Following its recent long-awaited unveiling, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray continues to generate both excitement and speculation. Much of the fanfare is due to Chevy introducing a mid-engine model, breaking a 67-year tradition of front-engine design for the iconic sports car.
‘Vette enthusiasts are also talking about its sales tag. At just under $60,000, the new Corvette offers supercar features for a lower-end sports car price. When it goes on sale in early 2020, Chevy will find out whether the price will entice BMW and Porsche buyers to give this newcomer a test drive.
Caymans and M5s aside, the new C8 has another more affordable rival. This one not only comes close to the Stingray’s price point but also has some serious acceleration stats. Ever since its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2019, the Toyota GR Supra has been waiting to give the new Corvette a run for its money.
The 2020 Supra
With a performance history that stretches back into the 1970s, the Supra returns after a 21-year absence. Toyota stopped selling the Supra due to declining sports car sales in the late ’90s.
Toyota claims that the new Supra is its “quickest Toyota ever”. Its front-end turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine makes 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. And it clocks 4.1 seconds for 0 to 60 miles per hour and 9.5 for 0 to 100 mph.
Unlike its Japanese-made predecessors, the Supra is manufactured in Austria. BMW and Toyota have collaborated on the Supra and, as a result, it shares an engine, a platform, and many interior features with the BMW Z4. It went on sale in the U.S. in late July 2019.
The Supra looks as if it can hold its own with rivals Porsche Cayman GTS, the BMW M2 Competition and, of course, the new Corvette. But with two amazing sports cars bursting onto the scene at essentially the same time, it might be a good idea to find out what the Stingray and the Supra have in common and what makes them different.
A few similarities
Initially, the common ground between the Supra and the Corvette is obvious: both are two-seaters, have eight-speed automatic transmissions, and are rear-wheel drive.
The two cars have about the same amount of interior room, with the Supra’s headroom edging out the Corvette slightly. Cargo space is at a premium in both cars too.
But the most important similarity they share is their relative affordability. Supra has three variants ranging from $50,920 for the base model to the Launch Edition at $56,180. Despite the exorbitant dealer markups that are currently being placed on the Supra, the original pricing for any of these models nearly lines up with that of the Stingray’s asking price of $60,000. The Corvette could become a bit more pricey if a buyer loads up on options, however.
A big contrast in performance
The key differentiator between the Supra and the Corvette is the engine—not just the location but also the speed and power. With 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, Corvette’s LT2 6.2L V8 engine outstrips Supra’s in-line six. And the Supra’s top speed is a respectable yet not head-turning 155 mph.
Although Chevy has not released the Corvette’s official top speed yet, it’s estimated to be at least as fast as the C7 at 187 mph, if not faster. The new ‘Vette’s reported stat of 3.0 seconds for 0 to 60 mph also speaks to its superior performance.
Differences outside and inside
Exterior styling is another area in which the Supra and the Corvette differ. The Supra’s double-bubble roof and ducktail spoiler harken back to its fourth-generation glory days, while the Stingray’s canopy-forward design was influenced by fighter jets and Formula One race cars.
The interiors are also a world apart. The Supra’s is almost identical to the Z4, down to the infotainment controls.
But the Stingray’s interior is configured like a pilot’s cockpit with its nifty squarish steering wheel and controls that vertically run the length of the tunnel in the middle of the car. Another unusual touch is that the engine with its seven air vents is displayed under the ‘Vette’s massive hatch.
Customization: Two schools of thought
Toyota and Chevy apparently have different ideas about how to customize a sports car.
The extent of Toyota’s customization options beyond basic exterior/interior color choices seems to be a number of dummy vents put on the Supra that aftermarket tuning companies could use.
On the other hand, Chevy offers a wide range of ways to personalize the ‘Vette: 12 exterior colors, six interior color themes, six seatbelt colors, two optional stitching colors, and three seat options, among others.
Safety and tech features reveal different priorities
The Supra is stocked to the brim with standard active safety features that include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights. An optional Driver Assistance package offers adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, among others.
Not much is known about the Corvette’s active safety features yet but it’s likely that they will be sparse, just like those on the C7.
A tech feature that sets the Stingray apart from the Supra is its Performance Data Recorder. The PDR has a high-def camera and a user interface that allows a driver to record road courses. The device can also be used as a dashcam, which seems like it could come in handy as a safety feature of sorts.
Stingray and Supra: apples and oranges
The Supra is a truly fun drive, according to the reviews. There aren’t many firsthand accounts out there of how the new Corvette drives, but it sure looks and sounds like it will be a blast.
Still, the differences are telling.
For $60,000 the Corvette Stingray offers over-the-top performance, many ways to customize, and a fairly radical design inside that signals a departure from tradition for Chevy.
And Supra fans know where they stand on the new generation of this car. They will buy it regardless of whether the Corvette overshadows it.
But because both cars are so competitively priced, potential buyers who are on the fence will need to decide if the features they want in a sports car are closer to those offered in the Supra or those in the Corvette.