No, The 2020 Toyota Supra Is Not a Rebadged BMW Z4

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2020 Toyota Supra

An informal sit down with Toyota Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada gave us and our colleagues the opportunity to address the elephant on the Detroit Auto Show floor.

Is the 2020 Toyota Supra a rebadged BMW Z4? If it was such a thing, it would be a travesty to the Supra name and everything that car represents for millions of enthusiasts all around the world.

Of course the BMW Z4 isn’t a bad car and if you’re going to partner with an automaker to build a rear-wheel drive performance vehicle you can certainly do worst than BMW, but you want a Supra to be its own thing. A unique, light, agile two-seater that doesn’t need German engineering to go fast.

As it turns out, Tada-san never drove a BMW Z4 until a few months ago, well after the 2020 Toyota Supra unveiled today at the Detroit Auto Show was ready to go. That’s what Toyota’s chief engineer and man responsible for the Supra revealed at a media roundtable during the 2019 NAIAS.

Can You Really Say Anything Bad About That 3.0-Liter?

The fact is, Toyota could have built its own engine for the Supra. But it was more effective to use an already proven 3.0-liter inline-six that everyone absolutely loves. It’s an incredibly smooth engine as anyone who has ever driven a BMW M240i can attest to, and Toyota didn’t really have anything similar already built.

BMW has mastered the art of making small cars go fast and remain nimble and agile, and that’s exactly what Toyota wanted with their new 2020 Supra.

That would also explain in part why both cars share almost the same dimensions and suspension setup. They also share an adaptive suspension system.

So what Toyota did was quite simple. They chose to use components of a car that was close to what they wanted the end result to be with the 2020 Supra, and then went to work designing a vehicle to perfectly wrap around those parts. They didn’t develop the Supra alongside the Z4 according to Tada-san, and they didn’t try to make it a “sportier Z4” or a “hard-top Z4”.

It’s easy to criticize Toyota for using parts from another automaker on a car we’ve waited so long to see, but the reality is that very few cars if any use all-new parts from the wheels up.

They all share engines within the brand, but what’s so wrong with using better engines even if they belong to another automaker? Now, if you want to give Toyota grief for not offering a manual on the new 2020 Supra, then by all means be our guest.

2020 Toyota Supra Pictures Gallery

5 COMMENTS

  1. This is a shit article.
    TLDR: The new supra isn’t a rebadged z4 because they said so…. That’s so fucking stupid of course they’re not gonna say its a rebadged z4 when it obviously is.

      • Because its shares about 90% DNA with the BMW. Just because Toyota tuned the suspension differently doesn’t make it a whole different car. It’s the Z4 coupe version of BMWs Z4 convertible. There isn’t anything really special about the Supra considering it shares the same drivetrain with any of BMWs line ups. It’s just Toyota cashing in on the name Supra and hope the fans will buy their gimmick. The Z3 had a coupe brethren and the e85 Z4 also had a coupe brethren. The e89 discontinued the coupe because it came in a hardtop convertible.

        This article is just trying to feed us BS of what Toyota said and expect us to just believe it. Let the sales speak for themselves because I’ll be voting with my dollars elsewhere. Toyota is starting to become more of a let down.

        • “…We’ve driven prototypes of both, and each have their own personality. Unlike the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ “Toyobaru” platform-sharing coupes–which are nearly indistinguishable from each other in styling or feel–the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4 have their own distinct personality, body, interior design and package, and driving dynamics. So don’t be tempted to say they are the same car: One with a roof and one without. The Supra is every bit the slick Toyota you expect it would be and should be.” -Chris Walton, author from MotorTrend

          We get it, you’re demanding Toyota to invest over half a billion dollars in development of another JZ platform that will power one car and will sell in very limited numbers. It would’ve been priced in the $100K range and then ya’ll would really be reacting when it flops due to it. This new Supra looks, sounds very interesting and appears to be very competent and with equipment that is very up-to-date with today’s market (sorry, manual transmission “lovers” who aren’t even buying cars with them anymore whatsoever), so it probably won’t flop like the NSX did lately thanks to it’s on-par pricing and marketing, while staying true to its heritage but with re-imagination… which then leads to Toyota jointly joining BMW to reduce development costs to make the car more profitable and help keeping costs down for the consumer while sharing costs with another automaker (BMW on this occasion) within manufacturing plants, which is why BMW gave Toyota to co-develop the car with them for a short period of time. Toyota then independently developed everything else from the design, to the interior and its layout, to the configurations, to the coding and programming, to the rigidity, structure, exhaust note, throttle response, etc etc etc (even the engine which was also stress-tested to meet their reliability standards hence customised based on what they wanted theirs to be from scratch + the chassis which was fully customised and enhanced with Toyota’s touch as with the engine that’s even stiffer yet lighter than the LFA supercar without reinforced carbon fiber is yet has a shorter wheelbase and an even lower center of gravity than the GT86 does too with an additional perfect 50:50 power-to-weight ratio balance + some minor parts here and there for cost savings too) after they began to mind their business despite the Supra and Z4 being different cars with their own unique personas. So given the fact that Toyota and BMW haven’t interacted with each other for years now during the development process, it’s clear that the Supra and Z4 will be different cars for the vast majority, so the car will pretty much end up being more Toyota than BMW for that matter, which in the end, doesn’t qualify as badge-engineering since for one everything should be identical for it to be rebadged (IE: The new Yaris represents that if you want to see badge-engineering from Toyota of today), and two the overall package basically has been both developed and customised depending on the things done, and all by Toyota alone. To summarise it more simpler, the new Supra and Z4 have shared engines and platforms that have been independently been developed, so the cars are still different, the new Supra however consists of Toyota’s touch. On top of all of that, the car has an exceptionally well developed chassis and will be quick from the factory (as opposed to the prior Supra that was a fun car but was in no possible way, shape or form some kind of supercar killer. It’s tuners, in fact, you fucking people, the ones who made the MKIV a supercar killer. You stupid fanboys/fangirls have no fucking clue). So, again, the upcoming Supra is still a Toyota overall, feels like one, and is still a Supra, but re-imagined, and is NOT a Z4 in disguise, nor is it a rebadged BMW either (read this entire paragraph as to why BMW even asked Toyota to jointly develop the car, despite the two automakers claiming that they have developed and refined their cars separately in their own way). Simply put, Toyota knows exactly what they’re doing and they amount of time they needed and took for many years to develop the new Supra proves it (hence its development story)! I’m certain that the same company that made and gave us the LFA knows how to make a damn sports car (should I even mention that the Toyota Motor Corporation remade the LFA from scratch multiple times and ended up losing a ton of money based on every unit sold?). It has everything to do with profit, as well as development costs and reducing them. Sales for these types of cars don’t justify the cost of producing by yourself. Like with manufacturing the GT86 and its BRZ twin/clone (yes, the BRZ is the rebadged GT86), and its boxer engine (hence the D4S system from Toyota) to tribute the Sports 800, partnering with another company lowers the cost for both parties involved and still allows enough differentiation to make the car unique, and makes it easier for both companies since these cars are expensive to produce (despite being alright-to-low volume sellers), making the car more competitive sports car-wise, pricing-wise, and within the segment it competes in (the new Supra will compete against the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cayman, Nissan 370Z, Alpine A110, Audi TT, etc just to name a few). If the whole opposite of its development story (*WATCH IT HERE:* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jbyzmtgU_0&t=14s) was the case, then ya’ll would really be crying if it was going to fail like the MKIV Supra, LFA, and the new NSX did while being about as comparably priced to those cars thanks to Toyota investing half a billion dollars in development of another JZ platform that will power one car and will predictably sell in very limited numbers, let alone that those bitching about the new Supra clearly weren’t even buying one anyways, as Akio Toyoda wanted to bring the Supra back to satisfy the fans and make it affordable. It’s either this or nothing and you get to make that choice for yourself, so really no real reason to bitch about it. At least they’re keeping the Inline-6 heritage alive unlike Nissan with the GT-R and the 350/370 “Z” car, and the fact that Toyota even supervised the engine for reliability testing (ending up with successful results) makes those matters even better hence the Inline-6 option… so if the new Supra was such a thing to be a rebadged Z4, it would be a travesty to the Supra name and everything that car represents for millions of enthusiasts all around the world and Toyota knows it. Speaking of which, from being just a sporty GT vehicle, being turned into an actual legitimate tour-de-force sports car you guys have been wanting the Supra to be and always imagined it was, *Toyota didn’t ruin the Supra at the end of it all, they re-imagined it*, making this vehicle the final accurate (yet interesting) answer to your imaginations. Either be a man and give it a chance, or say goodbye to any sports brand initiative from Toyota at all.

          DEVELOPMENT STORY: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jbyzmtgU_0&t=26s

  2. So your saying Toyota changed the suspension tuning and gave it different body panels then called it a day? They share an engine and base platform but they drive like two different base platforms. Not to mention how aftermarket friendly Toyota made the Supra. If you want to hate on a rebadged car go rant about a gt86 that shares a Subaru Impreza platform and Subaru boxer engine and looks exactly like a brz.

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