When Toyota announced the return of the Supra name, the internet and all automotive enthusiasts collectively rejoiced. While we may have different tastes, motorsport outlets, and favorite brands that we constantly debate, the community effectively unified in a brief moment of harmony with the prospect of a MK5 Supra. When we reported its initial launch at the Detroit Motor Show last year, much of the speculations and rumors were finally settled and that first impression was rather polarizing. That is to say, the internet quickly returned to its two extremes, either love or hate, when the news broke that the Supra was a joint project with BMW, was only available in Automatic, and was significantly less powerful than had originally been expected. We had our thoughts on the matter, which you can read about here. But now that we have put our hands on one and become intimately acquainted, we want to follow up our first impressions with an in-depth look.
Yes, my initial opinion about the Supra/Z4 was less than stellar. Despite stunning looks, I thought Toyota had missed the mark on providing a car that appeals to the car community that is the Supra’s target market. However, when I had the chance to see one in person here at ECS as we began to develop parts for the A90 platform, my mind quickly changed. Since the first images of the Supra were released, I always thought the car was beautiful. It looks sculpted and styled without being eye-catching for attention’s sake. It just looks nimble, fast, agile, aggressive, and simply remarkable. My only complaint with the looks was that I thought it would be tough to perform body work on the car, but after seeing how the panels fit together and the massive clamshell-like hood, I have since changed that opinion, too. It just looks like a well put together car.
This is saying something for a Toyota, as they are all extremely well built. Believe me, I know, I used to work for them and saw firsthand what exceptional build quality every Toyota has when compared to many other makes, even ones with higher price tags. Which brings up the next point: purchase price. When it released, one of my original complaints was that the car was going to be exclusive and dealers would mark them up similar to what happened with the Civic Type R. Upon release, however, that wasn’t the case. It seems as though everyone who wants a Supra can find one, and they can be had for MSRP. Used examples are already showing up on the market, and they aren’t priced to compete with Lambos, either.
So, they’re beautiful, they didn’t suffer from the exclusivity tax that plagued the CTR, and the external fit and finish is superb. But what about the interior of the car? Some design cues and interior elements were indeed shared with BMW, as the Z4 is its sister car, but it still feels like a Toyota in all the best ways. It reminds me of the MK4 Supra cockpit design, with a driver-centric focus and highly ergonomic efficiency to the layout. It doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic commuter box with a sporty engine (like my WRX). The A90 could be described as distinctly reminiscent of the bubble-era quality and opulence with a modern twist. It strikes me as one of those interiors that will never age out of fashion; it looks and feels like an interior you would find on any dedicated racing car with a few conveniences like an infotainment display, steering wheel controls, and some other comforts added in to make it appealing as a daily driver. Which it certainly could be.
Finally, in the engine department, I have entirely changed my opinion. It was originally reported that the B58 shared between the Supra and the Z4 had differences that favored power in the BMW platform but not the Supra. With only a 9hp increase over the old 2JZ as disclosed by the factory, I was salty. In reality, however, unmodified Supras straight off the showroom floor have put down considerably more than that figure to the wheels on Dynos.
What’s more, they’re already ripe with aftermarket upgrades and big power potential with some examples already breaking into the 9 and 10 second mark on the strip. We, of course, have been getting into that action as well. For the most accuracy as to what you can expect from ECS in terms of A90 support, I turned to the product specialist himself responsible for building the catalog.
Aftermarket support for the A90 Supra is quickly ramping up, and ECS is poised to be your one-stop-shop. Whether you’re planning your first oil service or looking for the best way to add power, you’ll find everything you need in our comprehensive Toyota MK5 A90 Supra catalog.
A downpipe is one of the best places to start adding power whether by itself or with an accompanying tune. We offer all of the top brands including aFe, Active Autowerke, VRSF, and Armytrix. While you’re at it, why not pair that with a performance cat-back system to maximize power and sound? The Magnaflow XMOD system is two different cat-back kits in one. It comes with two different diameter mid-pipes and a set of straight pipes that allow you to bypass the tuned Magnaflow mufflers for maximum SPL. This truly allows you to customize your sound as your tastes evolve or change. Just imagine being able to go from mild to wild in minutes, all without leaving your garage or removing the entire system. What a concept!
If corner-carving tops your list of favorite past-times, we have everything you need to dial in your suspension to suit your taste. The precisely engineered KW Variant 3 system provides the ultimate in performance and adjustability, while HKS height adjustable coil springs improve cornering and reduce body-roll without the complexity of a coilover system. A full complement of SPL and Cusco control arms, sway bars, and bracing can be found unlocking even more tuning potential for the avid track racer and those looking to further control alignment and dynamic chassis forces.
No-one can deny the already striking looks of the A90, but we would be kidding ourselves if we thought it should be left alone. Seibon carbon fiber parts are some of the finest on the market and can truly give your Supra a one of a kind appearance. Add a front lip for a more aggressive appearance or opt for the entire kit to completely transform the car into a carbon-clad warrior. If the look of carbon-fiber isn’t for you, fear not. Maxton has a full line of lips and spoilers in ready-to-paint or leave-it-alone glossy ABS. Not only is this a great option for those that want to paint match, but ABS is much more durable and easier to replace than carbon. For those looking to do the absolute most, widebody kits are available as well as a full line of over-fenders for those building their own.
So, what’s our final impression, you ask? We are in love with the new A90 Supra. It may not have a manual gearbox, but we think the performance out of the box, the potential for incredible gains from simple bolt ons, the looks, the lightning-quick shifts, the handling, the interior fit and finish, and the whole package is more than enough to overcome that singular gripe. Besies, it’s 2020, we don’t need to keep carrying that torch for manual transmissions in new cars. The simple truth is, even when performance cars like the Corvette are available with a row-your-own option, no one buys them. So we can only blame ourselves for the reality we live in. Regardless, this newest generation of Supra lives up to the hype and brings honor to its ancestors. It is nimble, compact, dedicated, serious, and incredibly aluring. Even as a Euro fanboy, I can’t help but gawk every time the Supra is in our shop. In short, if you are lucky enough to own a MK5 A90 Supra, you can be sure to get the most out of it right here at ECS Tuning. If you are on the fence about the car or a decision to buy one, we suggest you jump on it and pick one up before they go away for twenty years again.