Toyota Supra Vs BMW Z4: Separated At Birth Or Two Different Animals?

After more than 16 years, the Supra nameplate is back in Toyota’s lineup. It is a brand new car, co-developed from scratch, and wants to appeal both to the brand’s enthusiasts, who have been craving for a new Supra for over a decade, as well as sports car aficionados in general.

While the Japanese coupe was still being engineered, the number of rivals has gone up. From the Porsche 718 Cayman and BMW M2, to the Alfa Romeo 4C and new Alpine A110, the fifth-gen Supra has to face them all – at least in some parts of the world.

Whether it’s everything that it was promised to be, and if it maintains the DNA of its famous predecessor, remains to be seen. For now, we’ll focus our attention on what we can see by pitting it against its German sibling, the BMW Z4.

They might have been co-developed by Toyota and BMW, and be built at the same plant in Austria by Magna Steyr, but thankfully each has its own, proprietary sheetmetal and there’s no visible parts shared on the outside sans the door mirrors and handles.

By looking at the front ends of both cars, it’s hard to tell that they’re based on the same underpinnings. The Supra has a pair of headlights reminiscent of its predecessor and proudly wears its badge on the V-shaped nose that is somehow reminiscent of an F1 car’s beak. The bumper features different air intakes compared to the Z4, and even the hood is bespoke.

Head over to the back and the two designs differ more. While the roadster adheres to modern-day BMW design trends, the Japanese coupe’s designers have really gone to town. The aggressively-styled bumper and diffuser, large duck-style spoiler, brake reverse light inspired by F1 cars (and the Ferrari F12berlinetta…) and the impression of large hips come together to create a very dramatic, if rather fussy, rear end.

The new Supra and Z4 have a long hood and short overhangs. The angle of the windscreen appears to be identical in both (the common underpinnings do pose some restrictions), although the first has a fixed double-bubble roof, whereas the other is offered only with a folding soft top.

Inside the Supra, it’s BMW-parts bin galore

While you’d be hard pressed to tell the two are related just by looking at their bodywork, the interior is a totally different story. To put is gently, many interior features of the Supra have come from BMW. This is evident by all the buttons, knobs, radio controls and even the steering wheel and gear lever iDrive infotainment system that are recognizably German.

In fact, many controls and corresponding screens, including the radio, air-conditioning system, parking button and more were sourced from previous-generation BMWs like the older 3-Series.

At least the overall design of the dashboard is different (interestingly, the center console is angled towards the driver in the Z4 but not the Supra), and the same stands for things like the air vents and the digital instrument cluster. Of course, Toyota’s product planners could do much worse than borrow parts from such a high-quality item as the Bimmer, but the cognoscenti and avid Supra fans might not be pleased by that.

2014 BMW 3-Series / Toyota GR Supra Center Consoles Pictured Below

In the United States, the new Supra will launch with the 3.0-liter turbo-six petrol engine made by BMW (Japan will get turbo fours, too). It churns out 335 hp (340 PS / 250 kW) and 365 lb-ft (495 Nm) of torque. That’s a sizable 47 hp (48 PS / 35 kW) [and 4 lb-ft (5 Nm)] less than what buyers of the Z4 M40i get. An unusual choice, especially if you consider that the coupe is supposed to be the more driver-focused of the two.

Speaking of which, the latter’s specs were recently updated, dropping from 4.4 to 3.9 seconds for the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint. This makes it 0.2 seconds quicker than the Supra, at least on paper, and is perhaps an indication that, despite what Toyota and BMW say about the two targeting different customers, at the end of the day the a new Z4 and reborn Supra will have to tough it out in the harsh and ultra-demanding world of sports cars no matter what kind of top they have.



    The infotainment kinda reminds me of BMW. Not a good thing, but it’s still good tho.

    • Matt

      Why isn’t it a good thing? BMW’s system is very good.


        I’m talking about originality. If BMW helps other brand to structure a car, they should at least use their own infotainment on their own or Lexus.

        • Matt

          It’s because the infotainment system manages so many aspects of the car that it is part of the car’s overall electronic and electrical infrastructure. Toyota’s own system wouldn’t be compatible with changing the damper settings, for example.

        • ramish rambarran

          Well, in the days when the early Lexus had Nakamichi, infotainment was radio with RDS and CD player. Nothing much more.

          Today it is more complex than that. Nakamichi has been, don’t know if Fujitsu Ten is around, and Toyota will save money by just using the BMW infotainment.
          Hell…………………they started it all by using a BMW engine !!!!

    • Jin Tao

      the infotainment doesn’t look like BMW, it IS BMW. toyota didn’t even bother to change the menu

  • Bash

    Well, they are not only share the same engine but also even the same exact engine compartment arrangement, look at all the nozzles and pipes and different parts. Even the engine oil cap is the same. WTH!

    • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

      BMW and Toyota didn’t work on this project to show off their talents. They worked together to save money. I’d guessed it was going to be fairly obvious how they save money, much of that is sharing parts like whole engines, including engine oil caps!

      • ramish rambarran

        Agree !!

    • Matt

      The oil cap is part of the engine – when the engine gets shipped from BMW’s factory it already has that oil cap attached. No point in Toyota throwing it away and designing a new one (which would look exactly the same anyway).

  • Sébastien

    Next article about Supra and Z4 in 3…2…1….

  • LJ

    Bimmer all the way. Even with the weirdo hood surfacing.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    It’s almost like you make these articles to create a flame war in the comments.

    • Nordschleife

      I was just thinking the same thing. I definitely feel a lot more personal opinions are coming out in articles of late.

    • Mike anonymous

      It’s almost as if; the more clicks an article receives, the more money it generates from AD revenue…

      (lol) But no, I absolutely agree with you & @craigdoss:disqus , the articles to seem to stem from more sided ‘personal opinions’ than general news or an inclusive opinions (to put it sternly). It’s not necessarily a bad thing within journalism, but I am sure many us of have the ability to tell and/or see into the real reason or meaning behind the actions of others (in this case the website) and why some do what it is they do. …. Again I am not saying it’s a bad thing, But, I am saying.

  • Matteo Tommasi

    How didn’t you notice that the F1-light isn’t the third brake but the reverse light

    • Da Only Skid

      Because most F1 drivers don’t complete the course in reverse…I kid, I kid.

  • Bo Hanan

    I don’t think Toyota fully appreciates what a big deal it is to have BMW build their only iconic sports car. And the 2000GT was not iconic. It’s fame is that few were built. It’s actually slow and not well built. I currently own an E39-M5 and Z3 Coupe. And I liked the previous Supra because it was some of Japan’s finest work.

    • Kyle Newberry

      Well, except next to an RX7 😉

    • Stanley Williams

      Tribute to the E39, we bought a Chevy SS and ti compares performance wise but no German flavor. Also the E39 feels better built even though it is a much older platform.

  • GobbleUp

    Twins for sure.

    Butt and Ugly.

  • Finkployd
  • Da Only Skid

    Made my peace with this “thing.” In general, why in he.ll are manufacturers placing non-retractable screens on the top of the dash? If you need it large and in charge at least allow the screen to drop (‘04 G35) with basic controls on the console/center-stack. There’s already miles of wire in the dash and bay…stop being lazy.

  • Alex

    The Supra center console is similar to that of the 2014 3-series, but not identical. The shape of the buttons is different.

    • Matt

      The HVAC controls are exactly the same. The Supra is a mix of 3-Series and Z4 buttons overall.

      • uS’gedlemba

        I was also thinking the same, could BMW have donated the previous gen interiors to Toyota?

        • Matt

          They did, the Supra has BMW’s electrical infrastructure so using BMW modules (such as HVAC controls from the 3-Series) means compatibility with all the electrical systems.

  • Not the shortest of overhangs, I’d say.

    Anyway, while it is sad that a legendary name like Supra had to be revived through joint development, any Supra is better than no Supra at all. Not a fan of the car, but props to Toyota for building this and not a X6 rival.

  • d’Aforde

    The Zupra would have made a great Lexus RC. Also, since both Toyota and BMW have excellent V8s, it would have been great if both cars were available with a V8. Now that Toyota has brought back the Supra, one can only hope that Nissan delivers a new Z.

    • Kyle Newberry

      Except the Supra has always been an inline 6. Now with the CUV craze, inlines won’t fit in most of them, so that is the plethora of V6. A V6 would of been crappy in the Supra, so they turned to perhaps the best inline 6 maker in the world. Personally I would of loved to see an inline 6 from Yamaha, (THey’ve done almost all of Toyota’s best engines) but alas.

  • S3XY

    Neither have a clean design and both are no consideration.

    • Rares

      But that design is based on Z4 Concept and also quit fooling around

  • toyota is the clear winner for me except the steering wheel design. also about rear design I find them equally beautiful.

  • benni

    Seems like BMW did more work in this. Disappointed how they didn’t even bother putting their own engines in the new Supra, wish it came with a wing.

  • Craig

    Not a fan of either one. They both remind me of cheaper cars.

  • Sukhoi31m3


  • Kyle Newberry

    The worst part of the interior on the Supra is the steering wheel. Just looks off. They should of done a smaller airbag area, or even just taken the 86 steering wheel and put it in.

  • Snarksu1t

    Can’t say I like either one, but even as a former Toyota fanboy if I had to choose… I’d get the Z4. They may share the same engines, but it seems clear to me the Supra’s development from Toyota has largely been skin-deep. They had an opportunity here to expand upon the help they received from BMW and instead released some butt-ugly, somehow slower and less powerful version of the Z4. Honestly, what a way to shoot yourself in the foot Toyota.

    • Mike Hoffman

      I just don’t understand all the hate of “it’s a BMW underneath”. Here’s what I see:

      – Jointly designed platform
      – BMW powertrain and interior bits
      – Toyota powertrain and suspension tune
      – Toyota exterior design

      It’s not like BMW was developing the Z4 in a vaccuum and Toyota came in at the 11th hour for some badge engineering…

      • Snarksu1t

        I don’t think most people are hating on it because it’s a Bimmer underneath. I think most people are disappointed. It was jointly designed, yes, but it looks like BMW went the extra mile with theirs while Toyota basically said “Yeah, that’ll do.” And frankly, that has been their attitude for a number of years now. There’s been a glimmer of hope that will change, but it’s still mostly a glimmer at this point.

  • Stanley Williams

    The Supra is hideous! The Z-4 looks okay, wish it were a hardtop too. Does this mean the Supra will be an unreliable Toyota or will the BMW parts be given the Toyota once over?

  • Jorge A. Nunez

    Last time germans and Japanese collaborated this intensely, a world war broke out. History tends to repeat itself. The LFA is the last real Supra. This is an abomination to Japanese originality. Are the Japanese not good enough to make a smaller LFA with a 3JZ?

    • TheBelltower

      Toyota doesn’t have the talent or capability to build a mass production sports car anymore. Toyota is entirely focused on mainstream cars. Sports cars require a totally different kind of supply chain and talent to develop and service. That also why Toyota teamed-up with Subaru on their last sports car. The LFA was hand built and cost $350k. Even the small production run of those failed to sell. Some sort of BMW/Toyota collaboration makes sense. The M-cars and the Supra appeals to the same sort of enthusiast buyer. But a Supra based on a Z4 makes no sense and looks ridiculous. Anyone wanting a Japanese sports car isn’t going to be into this.

      • donald seymour

        Bell, I respectfully disagree with your statement. I believe that they are strategically spying on the process of how the BMW process is . It called the art of war. And they are lazy to.

        • TheBelltower

          That could be true. Though when I look at what Toyota builds, and what they largely outsource, it seems that they partner with companies that possess capabilities they don’t have. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. But it does seem that they screwed the pooch with this Supra.

          • donald seymour


  • Trackhacker

    I think both cars will fail, but Supra will get the bigger blow. They built a car nobody wanted. They didn’t listen to any of the potential buyers like myself. I’m not going to support a company that didn’t even listen to any advice. No manual and all BMW garbage. ~ Maybe in Europe BMW is better, but in Canada they have horrible reliability issues and are extremely expensive to maintain.

    • ramish rambarran

      I understand how you feel.
      ………..and I agree about the reliability issue.

  • tt tt

    who would buy these over the stunning F-type? I’d even get a miata over that butt ugly supra.

  • Liam Paul

    BMW is way better looking, How could toyota mess it up so bad?

    • guest

      the BMW is so boring… I guess the demographics for BMW is older…

  • tkindred

    Fiat and Mazda were able to use their own engines in their platform sharing. Maybe they collaborated more in the design from the ground up.

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