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In a global product-development investment landscape oriented to SUV-demanding markets and customers, Toyota's new-age Supra coupe exists thanks to a cost-sharing alliance with BMW. (Toyota)

What we're driving: 2020 Toyota Supra Launch Edition

Toyota sought to channel its 2000 GT and Supra sportscar heritage with the introduction of the 2020 Supra, but in the process the company also forecast the future.

Acknowledging the SUV-centric product-development investment reality of 2019, the Toyota partnered with BMW, which was in position to supply a six-cylinder engine with the Supra’s traditional inline configuration, while contracting assembly to Austria’s Magna Styr.

Doing so brought in a base price of $49,990, which is less than the price, in 1998 dollars, of the last Supra sold in the U.S. The ’98 Supra price of $55,000 equals $85,000 today. The result is a fast, comfortable, stylish 2-seat coupe that is so heavily based on shared hardware with the BMW Z4 that the cars bear an undeniable resemblance.

Toyota’s 335-hp, 365 lb-ft version of BMW’s 2998cc, direct-injected, twin-scroll turbocharged I-6 is backed by a rumbly exhaust system which, especially in sport mode, conveys an audibly racy intent. The 8-speed ZF-supplied planetary automatic transmission makes smart decisions about gearchanges when in sport mode, though in the regular mode it can feel sluggish.

Adaptive dampers and grippy Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires and industry-benchmark Brembo brakes all contribute to a car that delivers on the promise of its sporty lines.

Though it is competent on the racetrack, the Launch Edition Supra is notably out of its element there because it was obviously tuned for the majority who will never take their Supra to the track. Toyota execs underscore that this is the starting point for Supra, so the initial configuration leaves space for a TRD special edition in the future that is more track-focused.

 

2020 Toyota Supra Launch Edition

Base price:                     $49,990

As tested:                       $56,445

Highs:                              Price, comfort, sound

Lows:                               BMW-sourced controls

The takeaway:               Designed for its intended buyers, not The Fast & The Furious fanboys.

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