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The car that was destined to fail, but didn’t

When fans heard the new Toyota Supra wouldn’t even be a Toyota, everyone knew the car would fail, then it blew everyone's minds with its tuning capabilities.

With an indestructible engine and nearly limitless tuning capabilities, the Toyota Supra was the most legendary tuner car to arise from the 90’s. But fans weren’t sure Toyota’s revamped Supra, built now with BMW internals would continue that legacy. Well, the Supra was released earlier this year, and the car blew everyone’s minds.

1993’s Mk IV Supra was the most well-known generation of the car. This car was made famous more multiple reasons, including appearances in the Fast and the Furious movies series, but the biggest reason is its ability to be tuned so easily. This means that you were able to modify it and get extremely high horsepower without having to do much work. 

The Supra’s nearly indestructible engine, the 2JZ-GTE, came stock with 320 horsepower, which was really good for the time. But tuners could get over 600 horsepower from it without having to do costly and time-consuming internal engine modifications. If you want to take the time to get right into the engine, you can achieve over 1000 horsepower.  

The car was in production until it got discontinued in 2002, which only further made it more popular. They were getting more and more rare, as well as more expensive.

But in the past 5 years, there has been a badly kept secret that BMW and Toyota were making a sports car together. Nobody knew for sure what it would be, but rumors suggested it could be a new Supra. 

Not everyone liked the idea that a new Supra might be made with BMW, as it takes away from the heritage of the car. People wanted a new Toyota Supra, not BMW Supra. Fans got even more upset when new information leaked that showed the new Supra wasn’t going to be new, but it will be a rebadged version of the next generation BMW Z4 sports car. It would look like a Supra, but underneath the body, it would be a Z4.

Considering BMW’s history with unreliable cars, people didn’t think they would be able to tune the new car like they were able to with the previous generation Supra, and its famously hardy engine.  Everyone thought negatively about this car, including me. In a previous article I compared it unfavourably with new versions of other legendary Japanese sports cars that had over 500 horsepower, a big increase to the models from the 90’s, while the new Supra was going to be in the low 300s, which was not much improvement over the previous generation. Enthusiasts were also disappointed to learn that the car would not be available with a manual transmission. 

Everyone thought the car would end up a failure, and would not live up to the original.

In mid 2019, the all new 2020 Mk V Supra was released, with enthusiasts still thinking this joke of a car would flop. But something would happen that would shock everyone: 

It was good, really good. 

As soon as people got their hands on the new Supra, they immediately started modifying it and pushing its limits. Bigger turbos, better fuel systems, and a lot more horsepower were becoming very common to see in the first month of the car being released. The new engine in the car, the B58, was similar to the original 2JZ, being that they were both turbocharged engines in an inline 6-cylinder layout. This layout means the engines are very balanced and smooth, without needing extra weights to balance it, making it easier to get higher power. 

Tuners really started pushing the stock internals of the car, even breaking the 600-horsepower mark, something that even Toyota tried to limit electronically. People needed to practically hack the car’s computer to get past this point. Even after they broke this limit, the engine still held up with around 670 horsepower being the highest I have seen.

People also started to notice that in other ways Toyota has actually made the car easier to modify, leaving places to add parts to make the car handle and perform better, such as a space in the air intake to add a strut bar which increases rigidity.

It’s not just performance mods that are being done to these cars, many widebody kits have been developed and unveiled for the new Supra as well. A widebody kit is a modification to the body of the car which allows for wider wheels. Many of these body kits were on display at SEMA 2019, which is an automotive event where many show off their new Supras. Throtl, an automotive YouTube channel counted 43 new Supras at SEMA. That’s a lot of cars for one event. Each one of them was modified differently with a unique style attached to each one. This shows just how popular this car is, even after people thought it would fail. 

According to CarSalesBase, in the first four months the new Supra sold almost 2000 models just in the US. Not bad for what was expected to be a “terrible” car. The Mk V Supra rose up through all the hate and conquered. It is also proved that the 335 horsepower that Toyota claims the Supra has is actually under-estimating by about 10 horsepower, which is once again a nod to the previous Japanese legends as they all had a “gentlemen’s agreement” where they all declared lower power numbers than the vehicles were actually capable of. Nods to the past like this are also why the new Supra may have taken off, despite all the people saying that it would be a failure.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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