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      01-16-2019, 11:46 AM   #1
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iTrader: (0) Would you rather: BMW Z4 or Toyota Supra?

Would you rather: BMW Z4 or Toyota Supra?
Sibling vehicles share a platform, but offer different driving experiences

The 2020 Toyota Supra and the 2019 BMW Z4 are both finally here.

These fraternal twins are bound to be great sports cars, but which one would you rather buy?

The cars share the same chassis and suspension mounting points, so we can expect them both to feel similar, but not the same.

While the Supra arrives as a classic performance coupe, the Z4 will offer a more raw driving experience thanks to its power advantage and lack of a roof, which always makes a car more exciting to drive.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the two.


The looks of these two sports cars could not be more different, and yet they somehow both manage to be polarizing.

While the BMW is a more conservative and classic design, there are many strange angles that result in a car you wouldn’t call “beautiful”.

You also would be hard-pressed to call the new Supra beautiful, but in a classic case of Japanese over-styling it is a striking car, and you can’t say they didn’t stay as true to the FT-1 concept as they could have.

The Supra tries its best to bring back some subtle touches from sports cars past, such as the double-bubble roof of the 1960s 2000GT; and if you squint, the entire shape of the car is vaguely reminiscent of the MKIV Supra immortalized in The Fast and The Furious—it just needs a rear wing.

While the Z4 doesn’t offer a lot of changes from the classic roadster styling of the previous model, it does bring in some new touches from BMW’s current design language, and even has a few features that remind us of the premium 8 Series GT.


Both cars share a lot of internal components, including a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six. It makes 335 horsepower in the Supra; and 382 horsepower in the Z4. The almost 50-horsepower deficit is unfortunate, because while the Toyota is lighter, the BMW is still faster.

All the weight is properly distributed, however, in both cars: 50 per cent for the front and 50 per cent rear.

Sixty mph (96 km/h) in the 1,544-kg Supra happens from a standstill in just 4.1 seconds; whereas the 1562-kg BMW does it in 3.9 seconds. Top speed for both is an electronically limited 250 km/h.

Neither of these cars will be available with a manual transmission in North America, both will be paired with an 8-speed paddle-shifted automatic gearbox built by legendary trans supplier ZF.

There will also be a performance version of the Supra released at a later date which could have more horsepower. Don’t expect a full-blown “M” Z4 from BMW, however.

If you’re looking at a budget sports car, phone Mazda, because neither the Supra nor the Z4 are going to let you leave the showroom with a heavy wallet. Base-model Supras start at US$49,990, with a “Premium” option which costs US$53,990. Both trims receive the 3.0-litre L6.

The Z4 base model starts at around the same price, US$50,695, but that is only for the four-cylinder sDrive30i. If you want the six, you’re going to have to shell out another $14K. Yes, the sDrive M40i Z4 will cost US$64,695, which makes the Supra seem like a much better way to get your hands on that smooth straight-six.

The Premium Supra nets you a bigger 8.8-inch touchscreen (up from the 6.5 standard), whereas the Z4 has a standard 10.25-inch screen. BMW will also let you to spec up your Z4 with many more premium options.

So it really is a case of the best possible version of a chassis versus a great bang-for-your-buck sports car, with the Z4 taking the former spot and the Supra taking the latter.

Could you shell out the extra $14K for a slight improvement in performance and a large improvement in comfort? Or would you rather an almost identical driving experience without the wind in your hair, but with the money in your wallet?
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      01-16-2019, 11:54 AM   #2

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Tough call but a nice one to make. Tough calls between two attractive alternatives is fun.
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      01-16-2019, 06:11 PM   #3
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Personally I'd pick Supra over Z4 simply because I prefer closed roof. Supra is significantly cheaper than Z4--a loaded 3.0 Premium is about 58k while M40i approaches 70k (although Toyota got "stuck" with last gen switch gears (HVAC control, gear shifter, infotainment, ect. and a detuned engine). I think the quoted 335 hp on Supra is underrated (Euro-spec has particulate filter but makes the same 335 hp)--it may not make the full 382 hp as Z4, but 360ish seems more reasonable. 0-60 in 4.1s is pretty good, considering regular M2 with 365 hp is also 4.1s while M2C with 405 hp does the same deed in 4s flat. Unlike so-called "Supra fanboys" who bemoan the use of BMW parts in a Supra, I personally don't see that as a negative. After all, aren't BMW and MB engines used in many other makes, some much more exotic than BMW/MB themselves.
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      01-17-2019, 03:33 PM   #4
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Converting the Z4 M40i price to Canadian dollars (divide by 0.72) results in a Canadian price approaching, in my best William Shatner voice, an eye-watering: Ninety. Thousand. Dollars. Apply retail sales tax and you're fully in the six figure price range.

Whoa. That is out of this world.

Based on that, I am expecting the Z4 sales numbers up here to be about as depressing as the Environment Canada weather forecast for Winnipeg Manitoba in February.

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      01-21-2019, 09:34 PM   #5

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Own a BMW but I can't imagine choosing these cars over a new Corvette. 440hp is base. Similar weight. Fairly well equipped $49000 with dealer discount. Don't laugh I see these at local cars and coffees and they have finally got it all. They also do very well at the track.
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