Those of you that have been hiding out in a bunker or being oblivious to what’s going on in the automotive world, you’ve missed out on a lot of information on the return of a legend. Everyone else that’s kept up with the news knows Toyota is bringing the Supra back after a 16-year hiatus.
While we’ve seen the sports car testing in various environments with a heavy amount of camouflage, we got official confirmation that a Supra was in the pipeline at this year’s Geneva Motor Show with the unveiling of the Gazoo Racing Supra Racing Concept.
But before we jump that far ahead, let’s take a look at everything we know about the Japanese icon’s rebirth.
Toyota’s getting help from BMW
BMW and Toyota officially announced their partnership back in 2012. At the time, the automakers claimed the collaboration would see one another sharing diesel and hybrid components. But we, and nearly everyone else, had a feeling that the two could be working on something much more potent.
It didn’t take long of rumors to point towards the resurrection of the Supra as a part of the two companies’ joint-venture. High-up executives made it clear that they wanted a sports car that was larger than the Toyota GT86, but nothing was set in stone. Those rumors started circulating less than a year after BMW and Toyota announced their collaboration – and were reinforced by the two FT-1 concepts that were shown in 2014.
Fast forward to today, and we know that manufacturer Magna Steyr will build both the Supra and new BMW Z4 in Austria. But just because the two models will share a common platform and many components, the Supra and Z4 are expected to be very different machines.
Unlike Toyota’s partnership with Subaru for the 86 and BRZ, BMW and Toyota are looking to share as little as possible with each other. It’s an odd take on working together, but that means the two vehicles won’t be clones, but separate entities with different philosophies. It also means that the vehicles are expected to have differentiated powertrains and their own distinct design.
An inline-six will be on hand, manual gearbox won’t
The last Supra came with a turbocharged inline-six engine, and that’s something Toyota will reportedly keep for the upcoming model. At Geneva, Tetsuya Tada, Toyota’s chief engineer, told journalists that a similar layout would return in the new sports car.
According to allegedly leaked stats from Japan’s Best car magazine, which you should take with a grain of salt, as Toyota would neither confirm or deny them, the 3.0-liter turbo-six will produce 335bhp at 5500rpm and 332lb ft of torque at 1380-5200rpm offering a 0-62mph (100km/h) time of 3.8 seconds.
Unfortunately for some car enthusiasts, sources claim that engine won’t come with a manual transmission. Apparently, Toyota believes perspective Supra owners aren’t too concerned with rowing their own gears. With the Z4 expected to get a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox, that seems a likely choice for the Supra, too Unless, that is, they choose to go for a sharper dual clutch transmission to keep up with the car’s character. For what it’s worth, the LFA wasn’t available with a manual either, but no one ever said it wasn’t a true supercar.
Either way, the sports car will have a 50:50 weight distribution and a lower center of gravity than the 86. The engine will also be easy to fiddle with, which should make a lot of tuners happy. The same sources that mentioned the engine specs, also stated that the production model will weight 1,496kg (3,298 lbs) and measure 4380 mm (172.4 inches) long, 1855 mm (73 inches) wide and 1,290 mm (50.7 inches) tall with a wheelbase that spans 2,470 mm (97.2 inches). If these numbers turn out to be true, the new Supra would be slightly shorter and wider than the previous-generation model from the 1990s, as well as 14kg (31 pounds) lighter.
It’s spent a lot of time testing on the ‘Ring – and on the snow too
We’re expecting the Supra to be a true sports car, so we’re not surprised to see prototypes out on the Nurburgring. Toyota isn’t holding anything back, as it has put the Supra prototype up against everything, from a Porsche 718 Cayman to a BMW 3-Series sedan. Our spies also captured the car haphazardly drifting in the snow.
This is probably what it’ll look like
All of the prototypes that we’ve seen have been heavily camouflaged and the concept that was displayed at Geneva was heavily modified. Nevertheless, the prototypes share a similar design to the GR Supra Racing Concept, just without the crazy racing body parts. The members over at SupraMKV forums digitally dressed a prototype in a very convincing production suit.
Moreover, Toyota did release a video of the coupe in the digital world of Gran Turismo Sport without the livery, which gives us a good idea of what the Supra will look like when it hits the streets.
Already ready to hit the track
Besides giving the world something concrete to hold on to, the GR Supra Racing Concept was reportedly built to LM GTE specifications. Automakers don’t usually make concepts of racing cars, especially ones that look as well put together as Gazoo Racing did.
Tada-san commented that the road-going sports car is being developed hand-in-hand with the racing version, so the Supra will definitely go racing, with the WEC and Japan’s Super GT series being the most likely series it will compete in.
When will we see it in the flesh and what will I have to pay?
It’s difficult to say, since production of the Supra is expected to begin in the beginning of 2019. The car hasn’t even made its debut yet, nor has Toyota said when that might happen. Our best guess is at a major auto show, which could be this year’s Los Angeles event or the 2019 NAIAS or Geneva Motor Show.
Therefore, it’s way too early to talk about pricing, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that it will be more expensive than the 86 that starts from $26,255. That said, it’s likely that Toyota will want to keep the entry price at around the $40,000 mark, but you’ll have to pay a lot more for the high-performance versions