There was a time, not so long ago, when the lines were clearly defined between supercars and ‘normal’ cars. Models like the Mustang and Camaro fell squarely in the ‘normal’ niche: sportscars, yes, but somewhat affordable. Legends like Lamborghini and Ferrari enjoyed their own majestic realm — that of the supercar — where money was no object and practicality was actively shunned in favor of performance. ‘Normal’ cars still pretended to have back seats, and came with things like warranties. Supercars, on the other hand, couldn’t be had for less than six figures, and even then you had to know somebody. Until now.
The 2020 Toyota Supra has been the object of much speculation lately, and not just verbally. It’s rapidly gaining status as Bitcoin-on-Wheels, the get-rich-quick investment vehicle for unscrupulous dealers who seem to always find one more sucker with a check in his hand.
The Supra in this article from Jalopnik was initially marked up to $200,000 by a dealer in Vero Beach, Florida. After it appeared in a feature highlighting the extravagant price increase, the listing then changed to reflect the actual MSRP of around $55,000. The final sale price of the vehicle was alleged to be $100,000, almost double that. What’s driving the epidemic of inflated Supra prices all over the country? Vanity, mostly.
The supercar-level sale prices of 2020 Supras are due in part to the long hiatus of the iconic badge, which hasn’t been in production since 1998. Nostalgia can be a powerful thing, as evidenced by the long-enjoyed reruns of Friends and the popular resurgence of the Nintendo GameBoy.
However, the real rationale behind the near-criminal markups seen at Toyota dealers of late is the optional trim package known as the Launch Edition. Available to only the most discriminating of buyers, the coveted Launch Edition package as shown at Toyota.com is limited to just 1,500 models. Each member of this prestigious class will receive special matte black wheels, custom leather seats, and red side mirrors. In case you’re keeping track, yes, the Launch Edition Package is comprised of nothing but aesthetic changes, with zero performance benefits whatsoever. To properly convey the social superiority of every Launch Edition owner, the cars will also come with numbered carbon fiber badges to induce envy in even the most uninterested of observers.
All show and no go?
Toyota claims the twin-scroll turbo and DOHC engine are capable of 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds. The 10.14 lb/hp power-to-weight ratio isn’t that impressive for the Supra, likely due to its beefy straight six engine. For comparison, it’s worse than every sub-$50k car on this list at Autoblog.
While the Supra may yet prove to be a solid mid-tier performer on the streets, its value as a financial instrument is definitely limited. In the very near future, many new Supra owners are going find themselves with a severe case of buyer’s remorse. As dealer prices begin to reflect reality, they’ll have to justify spending six figures on a car because it has red mirrors.
The current inflated prices of the 2020 Supra may not reflect its true street value, but they do reflect its nostalgic value. Once the initial excitement begins to wane and supply and demand come into balance, the rest of us will be able to purchase a respectable sportscar at a reasonable price. For now, don’t let the red leather trim get the best of you. It may look like a million bucks, but it certainly isn’t worth it.