BMW Lost Its Soul?" The cars are faster, safer, and more capable than previous generations, yet stats are reported with a jaundiced eye. It's an echo chamber of our own making.

Chris Chin

The common theme connecting these complaints is that people just want to see something lightweight, uncomplicated, decently priced, and great to drive from BMW. They want something akin to the car’s BMW built in the late 1980s. Cars like the E30 3 Series or E34 5 Series. Cars that were driver’s cars. Yet, it’s these same people that now won’t stop shit-posting about the new Toyota Supra, even though it’s the answer to literally every single one of their grievances.

Those lucky enough to get behind the Supra’s wheel have heaped much praise upon the car. They say it’s dynamic. It’s nimble. The power delivery from BMW’s B58 turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine is superb. And more generally, that it’s a great f-ing sports car. As for the ever-important and often amorphous enthusiast checklist of lightweight, fun to drive, and relatively cheap, the new Supra has every box ticked off. 

Lightweight? The Supra’s 3,372-pound frame is a considerable 300 pounds lighter than BMW’s own M2, the Ford Mustang EcoBoost, and 100 pounds lighter than Chevrolet’s Camaro Turbo 1LE. Check. Fun to drive? According to Car and Driver, not only is it quicker to 60 mph than the BMW M2 Competition, Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE, and Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang, but based on those who’ve driven it, the Supra is more easily drifted than anything BMW or Toyota has come up with in years. Furthermore, around a track, the Supra is agile and thoroughly capable of smashing apexes and blitzing straights. Check. And as for the want of it being relatively cheap, the Supra is nearly $10,000 cheaper than BMW’s hot M2. It’s also quite a lot cheaper than the hallowed MkIV Supra was when adjusted for inflation. So yeah, that’s a big check.

BMW

I'd actually go a step further—and likely enrage those same online trolls—by saying that in my eyes, the new Supra is a true successor to BMW’s legendary and truly iconic E30 M3. That sacrosanct sports car is what many submit as evidence of BMW’s lost identity. The formula of two doors, lightweight, and fun as all hell was simple and seemingly unrepeatable. That is, until the Supra. But better yet, the Supra's also over $20,000 cheaper than the E30 M3 was when it was new—when adjusted for inflation, the price for a 1988 M3 today would be $73,000. 

I'll admit, there was plenty of animosity aimed at the Toyota side during development. But now that the car has been reviewed, BMW critics still can’t get on board even when presented with tangible evidence that the Supra brings back what many believe the Bavarians have lost in recent decades. They get held up on the fact that it's supposedly the ever-squishy Z4 underneath. In reality, after Toyota’s engineers got their hands on it, the Supra delivers a vastly different experience. 

Yet according to the internet, the new Supra is a giant pile of crap. A short scroll through the comments on our review shows a breadth of response to the Supra’s introduction that beggars belief. “It’s an unreliable shitbox that will not stand the test of time, but new buyers that don’t know anything about cars will just buy it,” says one. Another reads, “I wonder how many people they had to pay off so they would get these "great" reviews. It's ugly, too expensive, uninspired.” And comment after comment reads like these two, “Finally, a Toyota that is as unreliable as a BMW,” and “Why put all that money into a shit Z4?” 

There’s no way to please everyone all of the time, but those vocal few who’ve wanted BMW to return to its roots need to take a long hard look at the Supra. You can plead and beg and pray for BMW to bring back the mythical E30, its first true successor is available now. You don’t have to wait. You don’t have to pray. You don’t have to sound off in the comments section and bemoan something that has already happened. 

Before you settle on an uninformed opinion, go test drive the Supra and see for yourself that The Ultimate Driving Machine has indeed returned—albeit with a Toyota badge, but honestly, who cares?