The Supra Returns

When Akio Toyoda unveiled the 2020 Supra in Detroit, it marked the return of an icon and a new generation of Toyota’s sports car history. Supra is back, and it’s absolutely breathtaking.
by Dan Nied
Jan/Feb 2019
The Supra Returns
Calls for the Supra’s return began in 1999, immediately after Toyota pulled its iconic sports car from the American market.

They lasted for decades, only increasing in volume and breadth. As gas prices rose and fell, as sedans gained popularity before giving way to trucks, the cries for Supra never quieted.

OK, so Toyota may have fanned the flames a little bit. Akio Toyoda’s declaration of Waku Doki – the idea that he wanted to create vehicles that inspire heart-pounding excitement – half a decade ago was telling. And then, 2014’s FT-1 Concept, from the Calty design studio, marked a new era in Toyota design as the automotive world speculated they were looking at the first take for a new Supra.
Turns out, they were right.

Toyoda unveiled the 2020 Supra – the fifth generation – to the world at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, confirming the worst kept secret in the industry. But, even as leaked photos of camouflaged testers made their way around the internet in 2018, nothing could prepare Supra lovers for what they saw today.

It’s back. And it’s glorious.

The Inspiration

In mid-2018, on the heels of the Avalon reveal, Calty president Kevin Hunter mused to a team member about Toyota’s sharp turn to emotionally driven cars. In recent years, his design teams were finally able to see some of their most ambitious work hit the market.

But he knew the biggest test would come in early 2019, when the world got to see perhaps the most anticipated Calty-inspired car in history.

“So, how’s the Supra looking?” he was asked.

Hunter couldn’t say much then, of course. But an enthusiastic nod and a simple “it looks really, really good” signaled his excitement.

Now, it’s easy to see why. Its seductive curves and sexy lines are the definition of emotion. It’ll look as good in the parking lot as on the highway. This new Supra – for designer, manufacturer and driver – is a statement.

The double bubble roof is a nod to the famed 2000 GT of the late 60s. The entire body is based on that FT-1 concept that got people so excited in 2014. The back end is stamped with the letters GR – Gazoo Racing – as the first global model developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Meanwhile, the face is a bonkers version of the fourth generation Supra’s front end. And, sure the arching rear integrated spoiler is functional – helping to suppress aerodynamic lift – but it also just looks really freaking cool. Which is a key part of the Supra’s appeal.

The Real Good Stuff

What’s under the hood? Here’s the dirt:
  • 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine
  • 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque
  • 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters.
So, rest assured, this is a sports car that’s gonna perform in the streets and on the track. Daily driver? Sure. But a weekly racer, too.

Two driving modes – Normal and Sport – allow you to choose your thrill. A dashboard touchscreen gives you full control of the interior. Standard Keyless Smart Entry, dual automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, rear camera, rain sensor windshield wipers, power folding mirrors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel give the Supra a luxury coat. Racing-inspired Alcantara-trimmed seats just make sense. And high structural rigidity, a low center of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution help achieve Toyota’s goal of neutral cornering balance.

All of that is impressive and important. But perhaps the most important thing about the 2020 Supra is simply the fact that it exists.

Because for 21 years enthusiasts howled for its return.

And here it is. Fantastically beautiful, heart pounding and emotional. A natural heir to Toyota’s rich sports car heritage. Right in front of us in all its Supra glory.

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