Return of a legend: Toyota Supra steals the show at SEMA

Toyota released its 2020 Supra this summer, and in a short time it has become one of the most hyped up models on the market. It’s no surprise that the Supra was the uncontested star of this year’s SEMA Show, the biggest automotive exhibition of the year, put on every November by the Specialty Equipment Market Association in Las Vegas. Out of a total 1,500 vehicles on exhibit, 43 were Supras, more than any other model at the show.

            The official Toyota exhibit showcased several custom builds to display what the car is capable of. The GR Supra Heritage edition pays homage to the late 90s fourth generation model, while the GR Supra HyperBoost edition double’s the car’s output to over 750 horsepower. Not to be outdone, Toyota’s Racing Division also showcased the Supra 3000GT Concept, Supra Wasabi Concept, Performance Line, and Racing Line special editions.

            None of these builds are available on the commercial market, but most 2020 Supra owners are customizing their cars in line with Toyota’s creative vision. Other independent exhibitors showed their own Supras, many of which were also modified.

            “2019 has proven a momentous year for Toyota and TRD,” said Ed Laukes, group vice president for Toyota North America. The Supra has certainly broken records for popularity this year, since its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year. The hype has led to the 2019/2020 season being called the “Year of the Supra.”

            If you aren’t familiar with the Supra’s history, you may not understand why it has such an extensive fanbase. The car was notable in the 90s for its performance in drag racing and in drifting, and its design was ahead of its time. It grew to be beloved by many, particularly after being featured in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. Paul Walker’s Supra in the first F&F movie was one of the most iconic film cars of the 2000s.

            The last model of the Supra was released in 1998, then in 2002 production was discontinued and the line took a 20-year hiatus. The anticipation has been building for this car to be released since Toyota teased a concept for the upcoming model in 2014.

            The controversy over the fifth generation Supra has kept it in the news this year, but the return of the legendary car has not come without careful consideration from Toyota in terms of its design. The MKV has kept certain elements from the 1998 body style, including the elongated hood and wide stance.

            Many who loved the old Supra have mixed feelings about the new one. So far, it seems like a 50/50 split: people either love it or hate it. The motor and interior come from BMW design, so purists feel as though the car is more German than Japanese. Its more open-minded fans have come to appreciate the modern features. According to the multitude of YouTubers who have reviewed the car online, you can’t judge it until you drive it.

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