Launching a new model name costs many millions of dollars, which is why automakers often bring back old names or radically alter the vehicles sold under an existing name.
That explains why Toyota’s new two-seat sport coupe is called Supra, reviving a name last used in 1998.
The new 2020 Toyota Supra has an inline-6 engine, just like the old one, though the new car doesn’t have even a vestigial rear seat.
Launched Monday at the 2019 North American International Auto Show, the 2020 Supra was inspired by the FT-1 concept developed by Toyota’s advanced design studio in California. It goes on sale in the summer and costs $50,920 for base models, or $56,180 for a launch edition coupe.
NEXT: Read our 2020 Toyota Supra preview
The styling is a mix of Toyota’s latest design language and a few cues from the Supras of the previous century, including the long-hood, short-deck proportions that indicate a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car.
Its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 is rated at 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque. It powers the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission and an active rear differential.
Toyota quotes a 0-to-60-mph acceleration time of 4.1 seconds, just a hair slower than the 3.9 seconds quoted for the larger LC F Track Edition performance coupe it also launched at the Detroit show.
The new Supra marks Toyota’s return to the specialized world of two-seat coupes, a category now occupied only by Toyota’s own 86 coupe and its Subaru BRZ twin and the very rare Jaguar F-Type coupe.
2020 Toyota Supra
Above that, two-seat sports models are much pricier mid-engine cars from prestige brands like Porsche and Acura.
That means annual sales of the new Supra seem likely to number in the thousands rather than the tens of thousands, making it a very specialized vehicle indeed within Toyota’s high-volume lineup.
The secret is that underneath, the 2020 Supra shares much of its underpinnings—as well as its assembly line in Austria—with the latest BMW Z4 two-seat convertible sports car.
There’s not likely to be a convertible Supra, Toyota executives said at a media preview Sunday night, nor does BMW seem likely to do a Z4 coupe, so the two cars each occupy distinct niches.
And the BMW bits underneath likely won’t matter to buyers seeking either another Supra to replace their aging original, or those eager to have a rare and sexy-looking sport coupe that’s more luxurious than the stripped-down Toyota 86.
The new 2020 Toyota Supra will go on sale this summer, with a pair of trim levels—3.0 and 3.0 Premium—as well as a Launch Edition with extra equipment on top of the Premium trim.
For more from the 2019 Detroit auto show, head over to our dedicated hub.
Toyota provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable Internet Brands Automotive to cover its various announcements at the 2019 Detroit auto show.