There are four reasons for this, starting with weight. Depending on the model, the 86 can be more than 600 lbs lighter than the new Supra, this having to do with its less complex configuration. The steering feels better as well, more responsive and with a lower ratio that requires less input.
Obviously, you can't have this conversation without the manual gearbox. Toyota recently released sales numbers that showed only about a quarter of 86ers have the three-pedal setup. Was that just an excuse for the auto-only Supra. Many people think so.
Car enthusiasts need to have that involvement, and together with the steering and the weight, you get the feeling that the new Supra wasn't made for them. But at the end of the day, didn't Toyota partner with a luxury automaker, not Lotus or McLaren? Finally, there's visibility, which there's more of in the 86. Jason suggests that Subaru is to thank for this, like almost everything that's good about the Toyobaru project.
Now, while the press brought up a number of complaints with the Supra, especially regarding the lack of power with BMW's engine, it doesn't automatically mean the sports car won't be successful. That's up to the attention-hungry enthusiasts to vote on… with their money. But considering this reviewer owns an S2000, his opinion might be more relevant than most.