Fun, affordable sports cars are hard to come by nowadays. It’s not England in the ’60s with a nearly endless amount of sports car manufactures popping up from London to Liverpool. Today there really isn’t an exorbitant amount of affordable sports cars on the market, and for good reason. The market just simply isn't there.
It is overly expensive for a manufacturer to design and engineer a car today. It’s even more expensive for manufacturers to develop sports cars since a car like that typically requires its own unique platform. Most vehicles share platforms across the line-up, saving on development and manufacturing costs. For most passenger cars and SUV’s, this works well since they do not require a specifically designed chassis. For vehicles that are purpose-driven, the manufacturer has to create a unique platform and chassis.
This is why manufacturers have taken to sharing platforms with one another. With vehicles like the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, they share the platform and mechanical components but use their own styling to differentiate from one another. Platform sharing is nothing new in the car industry and has been going on for years, however, it is more predominant in recent years with sports cars.
Manufactures share more or less, depending on what their development budgets are and how unique they want their vehicles. In the case of the Toyota Supra vs BMW Z4, the engineers split early in development and did not share much with each other after that. What resulted are two vehicles that are less unique than we’d like, but are still special enough.
The BMW Z4 engine and the Toyota Supra engine are actually shared from the same basic architecture. The BMW developed 3.0L turbocharged inline-six, known internally as B58B30M1, is a strong engine based on the previous generation N55 engine. The B58 is shared between the two manufacturers for the Supra and the Z4 but has a different output for both.
The BMW Z4 horsepower is slightly higher than the Supra. Producing 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. For 2020, the BMW Z4 M40i 0-60 has increased. Down from 4.4 seconds to 3.9, it is now slightly faster off the line than Toyota Supra. Convenient.
The Toyota Supra horsepower is more conservative, only producing 335 horsepower and 396 ft-lb of torque. Toyota says the decreased horsepower is a result of finding the perfect balance for the car's weight and handling characteristics. 0-60 times swings in at 4.1 seconds. Apparently, the balancing paid off.
Overall, the two cars share the same basic engine with only slight differences in tuning. The Supra’s lower horsepower rating also hints at a possible high-performance variant to come out in the future.
The two cars may both be sports cars but are meant for very different markets. The Z4 is a comfortable cruiser. As a well-equipped, multifaceted car, the Z4 is a more refined vehicle that is more at home on a cruise through the mountain with the top down than on a track. Aimed a customer that is more concerned with comfort than with track times. This doesn’t mean the performance is limited by any means, but both the styling and the interior are more refined for a more comfort-focused ride. The interior is comfortable and very well laid out. Following the current BMW design language does this vehicle well as it looks both classy and modern all around.
The new Toyota Supra, on the other hand, is a radically styled coupe with an appetite for the track. Toyota Supra’s have classically been more of a grand tourer type vehicle, capable of sustained high speed runs for long highways cruises. Now, the Supra has changed focus. While still capable of crunching miles and miles in comfort (thanks to its BMW sourced interior), the Supra is also capable of laying down some serious track times. The styling is clearly representative of this. The exterior is both exciting and exotic. It’s the type of car that will clearly stand out in a parking lot, even a parking lot in Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, the interior borrows heavily from the BMW partnership. While this isn’t a bad thing, since BMW interiors are some of the best on the market, it would have been nice to see more of a unique exciting Toyota interior like the previous generation Supra.
Now here is here where the most important part comes in. What can I afford? Both vehicles have competitive pricing for the market, but unsurprisingly, the BMW does come in at a slight premium. Both vehicles have a large touch screen, infotainment system, and safety features such as forward collision warning and automated emergency braking as standard.
The Toyota Supra price will start at $50,920, including destination charge. A higher trim level, the Supra 3.0 Premium, which includes a 12-speaker JBL audio system, heads-up display, and heated leather seats will start at $54,920. The official Toyota Supra release date has yet to be announced but is expected to go on sale within the next month or two.
The BMW Z4 price will be slightly higher, starting at $64,695. Trim levels and packages are organized differently than Toyota. Packages can be added to every car. The BMW Z4 M40i started sales in late March and already has a lot of inventory available that you can see here.
Platform sharing can be a difficult and dangerous road for auto manufacturers to go down. Too similar, and you risk losing sales to the same car at the other brand. Too dissimilar, and developmental costs skyrocket. Riding the line is a difficult game, but it can turn out to be very beneficial. It seems that Toyota and BMW figured out the best possible method for their new sports car developments, and both have produced stunning cars. The BMW Z4 is ready to cruise down the PCH and the Toyota Supra is ready to take down the Nürburgring.
Though the Supra draws more attention, due to its highly anticipated return and legendary movie status, both cars are ample vehicles that hold up very well when compared to each other. When choosing between these two classic sports cars, you really have to look at what's important to you, and what driving experience you are going for.
For either vehicle, we would welcome you to give us a call. Our professional Segment Specialists will help you to figure out which car is best for you and help you to decipher the incentives, rebates, and offers on each car. We will also be happy to get you in touch with the closest dealers around you as a preferred internet shopper.