You’ve all seen the 2020 Toyota Supra’s exterior by now. Some of you like it and some of you think it’s boring, but none of that matters. What matters is the hardware, which is why I crawled under the Supra at the Detroit Auto Show to get a look at the car’s mechanical bits. Here’s a look at how they compare to those of the BMW Z4 and BMW 3 Series.
Before we get into the underbody components, let’s just have a look at the Supra’s engine bay:
I’ve labeled some of the main visible components to communicate just how similar the Supra’s engine bay looks to that of the BMW Z4 M40i, a vehicle with which it shares a platform and powertrain. It’s probably not surprising that they look basically identical—well, aside from the engine cover and the Supra’s lack of braces between the strut towers and the front radiator support crossmember. Pretty much all of the same components are located in the same spots:
Looking closely at some of the Supra’s engine bits, I even spotted a bunch of BMW logos, like this one on the throttle body:
And this one on the BorgWarner turbocharger, which is packaged on the right side of the engine:
And this one on the electronic stability control module, along with “BMW” written on what appears to be an air conditioning line:
There are also BMW logos outside of the engine bay; I’ll get to those in a bit, but one thing’s clear already: Toyota isn’t going to too many lengths to hide its BMW heart. In fact, much of the Supra’s engine bay reminded me of the new G20 3 Series that I recently had a chance to look at up close, and that shares the Toyota Supra’s and BMW Z4's CLAR “Cluster Architecture.”
Notice the same general shape of the top of the engine bay (this is a partitioned setup BMW has been using for years), as well as what appear to be the same exact coolant bottles, and the same location of the electronic stability control module:
And actually, looking under the new Supra, I spotted a number of other similarities to the new 3 Series, like these black plastic aerodynamic guides bolted to the lower control arms of the five-link rear suspension.
Those aero guides look more or less the same as those on the new 3 Series, as do the lower control arms themselves:
And in fact, the new 3 Series’ five-link suspension control arm is marked with a sticker in the same location as that of the Supra—a sticker with the same “6886448" number on it, though on the BMW, that number is followed by “04" versus “05" on the Supra. (I’m not sure exactly what those last two figures represent).
Sticking with the Supra’s rear end, here’s a look at the rear differential, which—according to Toyota product planning manager Ben Haushalter—has a mass damper (which looks to be cast iron) bolted to the subframe just behind it. I’m not entirely sure why this is used, but I’d guess that it’s to prevent some sort of unwanted vibration in the subframe:
That vanilla-colored thing on top is NVH foam, and just above it is the battery tray. Just below it, you’ll notice a sticker on the subframe—its location, and the general shape of that subframe, looks quite similar to that of the new 3 Series, which is shown below:
You’ll also notice that both cars have wires that reach down and connect at the bottom of the rear differential cover to what looks like a temperature sensor. On the other end of the wire on both the 3 Series and the Supra, you’ll see the same style connector on a bracket that sits just to the right of the diff.
The Supra’s front suspension is a double-joint spring strut design, similar to that of the 3 Series. Looking at the knuckle, you’ll see a single strut connection at the top (this is shown better in the image below), and two connections from two links towards the bottom—a design that yields a virtual steering axles, which I described in my 3 Series deep-dive.
Notice the BMW sticker on the link that runs towards the front of the vehicle. There’s also a BMW marking on the other, lateral link:
Here’s a close look at the strut, as well as the long sway bar link, and what appear to be sensors for the brake wear indicator and the ride height (as the Supra has adaptive damping called “Adaptive Variable Suspension”).
For comparison, here’s the suspension setup on the 2019 BMW 3 Series I saw at the Paris Motor Show. This is a shot of the driver’s side front:
Here’s the driver’s side rear:
And here’s a photo showing the strut:
So the engine bay is basically exactly the same as the Z4's, and the suspension likely is, too. I only had suspension photos of the new 3 Series, but those showed quite a bit of commonality between the Bavarian sedan and the new Supra, as well.
We knew the Supra shared a platform and powertrain with BMW, but the main takeaway here is that, looking at the Supra, it’s fairly obvious that it pretty much is a BMW when it comes to the main hardware. According to Haushalter, what Toyota did was alter the tuning on things like steering effort and suspension damping.
Anyway, enough of the BMW comparisons; let’s take a look at some other things I noticed while sliding around under the 2020 Toyota Supra. One thing that was clear is that the belly is extremely flat, covered almost entirely by aerodynamic pans:
Here’s the floor farther underneath the car; it’s fairly flat, aside from the tunnel for the giant exhaust pipe.
Much of the drivetrain is tucked on the other side of the heat shield running above the exhaust:
Here’s the muffler:
If you’re into active exhaust valves, you’re in luck, because I took a picture of that, too:
Now we’ll move to the front of the Supra, where I took some photos through the grilles:
Here’s a look at the left grille, which hides some fun bits of cooling goodness:
Among them is this brake cooling duct:
And here it is from the inside of the wheel liner, along with some vents for a heat exchanger I’ll mention in a sec:
Because this world is a sad, sad place severely lacking when it comes to photos of the insides of brake cooling ducts, here’s me doing my part:
As for the heat exchanger in the wheel liner shown two images above, I’m really not entirely sure what it is, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s a remote-mounted air-to-liquid radiator for the liquid-to-air intercooler built into the car’s intake. Here it is from the front (according to the parts guide that Jalopnik contributor Bozi Tatarevic wrote about, there’s another one on the other side and in the same circuit as this one):
And here’s the main cooling module up front, consisting of what looks like a condenser in front of the main radiator, which has a little black plastic rock-chip prevention grid on the bottom half. A transmission cooler is also there according to the aforementioned parts guide, though it’s not shown:
If those photos weren’t enough to satiate your deep Supra mechanical needs, here are some more shots of the hardware on Toyota’s newest version of its most legendary nameplate:
Correction Jan 21, 2019 9:37 P.M. ET: The heat exchanger in the front outer grille is likely for the liquid to air charge air cooler in the car’s intake—not liquid to liquid.