Spoiler alert: The new Supra is too BMW for the Top Gear presenter.
Undoubtedly, whenever you hear about the new Toyota Supra, somebody will ask, “Is that really a Toyota?,” or “Isn’t that basically a BMW with a Toyota badge?” The same is true with famed automotive journalist Chris Harris in a recent video published to the Top Gear YouTube channel.
In the video, which you can watch above, Harris talks about his experience in the industry leading him to associate an identity with the cars he drives. In particular, he mentions the identities that come with brands, noting that an Audi has a very unique feel relative to a BMW. The fact Toyota’s new sports car has DNA from BMW leads Harris to describe the new Supra as one of the strangest cars he’s ever driven.
In fact, the British presenter has a lot of evidence to back up his claim. He talks about the disconnect with getting into a Toyota, but being in something that is unmistakably a BMW. “Everything says BMW, from the sound that it makes to the way that it drives… the way that the materials even smell inside it,” says Harris. Although the exterior of the car is completely Toyota, the straight-six engine – the heart and soul of the new Supra – carries a BMW badge.
Harris also mentions how this disconnect reflects on Toyota Motor Company as a whole. The Supra is currently its flagship vehicle, yet most of it is just a BMW they’ve thrown a Toyota badge onto, right? Sure, we’ve experienced this before in the automotive world, but not often to the extent with the Supra.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe, chief project engineer Tetsuya Tada describes the reasoning for going to BMW. In short, Toyota knew the Supra wouldn’t carry high production numbers and didn’t want to spend the money to develop its own engine. Therefore, the best alternative was to source the straight-six engine from the BMW Z4 M40i and M340i.
Although Toyota’s move to BMW components has purists kicking and screaming, it makes business sense. That said, Chris Harris still compared the new Supra to going to Oktoberfest in a Kimono.