Because we’re located right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, it’s rare that we have the opportunity to get bespoke sports cars on our home turf. Rarer still can we get two of them at the same time, but we recently had the chance to test out both the brand new Toyota Supra and the not-quite-so-new Toyota 86. However, are these sports cars the real deal anymore? In a wave of performance crossovers like the BMW X3 M, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and indeed the BMW X7 M50i, has the crossover become the new sports car? In this video, we head down to Pikes Peak International Raceway to find out.
Rather than staging this showdown at IMI Motorsports Park, we were able to put together a bigger challenge. Specifically, professional racing driver Paul Gerrard tests these three on the road course at Pikes Peak International Raceway. It’s a 1.3-mile infield road course which each car should run in a little over a minute. In addition to the road course, PPIR has a mile-long D-shaped oval, a 1/8-mile drag strip, wet skid pad and a 12 acre autocross and drift lot.
The 2020 BMW X7 M50i is by far the most powerful contestant here, making the case for the family hauler as a modern-day sports car. Under the hood is a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. All that power is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is strong and sounds great, but there is an elephant in the room. Yes, the X7 is definitely powerful, but it weighs nearly 5,700 pounds. While it does have grippy performance tires and massive brakes, this SUV weighs nearly as much as the other two put together. Does its power make up for its body roll and sheer mass around the track?
Then there’s the less powerful Toyota 86. It’s been around for nearly a decade, and it’s a simpler, more straightforward analog to the top-end Supra. Toyota’s entry-level sports car uses a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated boxer engine with just 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. That’s not a lot of grunt, but then the 86 only weighs 2,800 pounds — half that of the BMW. This one also has a six-speed manual transmission, much to our delight, as that’s becoming rarer by the year.
Finally, there’s the sports car we’re all excited to see. The 2020 Toyota Supra returns as a model co-developed with the BMW Z4. It makes it’s power by way of a BMW-sourced 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six. On paper, it has 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque and only comes mated to an eight-speeed automatic transmission. However, it’s significantly lighter than the X7 at 3,400 pounds.
Can the latest example of a legendary sports car hold its own against a powerhouse family hauler? Yes, fortunately it can, and it comes out significantly less expensive in doing it. To the BMW’s $113,645 price tag, the Supra rings in at $56,220. The 86 is cheaper still, at just $30,825.