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Toyota Supra Coming to the U.S. in Four-Cylinder Guise

Air Resources Board document reveals certification for a turbo-four engine.

It’s been nearly half a year since the 2020 Toyota Supra was revealed, and in all that time we’ve only heard that North America is only getting the 335-hp 3.0-liter turbo I-6 version. Until now, that is. A certification we discovered on the Air Resources Board (ARB) website has revealed that a 2.0-liter turbo I-4-powered Supra has been certified for sale in California, along with the BMW models that share its engine.

Back in January, we reported that Toyota will offer the Supra with a four-cylinder engine in its home market of Japan. Two states of tune are available, 194 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, and 255 hp and 295 lb-ft. If those sound familiar, it’s the same exact output as the mechanically related turbo-four BMW Z4 roadster. The same engine is also used in the base 2019 BMW 3 Series. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission listed in the Supra’s certification, so it’s likely that will be the less powerful Supra’s exclusive gearbox choice just as it is in Japan. Having a smaller engine under the hood should also result in a lighter Supra and better weight distribution versus the six-cylinder-powered car.

With the BMW-sourced 2.0-liter turbo-four certified, the arrival of a less powerful, more efficient and cheaper Toyota Supra in North America is imminent. Adding a four-cylinder model will likely lower the price tag down to somewhere in the mid- to high-$40,000 range, which would put the turbo-four Supra in close proximity to uber sport compacts like the Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R, and V-8-powered pony cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro SS and Ford Mustang GT. The six-cylinder-powered model’s $50,920 starting price means the sports coupe is out of the average consumer’s reach. In terms of fuel economy, the 2020 Supra is surprisingly efficient at 24/31 mpg city/highway with the six-cylinder engine. A 2.0-liter turbo-four could improve on those numbers even more.

The four-cylinder-powered Toyota Supra could be a late addition since the first iterations coming to the U.S. are all powered by the 3.0-liter turbo I-6. For those looking at the 86 but want more power and torque, the Supra will likely be a new option provided you can stomach the higher price tag. The previous-generation Supra was available with a choice of a naturally aspirated or turbocharged I-6, the former being the more attainable model.

*UPDATE:* Toyota has commented on our findings, with a spokseperson stating that, “BMW took steps to certify an engine for a variety of uses. At this point, Toyota’s plans for the Supra in the U.S. include only the 3.0-liter inline six that will be in the 2020 Supra when it goes on sale this summer.” With that said, we suspect that the 2.0-liter turbo-four is still coming to the North American-spec Supra—just not this year. The turbo-four option could arrive sometime in 2020. Though Toyota offers two turbo-four engines in Japan, expect the more powerful 255-hp, 295-lb-ft version to come to North America to serve as the Supra’s new entry-level model.

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