Is the New Toyota Supra Really Just a BMW Z4 M40i in Disguise?

2020 Toyota Supra
2020 Toyota Supra | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

By now you’ve probably heard all of the jokes about how the new Toyota Supra is really just a fancy BMW Z4. While the large fanbase of the Toyota Supra and it’s iconic 2JZ motor may have been disappointed to hear it shares the same motor as the new BMW Z4, Toyota still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to set the long-awaited reboot apart.

Same motor, different output?

While it’s true that both cars share the BMW designed 3.0L inline 6 cylinder motor, you may be surprised to hear how different the company-reported each cars’ specs. According to BMW, the Z4 M40i offers 382hp, while Toyota reports that the same engine in the Supra only has 335hp, which is reportedly due to differences in tuning. Although it isn’t one of the JZ motors that the Supra is so well known for, it isn’t necessarily a far departure from it. Toyota reports that with aftermarket tuning the BMW motor is capable of handling significantly higher horsepower.

BMW Logo
BMW Logo | Nicolas ASFOURI / AFP

One engine, Two Designs

Along with a shared motor, the teams at Toyota and BMW also worked together to develop the chassis for both cars. Besides the shared motor, chassis and fact that they are both small two-seater sports cars, the Supra and the Z4 have strikingly different designs that set them apart. Both manufacturers claim their codesigning ended with the chassis, which means that each body design is unique.

In this generation Z4 M40i, BMW delivers a sleek design with its notable kidney bean grille and aggressive M-style front bumper. Like previous Z4 cars offered by BMW, the M40i is only offered in a convertible option.

2020 Toyota Supra
2020 Toyota Supra | Toyota

On the other hand, the Toyota Supra, not having a redesign in several decades, set a new style for Toyota that will be unique for the Supra and potentially further generations. Maintaining smooth lines and an aggressive style, the Supra is clearly dissimilar from the M40i in its appearance. Unlike its sister car, the Supra is only offered as a hardtop, and it is not clear if a convertible option will become available in the future.

Although both cars are, to the dismay of many stick-shift enthusiasts, only offered as automatics, there is a pretty striking gap in prices. While a new Toyota Supra may set you back about $49,900 the BMW Z4 M40i knocks the pricing out of the park at a significantly higher MSRP of $63,700.

Ultimately, even though they’re similar mechanically, does that really matter? The BMW Z4 is a luxurious roadster. The Toyota Supra is a more focused sports car. And neither one looks anything like the other. At a time when we find ourselves with fewer and fewer options for new cars (RIP Ford sedans and hatchbacks), we’re perfectly happy to have a choice between the Z4 and the Supra.

Plus, isn’t it better to have a new Supra based on the Z4 than no new Supra at all? We say yes.