© David Dewhurst/Toyota We subjected the 2020 Toyota Supra to our full instrumented testing and decided to put together a comparison to see how it mea
We subjected the 2020 Toyota Supra to our full instrumented testing and decided to put together a comparison to see how it measures up to the legendary fourth-gen Supra Turbo.
The new Toyota Supra is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated cars of this decade-and the decade before, honestly-and this week we were finally able to see if it lives up to the hype during the first-drive event at the Summit Point Motorsports Park track in West Virginia. Spoiler alert: It does. The new Supra is the kind of sports car we were hoping it would be, and it’s the best driver’s car the brand has ever made.
We didn’t want to just stop there, though, so we brought a Supra back to our Ann Arbor, Michigan, office to subject it to our full instrumented testing. And because we know our audience (and because we were interested, too), we decided to compare the new A90 Supra’s numbers to those of a Supra Turbo that we tested in 1993, the first year of the fourth-generation A80 model. We won’t make any judgments about which car is actually better without driving them back to back, but you’d all be armchair racing with these numbers anyway, right?
Tech News: Specs
But before we get to the test numbers, we’re gonna drone on about specs for a minute. The 2020 Supra bucks the modern trend of every new generation of a car being bigger and heavier than the last. At 172.5 inches long, the new Supra is 5.2 inches shorter than the fourth-gen car and its 97.2-inch wheelbase is 3.2 inches shorter; the new one also is 1.7 inches wider and 0.7 inch taller. The new Supra has the old one beat in terms of weight, too. That 1993 Turbo was 3480 pounds, while the new car weighed in at 3372 pounds-a 108-pound difference. The Mark IV Supra was a two-plus-two, with a small set of seats behind the driver and passenger, but the new Supra is strictly a two-seater; they both have a 10-cubic-foot cargo area accessed by a hatchback.
Both Supras are rear-wheel drive and use 3.0-liter inline-six engines fed by forced induction, but that’s where the similarities start to end. As it was developed in partnership with BMW, the new Supra uses a BMW-sourced six with a single turbo, mated only to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The fourth-gen Supra Turbo had a Toyota-developed twin-turbo six that could be paired either with a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. (Base models used a naturally aspirated version of the six with a five-speed manual or four-speed auto.) Actual horsepower and torque numbers haven’t changed much in the two-and-a-half decades between generations, with the 1993 car making 320 horsepower and 315 lb-ft and the 2020 model producing 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft.
Tech News: Performance
Okay, now we’ll get to what you really care about. In its day, the Mark IV Supra was quick as hell. The manual-equipped Turbo model that we tested in 1993 hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and went through the quarter-mile in 13.1 seconds at 109 mph. In a 1993 six-car comparison test, which it won, we described the Supra Turbo as “a rocket car” that pulled like a train. The 2020 Supra destroys the old car, though, with a 3.8-second zero-to-60-mph time and a quarter-mile dispatched in 12.3 seconds at 113 mph. The A80’s 11.1-second zero-to-100-mph and 19.9-second zero-to-130 runs were similarly beaten; the new car posted times of 9.5 seconds to 100 mph and 17.4 seconds to 130.
© Car and Driver
March 1993 cover of Car and Driver magazine
The new Supra is also way quicker in passing, but that’s to be expected given the transmission differences. The A90’s 5-to-60-mph rolling start time of 4.6 seconds is 1.3 seconds quicker than the A80’s, but the real improvement comes in the 30-to-50 and 50-to-70 acceleration runs, which are done in top gear. At 2.5 seconds from 30 to 50 mph and 2.8 seconds from 50 to 70 mph, the new Supra crushes the old car, which recorded times of 13.1 seconds and 8.1 seconds, respectively, in the same tests.
There is one category where the Mark IV should have the new car beat: top speed. Toyota says the new Supra is limited to 155 mph, while the 1993 car was able to hit 160 mph in our hands. But in our testing, the new car exceeded the limiter, still pulling past the 160 mark. We estimate its real top speed to be around 162 mph.
Grip has greatly improved, too. The A80 Turbo had 17-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE020 tires, sized 235/45 in front and 255/40 in the rear, while the A90 uses 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, sized 255/35 in front and 275/35 in back. On our skidpad, the old car pulled 0.95 g, which was in the realm of (or better than) many higher-end sports cars at the time. But in the new car we recorded an excellent 1.07 g, nearly matching a Porsche 911 GT3.
The new Supra also has bigger brakes, using 13.7-inch vented discs in front and 13.6-inch vented discs in the rear, 1.0 inch and 0.8 inch larger than the old car (which also had vented discs). With a 160-foot stopping distance from 70 mph, the 1993 Supra would still be respectable today. But the 2020 Supra stopped in 148 feet, again putting it in the league of more hard-core modern machinery.
So that’s how the two Supras compare on paper, at least in numbers. Sure, it might not be surprising that the new one is better in basically every measurable way-but it kind of had to be, right? Supra fans aren’t exactly tame and easy to please.
There are two obvious ways the fourth-gen car is better in our eyes, though: It had that massive optional wing and an optional targa roof. The new Supra doesn’t have either of those things. So we guess it’s a tie, then.